Status Update since our October Forecast
On 4 October, the Security Council met to discuss the situation in Haiti (S/PV.8871). Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) Helen La Lime briefed the Council, stating that the country was “undergoing one of the most fraught periods of its recent history”. Civil society briefer Emmanuela Douyon, the Executive Director of Policité, called for the long-delayed presidential and legislative elections to be held and for the Haitian police to be strengthened. Haiti’s Foreign Minister, Claude Joseph, expressed the need for BINUH’s mandate to support further capacity building of the country’s police force. On 15 October, the Security Council, following difficult negotiations, unanimously renewed BINUH’s mandate for nine months and requested an assessment with a view to strengthening the mission’s mandate (S/RES/2600). On the same day, the A3 plus one (Kenya, Niger, Tunisia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) convened an Arria-formula meeting on Haiti. Participants, among them Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, explored ways to adjust BINUH’s mandate for the mission better to address Haiti’s numerous challenges.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
On 5 October, the Security Council held a briefing and consultations on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (S/PV.8873). Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) Bintou Keita briefed the Council on the latest report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the DRC and the activities of MONUSCO. She further discussed the Secretary-General’s transition plan for MONUSCO submitted pursuant to resolution 2556 of 18 December 2020. Nelly Godelieve Madieka Mbangu, Coordinator of Sauti Ya Mama Mukongomani/Voice of Congolese Women, also briefed the Council. During the same meeting, the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004), Ambassador Abdou Abarry (Niger), presented an oral report on the work of the sanctions committee.
UNDOF (Golan Heights)
On 5 October, Council members were briefed in consultations by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix on the latest 90-day report by the Secretary-General on UNDOF and the most recent developments (S/2021/833).
On 1 October, Security Council members discussed the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia under “any other business”. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths briefed. The meeting followed the 30 September announcement by the government of Ethiopia that seven UN officials working in the country had been declared “persona non grata” and given 72 hours to leave Ethiopian territory.
On 6 October, the Security Council held an open briefing under the agenda item “Peace and Security in Africa” to discuss the situation in Ethiopia (S/PV.8875). Secretary-General António Guterres briefed. Regarding the humanitarian situation in northern Ethiopia, Guterres said that while up to seven million people in Amhara, Afar and Tigray were “in need of food assistance and other emergency support”, fuel supplies, essential medicines, and equipment “continue[d] to be blocked”. Guterres underscored that the expulsion of the seven UN officials should be a matter of “deep concern” and reiterated the UN position that the doctrine of persona non grata is not the appropriate procedure to deal with member states’ concerns about the conduct of UN personnel. Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie (Ethiopia), who participated in the meeting in accordance with rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, rejected the notion that Ethiopia was “under any legal obligation to provide justifications or explanation for its decisions”. He alleged that the expelled officials had fabricated data on the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia “to create a Darfur-like situation”, including through allegedly making up hunger-related deaths. After Atske Selassie’s remarks, Guterres took the floor again; he said that he had not received any written documents from the Ethiopian government concerning the conduct of the expelled officials, although he had twice invited the Ethiopian prime minister to inform him directly of any concerns regarding the impartiality of UN staff. Guterres asked to be provided with said documentation.
Arria-formula meeting on Belarus
On 8 October, Council members held an Arria-formula meeting on the situation in Belarus. The meeting was organised by Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the UK, and the US and co-sponsored by 26 non-Council member states. Estonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eva-Maria Liimets, chaired the meeting. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and head of the UN Human Rights Office in New York, Ilze Brands Kehris, delivered a speech during the session. The briefers were Artyom Shraibman, a Political Analyst specialising in Belarusian politics, international relations and human rights; Jens Modvig, head of the International Accountability Platform for Belarus; Victoria Fedorova, Co-Founder of the International Committee for the Investigation of Torture in Belarus; and Anna Maria Dyner, Political Analyst at the Polish Institute of International Affairs. The meeting focused on the deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus and the tensions surrounding the passage of migrants and asylum seekers across the border of Belarus into its neighbouring countries.
Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace
On 12 October, the Security Council held a high-level open debate (S/PV.8877) titled “Diversity, State-building and the search for peace”, based on a concept note that Kenya had prepared (S/2021/854). Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta chaired the meeting, which included briefings by Secretary-General António Guterres; Rwandan President Paul Kagame, former South African President Thabo Mbeki; and a civil society representative, Fawzia Koofi, a women’s rights activist and former deputy speaker of the parliament of Afghanistan.
