On 2 July, the Security Council convened in person for an open briefing on the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia (S/PV.8812). Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and Acting Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Ramesh Rajasingham briefed the Council. The Permanent Representative of Ethiopia, Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie, also attended. Members expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in the Tigray region. Several of them called for the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray. Some members also drew attention to the over 1,000 reports of conflict-related sexual violence committed across the region.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 7 July, the Security Council held an in-person briefing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (S/PV.8813). Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC and head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) Bintou Keita briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest MONUSCO report, which covers the period from 19 March to 18 June 2021 (S/2021/587). The Council also received a briefing from Ritha Kibambe, the Deputy Department Head of the Laboratory of Medical Biology at the Ngaliema Clinic in the DRC.
West Africa and the Sahel
On 8 July, the Security Council held its biannual briefing (S/PV.8814) on West Africa and the Sahel. Special Representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) Mahamat Saleh Annadif briefed, presenting the Secretary-General’s 28 June report on West Africa and the Sahel (S/2021/612). Chantal Ayemou Kouadio, the President of Réseau Ivoirien pour la Défense des Droits de l’Enfant et de la Femme, also briefed. At the time of writing, Council members were negotiating a draft presidential statement that Ireland and Niger have proposed on the West Africa and Sahel region.
In July, the Council addressed several rapidly unfolding events in Haiti. On 1 July, Council members issued a press statement as a follow-up to the regular meeting held on 17 June, reiterating their deep concern regarding deteriorating political, security and humanitarian conditions in Haiti and stressing the primary responsibility of the Government of Haiti to address the situation (SC/14571). On 7 July, the President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, was fatally shot in his home. On the same day, the Council issued a press statement condemning the attack, calling on all political stakeholders to refrain from any acts of violence and registering their determination to continue to monitor the situation (SC/14574). The Council met the following day in a private meeting to receive a briefing on the assassination from Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) Helen La Lime (S/PV.8815).
Ethiopia (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam)
On 8 July, the Security Council convened to discuss the ongoing disagreement between Ethiopia and downriver countries Egypt and Sudan with regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) (S/PV.8816). The Council was briefed by Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga; the Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme, Inger Andersen; and Paul Losoko Efambe Empole of the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the current Chair of the African Union (AU). The briefers called for a negotiated solution reached in good faith and enhanced collaboration when sharing the Nile waters, while recalling the 2015 Agreement on Declaration of Principles, in which all three parties committed to the equitable and reasonable use of water resources. In their interventions, several Council members deferred to ongoing negotiations at the AU-level, while others called for active Council involvement. Tunisia circulated a draft Security Council resolution on the GERD on 2 July, calling for Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to resume negotiations on a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD. Following the 8 July meeting, Tunisia circulated a revised draft resolution with comments due by 19 July. At the time of writing, the status of the resolution remained unclear. While little engagement from several Council members during the negotiation process was reported, the Council is still seemingly considering an outcome.
On 13 July, the Security Council convened for an in-person briefing on Colombia (S/PV.8818). Special Representative and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu briefed on recent developments and the Secretary-General’s latest 90-day report on the mission (S/2021/603). On 16 July, Council members issued a press statement (SC/14583), in which they expressed support for the three components of the Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non‑Repetition—which is comprised of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (SJP), the Truth Commission and the Unit for the Search for Persons Deemed as Missing—and emphasised the need to respect their autonomy.
On 15 July, the Security Council convened a ministerial-level briefing on the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and on the situation in the country (S/PV.8820). Special Envoy and head of UNSMIL Ján Kubiš briefed, covering his efforts in engaging with relevant Libyan stakeholders to advance progress towards organising parliamentary and presidential elections in December. He informed the Council that the political impasse regarding identifying the constitutional and legislative basis for holding the elections presents a risk for the work on other national priorities, particularly on the economic and security tracks. The same day, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/12) welcoming the second Berlin Conference on Libya, stressing the importance of elections and calling for the full implementation of the 2020 ceasefire agreement.
