Status Update since our May Forecast
Protection of Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict
On 2 May, Security Council members held an Arria-formula meeting on the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflict. The meeting was organised by France and the United Arab Emirates with co-sponsorship by non-Council members Cyprus and Italy. The briefers at the meeting were Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); General Vincenzo Molinese, Commander of the Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (Italy); and Omar Al-Taweel, Site Coordinator for the “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” initiative—a UNESCO reconstruction campaign designed to rehabilitate the city’s cultural heritage.
Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace
On 3 May, the Council held an open debate on “Futureproofing Trust for Sustaining Peace” under its peacebuilding and sustaining peace agenda item (S/PV.9315). A concept note stated that the session aimed to take stock, review and strengthen the approaches of the Security Council towards building trust to foster sustainable peace in light of current and emerging threats (S/2023/283). Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis chaired the debate. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk; Cynthia Chigwenya, Youth Ambassador for Peace for Southern Africa; and ‘Funmi Olonisakin, Vice-President and Professor of Security, Leadership & Development, King’s College London, briefed.
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
On 4 May, Security Council members held a briefing on the activities of the OSCE (S/PV.9316). North Macedonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office (CiO), briefed, outlining the OSCE’s priorities for 2023. Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis chaired the meeting, during which several Council members expressed support for the OSCE’s activities and contributions to regional stability and economic development. Council members also discussed the OSCE’s role in light of the war in Ukraine, with some members calling on the organisation to reassert itself as a credible interlocutor for finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict.
On 8 May, Security Council members received their semi-annual briefing in closed consultations on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1559 (S/2023/280). (Adopted in 2004, resolution 1559 called for the disarmament of all militias and the extension of government control over all Lebanese territory.) Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed.
On 9 May, the Council held a briefing (S/PV.9318) on the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the mandate of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), released on 1 May (S/2023/305). The briefers were Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, and Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa.
The Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
On 10 May, Council members convened for closed consultations on: “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. China, France, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) requested the meeting to discuss the escalation of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland briefed. It seems that during the consultations, China proposed issuing press elements, but consensus could not be achieved on the matter.
On 24 May, the Security Council held an open briefing followed by closed consultations on: “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” (S/PV.9328). Wennesland and Tania Hary, the Executive Director of the Israeli civil society organisation Gisha, briefed.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Security Council held its semi-annual debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on 10 May (S/PV.9319). High Representative for BiH Christian Schmidt briefed on the most recent report of the Office of the High Representative (OHR), which covers the period from 16 October 2021 to 15 April (S/2023/318). Željka Cvijanović, the Serb member of the rotating tripartite inter-ethnic Presidency of BiH and the incumbent Chairman of the Presidency, participated under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure. At the outset of the meeting, Russia raised a point of order objecting to Schmidt’s briefing, noting that the Council had not authorised Schmidt’s appointment as High Representative.
On 11 May, the Security Council received the biannual briefing (S/PV.9320) of the ICC Prosecutor, Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, on the ICC’s Libya-related activities. Among other developments, Khan announced that the court had issued multiple new arrest warrants related to key lines of inquiry during the reporting period.
Group of Five for the Sahel Joint Force
On 16 May, the Council held a briefing (S/PV.9322), followed by closed consultations, on the Group of Five for the Sahel Joint Force (FC-G5S). Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on the FC-G5S, dated 9 May (S/2023/328). Executive Secretary of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) Eric Tiaré and Aïssatou Diouf, the International Policy and Advocacy Officer of Enda Energie and the Coordinator of the Climate Action Network for West and Central Africa, also briefed.
On 19 May, the UK convened an Arria-formula meeting on the humanitarian situation in Myanmar. OCHA Deputy Director of Operations Heli Uusikyla and two female civil society representatives briefed.
Protection of Civilians
On 23 May, the Security Council held its annual open debate (S/PV.9327) on the protection of civilians (PoC) in armed conflict. Secretary-General António Guterres’ 12 May PoC report served as the basis of the discussion (S/2023/345). Switzerland, May’s Council President, convened the debate as a ministerial-level signature event. Guterres, ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, and President of the Network of Women-led Organisations of the Lake Chad Basin Aïchatou Mounkaïla briefed. President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset chaired the meeting.
DPRK (North Korea)
On 8 May, Council members discussed a draft presidential statement on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) proposed by the US under “any other business”. Members were unable to reach agreement on the statement. On 24 May, the Chair of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl (Switzerland), briefed Council members in closed consultations on the 90-day report on the Committee’s work.
Peace and Security in Africa
On 25 May, the Security Council held a briefing on peace and security in Africa (S/PV.9329). Switzerland, May’s Council President, convened the meeting at the request of the A3 members (Gabon, Ghana, and Mozambique) to discuss the Secretary-General’s report (S/2023/303) on the financing of African Union (AU)-led peace support operations (AUPSOs), which was issued on 1 May. Viola Amherd, the head of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, chaired the meeting. Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo; AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Bankole Adeoye; and Bitania Tadesse, Programme Director at Amani Africa, a think tank based in Addis Ababa that provides research and analysis on the work of the AU and its Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), briefed the Council.
The Responsibility and Responsiveness of States to Cyberattacks on Critical Infrastructure
On 25 May, Security Council members held an Arria-formula meeting titled: “The Responsibility and Responsiveness of States to Cyberattacks on Critical Infrastructure”. The meeting was co-organised by Albania and the US, with co-sponsorship by Ecuador and non-Council member Estonia. The briefers were High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, International Policy Director at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center Marietje Schaake, and Cybersecurity Researcher at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) Moliehi Makumane.
Adoption of the Annual Report to the General Assembly
On 30 May, the Security Council adopted its annual report to the General Assembly, covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2022. Brazil, which drafted the introduction to the report, presented it to Council members. The rest of the report was prepared by the UN Secretariat and approved by the current members of the Council and immediate past members.
On 30 May, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2682, renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for another year, until 31 May 2024.