Status Update since our November Forecast
Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 3 November, the Security Council held its semi-annual debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and unanimously adopted resolution 2604, renewing the authorisation of the EU-led multinational stabilisation force (EUFOR ALTHEA) until 3 November 2022. The debate was marked by sharp divisions regarding the legitimacy of Christian Schmidt’s appointment as the High Representative for BiH. It appears that China and Russia objected to a briefing by Schmidt and conditioned their support for EUFOR ALTHEA’s reauthorisation on the removal of all references to the High Representative and his Office (OHR) in the resolution. Unable to reach a compromise on this issue, the Council did not mention the High Representative and the OHR in the resolution. At the debate (S/PV.8896), several Council members, including Norway and Estonia, expressed regret that the Security Council had failed to adopt a more substantial resolution. Russia described support for EUFOR ALTHEA’s reauthorisation as the only “common denominator” among Council members on the issue of BiH.
International Court of Justice
On 5 November, the Security Council filled one open seat on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by electing Hilary Charlesworth (Australia) after a single round of voting (S/PV.8897). She received the required majority in the Council, as well as an absolute majority of votes in the General Assembly. Voting took place simultaneously in the Security Council and the General Assembly.
On 8 November, the Security Council convened a private meeting on Myanmar. The briefers were Peter Due, the Director of the Asia and Pacific Division of the UN Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO), and Dato Erywan bin Pehin Yusof, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, who briefed in his capacity as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Special Envoy for Myanmar. A draft press statement on Myanmar was circulated by the UK on 5 November and issued on 10 November (SC/14697). The press statement expressed concern over the recent violence across Myanmar and called for an immediate cessation of violence. In the press statement, members also “underlined the importance of steps to improve the health and humanitarian situation in Myanmar, including to facilitate the equitable, safe and unhindered delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines”.
On 5 November, Council members issued a press statement expressing “deep concern about the expansion and intensification of military clashes in northern Ethiopia” (SC/14691). The statement also expressed concern at the conflict’s impact on the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and on the stability of the country and the wider region. In the statement, the members of the Security Council called for the negotiation of a lasting ceasefire and the “creation of conditions for the start of an inclusive Ethiopian national dialogue”. Council members also “called for refraining from inflammatory hate speech and incitement to violence and divisiveness”. The statement welcomed the efforts of the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa Region, Olusegun Obasanjo, to achieve a ceasefire and a resolution of the conflict.
On 8 November, the Security Council held an open briefing followed by closed consultations on Ethiopia under the agenda item “Peace and Security in Africa” (S/PV.8899). The briefers were Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and Obasanjo. The meeting was requested by Council president Mexico, Ireland and the “A3 plus one” (Kenya, Niger, Tunisia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). The meeting was originally set to take place on 5 November, but was delayed until 8 November.
Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
On 8 November, the members of the Security Council convened for a meeting on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” under “any other business”. Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Lynn Hastings briefed. The meeting was requested by Tunisia to discuss the 22 October designation by Israel of six Palestinian non-governmental organisations as terrorist organisations and settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
On 30 November, the Security Council held its monthly meeting on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland and Comfort Ero, the Interim Vice President of the International Crisis Group, briefed the Council.
Exclusion, Inequality and Conflict
On 9 November, the Security Council held a high-level open debate on “Exclusion, inequality and conflict” under the agenda item “Maintenance of international peace and security” (S/PV.8900). Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador chaired the meeting. UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Lourdes Tibán Guala, an indigenous affairs expert, briefed. As an outcome of the meeting, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/22), which was spearheaded by Mexico. The statement reaffirms the links between development, peace and security, and human rights. It further notes that exclusion and inequality may have an effect as aggravating factors in situations considered by the Council and emphasises that inclusivity is key to advancing national peacebuilding processes and objectives.
On 10 November, the Security Council held its annual briefing with the heads of police components of UN peace operations (S/PV.8901). Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) Police Commissioner Violet Lusala, and UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) Police Commissioner Patricia Boughani briefed the Council. The discussion was focused on women, peace and security (WPS) issues as part of the WPS presidency trio of Ireland, Kenya and Mexico in September, October and November, respectively. Building on the annual open debate on WPS (S/PV.8886), which took place on 21 October under the theme “Investing in women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding”, Council members explored UN Police’s contribution to the advancement of the WPS agenda, including through the implementation of gender-responsive policing.
On 11 November, Security Council members discussed the situation in Belarus under “any other business”. The focus of the meeting was the migrant crisis on the border between Belarus and EU member states Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Estonia, France and Ireland requested the meeting, with support from Norway, the UK and the US. In a joint statement issued after the meeting, these six Council members, together with incoming Council member Albania, condemned Belarus for orchestrating the crisis and expressed the view that Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has become a threat to regional stability. The statement also expressed concern at the dire situation of the migrants and urged the Belarusian authorities to provide and facilitate adequate protection and care. Prior to the meeting, Russia dismissed the narrative depicting Belarus as the perpetrator of the crisis and maintained that the migrants had arrived through legal channels. Russia also criticised the EU’s response as a violation of international conventions.
