May 2023 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 April 2023
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Status Update since our April Forecast 


On 6 April, Council members convened for closed consultations on Afghanistan. The meeting was requested by Japan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the co-penholders on the file, after the Taliban decided to prohibit Afghan women from working for the UN. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Roza Otunbayeva briefed.  

On 27 April, the Council adopted resolution 2681 condemning the Taliban’s decision to ban Afghan women from working for the UN and stating that it undermines human rights and humanitarian principles.    

Export of Weapons and Military Equipment  

On 10 April, Russia convened an open debate on “Risks stemming from violations of the agreements regulating the export of weapons and military equipment” under the “Threats to international peace and security” agenda item (S/PV.9301). High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu briefed. She argued that: “Transparency in armaments is yet another confidence-building measure that can serve to reduce tensions, ambiguities and misperceptions among Member States.” 


On 12 April, the Council held an open briefing,followed by closed consultations, on Mali (S/PV.9302). Special Representative and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) El-Ghassim Wane briefed, presenting the Secretary-General’s 30 March reporton Mali (S/2023/236). The session included assessing progress on the four conditions, or “parameters”, that the Secretary-General’s internal reviewof MINUSMA, dated 16 January, identified as key for the mission to operate: (1) advances in Mali’s political transition, in accordance with the electoral timetable; (2) progress in the implementation of the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali; (3) MINUSMA’s freedom of movement, including for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets critical for the safety and security of peacekeepers; and (4) MINUSMA’s ability to implement its entire mandate, including its human rights provisions.  


On 13 April, the Security Council held an open briefing, followed by closed consultations, on Colombia (S/PV.9303). 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/2023/222). The Council was also briefed by Ambassador Ivan Šimonović (Croatia), chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), and Rodrigo Londoño, president of the Comunes party, which is comprised of former members of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP).  

Prior to the quarterly meeting, on 12 April, the president of the Security Council sent a letter to the Secretary-General referencing a 14 February letter by Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs Álvaro Leyva Durán, in which he requested the Council to consider the possible expansion of the verification mission’s mandate to include a role in the government’s dialogue processes with armed groups active in the country. In the letter, the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to submit within 60 days recommendations on the possible role that the UN can play in this regard, including “implications for the configuration of the verification mission”. 

On 17 April, Council members issued a press statement on Colombia (SC/15259). In it, they stressed the importance of ensuring the comprehensive implementation of the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace signed in 2016 between the government of Colombia and the former rebel group FARC-EP.  


On 13 April, Council members discussed airstrikes carried out by the Myanmar military that reportedly killed over 100 people in the north-western Sagaing region on 11 April under “any other business” at the request of the UK, the penholder on Myanmar. Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific Mohamed Khaled Khiari briefed. The UK circulated a draft press statement regarding the attack to Council members on 11 April. The draft apparently strongly condemned the attack, stressed the need to ensure accountability, reiterated Council members’ call for the immediate cessation of violence, stressed the need for unhindered humanitarian access, and demanded the full implementation of resolution 2669, among other matters. 

While the draft appeared to enjoy broad support from a majority of Council members, it seems that it was blocked by China and Russia, who apparently argued that the circumstances surrounding the attack were unclear, noting that the military authorities had provided information concerning the attack that differed from the witness accounts referred to in media reports. It seems that China and Russia also contended that the Council should refrain from taking sides in internal affairs and encourage the parties in Myanmar to resolve their differences through dialogue and reconciliation. The UK apparently requested the meeting after China and Russia expressed their opposition to the draft press statement.  

Great Lakes Region (DRC) 

On 19 April, the Security Council held its biannual briefing and consultations on the situation in the Great Lakes region (S/PV.9307). Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region Huang Xia briefed on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region (S/2023/237). The chair of the Peacebuilding Commission Ivan Šimonović (Croatia) also briefed. Burundi, DRC, and Rwanda participated in the meeting under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.  