Preserving Humanitarian Space
On 16 July, the Council convened in person for a ministerial-level briefing on the protection of humanitarian space (S.PV/8822). The briefers were Amina J. Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General; Robert Mardini, the Director-General of the ICRC; and Lucile Grosjean, the Delegate Director for Advocacy at Action Against Hunger. The meeting provided an opportunity for Council members to exchange best practices and identify concrete recommendations regarding the protection of humanitarian space, particularly in relation to the protection of humanitarian workers, the facilitation of humanitarian access, and accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law. In her briefing, Mohammed announced that the Secretary-General has asked the incoming Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs to appoint a special adviser on the preservation of humanitarian space and access.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 22 July, the Council voted in person (S/PV.8823) on a draft resolution on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Proposed by Russia and China, the draft resolution welcomed the designation of Christian Schmidt as High Representative and supported the appointment of the High Representative until 31 July 2022, with the “closure of the OHR [Office of the High Representative]”. It also decided that the powers of the High Representative for BiH, as described in the conclusion of the 1997 Peace Implementation Conference (PIC), are no longer necessary given the progress achieved by the Bosnian parties.
With a vote of 2 in favour and 13 abstentions—the highest number of abstentions recorded since the inception of the Security Council—the draft resolution failed to be adopted. Following the vote, China argued that the outcome suggests that the Council does not support the appointment of the new High Representative. In agreement, Russia added that the post therefore remains vacant. Other Council members maintained that the decisions of the PIC Steering Board do not require the Council’s endorsement and that abstentions were made on the basis of the resolution constraining the power of the High Representative and imposing a timeline for the closure of OHR without consideration of the “5+2” agenda, which is a set of five objectives and two conditions that need to be fulfilled prior to the OHR’s closure, that was adopted by the PIC Steering Board in 2008.
On 23 July, following Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar’s briefing to Council members in closed consultations on 21 July, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/13) condemning the 20 July announcement by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on the reopening of a section of Varosha and calling for the immediate reversal of this course of action and of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020.
On 29 July, the Security Council adopted resolution 2587, renewing the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for another six months, until 31 January 2022.
UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia
On 26 July, Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) Natalia Gherman briefed Council members in consultations on UNRCCA’s activities since her last briefing in January. In this regard, she apparently discussed the situation at the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, UNRCCA’s support for transboundary water management projects, and UNRCCA’s activities pertaining to counter-terrorism.
On 26 July, Security Council members held closed consultations to discuss the implementation of resolution 2565 of 26 February on the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco and Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ramesh Rajasingham briefed members at the session, which had been requested by the UK.
On 27 July, the Security Council received an oral briefing on the drawdown and closure of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), as requested in resolution 2559, from Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare (S/PV.8825).
The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
On 28 July, the Security Council held its quarterly open debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” (S/PV.8826). The Council was briefed by Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Lynn Hastings, as well as Yudith Oppenheimer, Executive Director of Ir Amim. The representatives of Israel and the Observer State of Palestine also participated in the meeting.
Arria-formula Meeting on Counter-Terrorism and Gender
On 28 July, the Council held an Arria-formula meeting on “preventing terrorism and violent extremism through tackling gender stereotypes, masculinities, and structural gender inequality”. The meeting was organised by Mexico in cooperation with Estonia, Norway, the UK, and the US. The briefers were Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate; David Duriesmith, lecturer in gender and politics at the University of Sheffield; and Fauziya Abdi Ali, President of Women in International Security Kenya.
Central African Republic
On 29 July, the Security Council adopted resolution 2588, which extended the CAR sanctions regime until 31 July 2022, including an arms embargo with some exemptions. Resolution 2588 also renewed the mandate of the CAR Panel of Experts, who assist the sanctions committee in overseeing the sanction measures, until 31 August 2022. Unlike last year’s unanimous adoption of the sanctions regime renewal, the Council adopted resolution 2588 with 14 votes in favour and one abstention (China).
Arria-formula Meeting on Myanmar
On 29 July, Security Council members held a virtual Arria-formula meeting on “Myanmar: Crisis, Conflict and COVID – where are we now?”, which was organised by the UK. The briefers were Susanna Hla Hla Soe, Minister for Women at the National Unity Government, an alliance of ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) politicians and activists, and Gum San Nsang of the Kachin Political Interim Coordination Team (KPICT), a coordination team comprised of domestic and international organisations which advocate for the rights of the Kachin ethnic groups in northern Myanmar. In addition to Council members, member states from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Bangladesh attended the meeting.