On 14 October, the Security Council convened for its quarterly meeting on Colombia (S/PV.8879). 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/2021/824). The Council was also briefed by Bibiana Peñaranda, the Coordinator of “Butterflies with New Wings” (a civil society organisation which helps displaced women in Buenaventura) and a representative of Afro-Colombian women in the Special Forum on Gender; and Daniela Soto, Youth Leader at the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca. On 29 October, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2603, renewing the mandate of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia for another year, until 31 October 2022.
On 15 October, the Council held its second regular briefing this year on the situation in Kosovo (S/PV.8880). Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Zahir Tanin briefed on the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2021/861) and recent developments. Nikola Selaković, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, and Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, the President of Kosovo, also addressed the Council. The discussion mainly focused on the EU-facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and tensions in northern Kosovo and along the Kosovo-Serbia border.
Arria-formula meeting on Sea-Level Rise
On 18 October, Viet Nam, Ireland, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tunisia organised an Arria-formula meeting on “Sea-Level Rise and Implications for International Peace and Security”. The meeting was co-sponsored by several non-Council members, including the Dominican Republic, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Saint Lucia, and Tuvalu. Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Khaled Khiari; Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I of the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and Coral Pasisi, Senior Adviser to the Director General of the Sustainable Pacific Consultancy, briefed.
Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
On 19 October, the Security Council convened for its quarterly open debate on: “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” (S/PV.8883). Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefed the Council. Daniel Levy, President of the US/Middle East Project, and Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian political and civil society leader, also briefed. The representatives of Israel and the Observer State of Palestine participated in the open debate.
Great Lakes Region
On 20 October, the Security Council held a ministerial-level debate on the Great Lakes region (S/PV.8884). Raychelle Omamo, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, chaired the meeting. Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region Huang Xia briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region (S/2021/836). Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) João Samuel Caholo and Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO) Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee also briefed the Council.
The outcome of the meeting was the adoption of a presidential statement proposed by the Kenyan presidency, which, among other things, recognises the progress in the implementation of national and regional commitments under the PSC Framework and urges the signatory states to remain committed to its full implementation (S/PRST/2021/19).
Women, Peace and Security
On 21 October, the Security Council convened for its annual open debate on women, peace and security (S/PV.8886). Secretary-General António Guterres provided opening remarks. The Executive Director of UN Women, Sima Sami Bahous, and the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop, briefed the Council. Celia Umenza Velasco, Legal Coordinator for the Indigenous Reservation of Tacueyó and a member of the Association of Indigenous Councils of the North of Cauca, briefed the Council on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. This was the first Security Council open debate to include the in-person participation of non-Council members since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the US in March 2020. The theme of the debate was “Investing in Women in Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding”.
Mali and the Sahel
From 23 to 25 October, the Security Council conducted a visiting mission to Mali and Niger. In Mali, the Council focused on assessing the country’s political transition and the preparations for next year’s elections. It also discussed with interlocutors the implementation of Mali’s 2015 peace and reconciliation agreement and efforts to stabilise central Mali. Much of the focus of the Niger visit was on the Group of Five for the Sahel Joint Force (FC-G5S), including options that the Secretary-General outlined in a 4 October letter to strengthen support to the joint force (S/2021/850).
On 29 October, the Council held its quarterly briefing and consultations on Mali. The Special Representative and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), El-Ghassim Wane briefed. France, Kenya and Niger, which co-led the visiting mission, briefed on the Council’s recent visit. Following the briefing, Council members were expected to issue a press statement on the visiting mission.
On 29 October, Security Council members adopted resolution 2606, renewing the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 October 2022, with 13 votes in favour and two abstentions (Russia and Tunisia). The resolution welcomes the appointment of Staffan de Mistura as Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, emphasises the need for a “realistic, practicable, enduring and mutually acceptable political solution to the question of Western Sahara”, and urges the constructive resumption of the political process.
Children and Armed Conflict
On 29 October, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2601 on the protection of education in conflict, which was co-drafted by Niger and Norway. The resolution was co-sponsored by 99 member states. The resolution condemns attacks against schools, attacks against civilians connected with schools, and the military use of schools. It further calls on member states to facilitate the continuation of education in armed conflict, including through distance learning and digital technology.
On 28 October, the Security Council held a virtual high-level debate on AU-UN cooperation. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta chaired the meeting. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report “Strengthening the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union on issues of peace and security in Africa, including on the work of the United Nations Office to the African Union” (S/2021/763). AU High Representative for financing of the Union and the Peace Fund Donald Kaberuka also briefed the Council.
At the time of writing, the Council had finalised a presidential statement proposed by Kenya as an outcome of the high-level debate, although the exact timing of the adoption was unclear. It appears that the statement commends the UN-AU partnership and stresses that it should further develop into a systematic, operational, and strategic partnership rooted in shared values and a strong commitment to multilateralism.