Western Sahara  

On 19 April, Council members received a briefing in consultations on the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy to Western Sahara Staffan de Mistura and Special Representative and head of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) Alexander Ivanko briefed. 

Effective Multilateralism Through the Defence of the Principles of the UN Charter 

On 24 April, the Security Council held a ministerial-level open debate on “Effective multilateralism through the defence of the principles of the UN Charter” under the “Maintenance of international peace and security” agenda item (S/PV.9308). Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chaired the meeting, while Secretary-General António Guterres briefed.  Guterres said that multilateral cooperation was the “raison d’être and guiding vision” of the UN. He expressed concern about the “risks of conflict, through misadventure or miscalculation” at a time of great tensions between the big powers, while calling on countries to uphold their responsibilities under the UN Charter.  

The Middle East, including the Palestinian Question  

On 6 April, Security Council members convened for closed consultations on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. China and the United Arab Emirates requested the meeting. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefed. While the possibility of issuing a product was discussed during the consultations, members could not reach consensus.

On 25 April, the Security Council held its quarterly open debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” (S/PV.9309). Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov chaired the meeting. Wennesland briefed. Riad al-Maliki, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine, said that “as long as Israel reaps the benefits of its occupation while [the Palestinians] pay the cost, annexation and apartheid are the only reality [Palestinians] are left with”. He called on UN members to recognise the State of Palestine and ban products originating in Israeli settlements, among other things. After delivering a statement expressing outrage and sadness at the open debate coinciding with Israel’s Memorial Day–which commemorates fallen Israeli soldiers and civilian victims of terrorism–the Israeli delegation left the Council chamber. Ambassador Gilad Erdan (Israel) said that Israel’s request for a change of date for the open debate had been turned down, proving what Israelis know about “this biased organisation”. During a press conference on the same day, Lavrov said that Council members had not raised any objections to holding the meeting on 25 April, and that the meeting was not intended to be an anti-Israel event. 


On 26 April, the Security Council held an open briefing followed by closed consultations on Haiti (S/PV.9311). Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) María Isabel Salvador briefed on recent developments and the Secretary-General’s latest report on BINUH, dated 14 April. Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Ghada Fathi Waly also briefed on the country’s security situation. Canada (on behalf of the ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti), the Dominican Republic, and Haiti participated under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure. 


On 27 April, the Council held its first briefing this year on the situation in Kosovo (S/PV.9312). Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Caroline Ziadeh briefed on the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2023/247). First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia Ivica Dačić briefed under Rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of Kosovo Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz addressed the Council under rule 39. 

At the meeting, Gërvalla-Schwarz said that she had not been permitted to speak in Albanian by Russia, in its capacity as Security Council president in April. Albania noted that two Council members, apparently Albania and the US, supported a formal request to allow Kosovo to speak in a language of its choosing, but Russia opposed the request. Citing Rule 44, which states that “any representative may make a speech in a language other than the languages of the Security Council”, Albania accused Russia of partiality and stated that it accepted the presidency’s ruling in order to avoid putting the Council in a “difficult position”.   

Russia rejected Albania’s assertion, arguing that Gёrvalla-Schwarz, as a participant under rule 39, “does not fall under the category of representative” as defined in rule 44. While acknowledging precedents in which rule 39 participants briefed in a language of their choosing, Russia insisted that in those cases “exceptions were made for the speakers who did not speak [any] of the six official UN languages”, adding that Gёrvalla-Schwarz “masters English more than decently”. 

Children and Armed Conflict  

On 28 April, there was a Security Council Arria-formula meeting titled “Addressing the Abduction and Deportation of Children During Armed Conflict: Concrete Steps for Accountability and Prevention”. The meeting was organised by Albania, France, and the US, together with non-Council member Ukraine. Briefings were provided by Ezequiel Heffes, Director of Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict; Dmytro Lubinets, the Ombudsperson of Ukraine; Daria Herasymchuk, Adviser-Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for the Rights of the Child and Child Rehabilitation; and a Urkainian civilian who provided a first-hand account.    


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