Central African Republic
On 12 November, the Security Council convened (S/PV.8902) to adopt resolution 2605, renewing the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) for one year within its existing troop ceiling of 14,400 military personnel and 3,020 police personnel. The resolution retains the mission’s priority tasks, including the protection of civilians; good offices and support to the peace process and the Political Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in the CAR; and facilitation of the immediate, full, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance. The resolution received 13 votes in favour, while China and Russia abstained.
Arria-formula on Widows in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings
On 15 November, Council members held an Arria-formula meeting on “Closing the Protection Gap for Widows in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings” via videoconference (VTC). The meeting was organised by Niger, the AU and the EU as co-chairs of the Group of Friends of Women of the Sahel. The meeting was co-hosted by Estonia, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia, and Viet Nam, together with non-Council member Sierra Leone. Anita Bhatia, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, provided opening remarks. The briefers were Heather Ibrahim-Leathers, founder and president of the Global Fund for Widows, and Mahboba Rawi, founder of Mahboba’s Promise. All Council members intervened during the meeting.
G5 Sahel Joint Force
On 12 November, the Security Council held a briefing followed by consultations on the Group of Five for the Sahel Joint Force (FC-G5S) (S/PV.8903). The Council heard briefings by Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Ambassador Ammo Aziza Baroud (Chad) on behalf of the Group of Five for the Sahel, and Ms. Fatimata Ouilma Sinaré, President of the Burkina Faso chapter of the Network on Peace and Security for Women in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Space. During closed consultations, Director Rick Martin from the Division for Special Activities of the Department of Operational Support also briefed, as Council members discussed the options set out in the Secretary-General’s 4 October letter for enhancing support to the FC-G5S (S/2021/850).
On 16 November, the Security Council held an open debate on “Peace and security through preventive diplomacy: A common objective to all UN principal organs” under the agenda item “Maintenance of international peace and security” (S/PV.8906). The briefers were UN Secretary-General António Guterres, President of the General Assembly Abdulla Shahid, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Collen Vixen Kelapile, and President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Joan E. Donoghue. At the debate, several Council members acknowledged the interdependence of security, sustainable development and human rights, and recognised the need for the UN’s principal organs to cooperatively pursue preventive strategies and actions. Some Council members, particularly Russia, expressed caution over the Council overstepping its mandate and urged the UN’s principal organs to adhere to the principle of division of labour.
The outcome of the debate was the adoption of a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/23) emphasising the importance of a comprehensive approach to sustaining peace, recognising the contribution of the UN’s principal organs to the maintenance of international peace and security, and expressing the Council’s continued commitment to fostering regular interactions with the other principal organs, in accordance with their respective mandates, on matters relating to preventive diplomacy tools and mechanisms.
On 17 November, the Security Council convened for a briefing from Deborah Lyons, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) (S/PV.8908). Lyons briefed on the situation in Afghanistan and UNAMA’s work. Freshta Karim, Director of Charmaghz, a non-governmental organisation based in Kabul that works with children, also briefed. Representatives of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Tajikistan participated in the meeting, which was followed by closed consultations.
Hitting the Ground Running Workshop
The 19th annual workshop for incoming members of the UN Security Council, titled “Hitting the Ground Running”, was held on 18 and 19 November on Long Island, New York. The government of Finland convened the workshop in cooperation with the Security Council Report and the Security Council Affairs Division of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. Former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda gave the keynote address ahead of the opening dinner on 18 November. On 19 November, Council members held three sessions on the work of the Council: “State of the Council 2021: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead”; “Working Methods and Subsidiary Bodies”; and “Lessons Learned: Reflections of the Class of 2021”.
On 22 November, the Security Council held a ministerial-level open debate on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) (S/PV.8909). Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard chaired the meeting. The discussion focused on the theme “The impact of the diversion and trafficking of arms on peace and security”. Director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) Robin Geiss and María Pía Devoto, a member of the Control Arms Governance Board (a coalition of 150 civil society member organisations), briefed the Council. More than 50 member states participated in the open debate; several of them highlighted the impact of SALW in exacerbating conflicts and discussed actions that should be taken to address this challenge.
On 23 November, the Council held a briefing on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) (S/PV.8910). The Special Representative and head of UNAMI, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, briefed on Iraq’s 10 October parliamentary election and developments in the country since the election took place. Hennis-Plasschaert also discussed the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives. Amal Kabashi, the Coordinator of the Iraqi Women Network, briefed the Council on the challenges Iraqi women face in realising their full, equal, and meaningful participation in Iraqi political life. Iraq participated in the meeting, which was followed by closed consultations.
On 23 November, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan briefed the Council on the court’s work in Libya (S/PV.8911). On 24 November, the Security Council convened to discuss the situation in Libya (S/PV.8912). Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Libya and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Ján Kubiš briefed. Lamees BenSaad, a member of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, also addressed the Council. Also on 24 November, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/24) that expressed strong support for electoral preparations in Libya and welcomed the Declaration of the 12 November Paris International Conference on Libya and the 5+5 Joint Military Committee Action Plan for the withdrawal of mercenaries and foreign forces in a synchronised manner, adopted on 8 October.
On 29 November, Council members received a briefing in consultations on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701. The briefers were Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col.
On 29 November, Ambassador Mona Juul (Norway), the chair of the 1718 Sanctions Committee, briefed Council members in consultations on the 90-day report on the committee’s work.