Briefing by the Outgoing Chairs of the Security Council’s Subsidiary Bodies
Expected Council Action
As is customary in December, the outgoing chairs of the Council’s subsidiary bodies are expected to provide a briefing on their experiences. The representatives of the five members completing their two-year terms on the Council at the end of 2023 and the subsidiary bodies they each chaired are:
- Ambassador Harold Adlai Agyeman (Ghana)—the 2127 Central African Republic (CAR) Sanctions Committee, the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations;
- Ambassador Michel Xavier Biang (Gabon)—the 1533 Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Sanctions Committee, the 2653 Haiti Sanctions Committee, the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals, and the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee;
- Ambassador Ferit Hoxha (Albania)—the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, the 1518 Iraq Sanctions Committee, the 1636 Lebanon Sanctions Committee, and the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee; and
- Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates)—the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee; the 2048 Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee; and the 1566 Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.
Brazil’s permanent representative did not chair any subsidiary bodies.
The practice of briefings by the outgoing chairs of subsidiary bodies was established during the Colombian presidency of the Council in December 2002. It is considered an important aspect of promoting transparency in the work of the sanctions committees and working groups. Since not all subsidiary bodies produce an annual report, this December briefing has also served over the years as a means of creating a publicly accessible institutional memory of these bodies’ activities.
Key Recent Developments
At this briefing, the chairs will be able to review developments within their committee or working group during their two-year term, assess their experience, suggest recommendations for improvements, and provide advice to their respective successors.
Briefing on the activities of the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Agyeman is likely to highlight his visit in June to the CAR to discuss with authorities in Bangui the implementation of the sanctions regime. He could mention the adoption of resolution 2693 of 27 July 2023 to lift the notification requirements imposed on CAR under the regime. Agyeman may, however, note that since then, the appointment of members of the Panel of Experts assisting the 2127 Sanctions Committee remains pending because of a request by a Council member to place the appointments on hold. As chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, Agyeman may address some of the committee’s recent discussions on the humanitarian and security aspects of the fighting, since 15 April, between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group in Sudan. Meanwhile, it seems that the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations has been relatively inactive over the past two years.
Ambassador Michel Xavier Biang chaired four committees during Gabon’s Council term. During his briefing, Biang is likely to describe his experience serving as the inaugural chair of the 2653 Haiti Sanctions Committee, which resolution 2653 established in October 2022. He may describe his efforts to draft and adopt the committee’s internal guidelines. He might also mention the field visit he undertook to Haiti and the Dominican Republic from 12 to 16 June to gain first-hand insight into the situation on the ground.
As chair of the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee, Biang may refer to his visit to the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda in November 2022 and the discussions he held with the relevant authorities of those countries on the committee’s work. He may also mention the adoption of resolution 2667 on 20 December 2022, lifting the notification requirements imposed on the DRC under the sanctions regime. In the context of the situation in eastern DRC, he may allude to the decision by the sanctions committee to add two individuals to the sanctions designation list. As chair of the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee, Biang visited South Sudan from 21 to 28 October along with other committee members. Among other activities, he could note that the 2206 Committee received two briefings from Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba in July 2022 and October 2023.
Biang has also chaired the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals. He might describe the Working Group’s meetings with the president and prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) ahead of their semi-annual briefings to the Council in June and December. On 22 June 2022, the Council adopted resolution 2637, which was drafted by Gabon and extended Serge Brammertz’s term as prosecutor of the IRMCT until 30 June 2024, which Biang may also highlight.
As part of his briefing, Ambassador Ferit Hoxha is expected to cover the activities of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG) over the last two years. The IWG met every two months or so, holding five meetings in 2022 and five meetings so far in 2023. It also adopted its first annual report in December 2022, which covers the activities of the IWG in 2022 and includes an annex with selected indicators on the implementation of Note 507 and subsequent notes on the Council’s working methods. The IWG has also incorporated into its agenda regular discussions on the implementation of Note 507 and penholders. So far, the IWG has adopted two presidential notes: on the orderly conduct of a minute of silence and chairing subsidiary bodies if the chairs have not been agreed on by 1 January. Members are currently negotiating a presidential note on penholders.
Hoxha could mention meetings that the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee held during the past two years, including in May on the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM), which supports the implementation of the targeted arms embargo by monitoring and inspecting vessels sailing to Yemeni ports that are not under the government’s control, and a joint meeting in December 2022 with the Al-Shabaab Sanctions Committee on arms smuggling. He could note, among other issues, the committee’s designations in September and October 2022 of three additional individuals on the Yemen sanctions list. It seems that the 1518 Iraq Sanctions Committee and the 1636 Lebanon Sanctions Committee, which Hoxha also chairs, have remained dormant.
In briefing on her experience chairing since January the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), Ambassador Nusseibeh may mention the ongoing negotiations regarding the development of the non-binding principles referred to in the Delhi Declaration. (The “Delhi Declaration on countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes” was adopted during a special session of the CTC that was held in India in October 2022. Among other matters, it expressed an intention to develop, with support from the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, a set of non-binding guiding principles to assist member states to counter the threat posed by the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.) She may also refer to meetings held by the CTC this year, such as the 31 August open briefing on border control and security in the context of counter-terrorism.
The 2048 Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee met once during Nusseibeh’s chairmanship. The committee meeting, which was held in March and was the first since 2020, allowed it to hear about recent developments and the current situation in Guinea-Bissau, including the political situation, from Guinea-Bissau’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Samba Sané, and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee. The 1566 Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which Nusseibeh also chaired, remained dormant in 2022 and 2023.
After the annual Security Council elections were moved forward from October to June in 2016, there have been significant changes in how chairs of the Council’s subsidiary bodies are appointed. In July 2016, Council members agreed on a presidential note concerning the preparation of newly elected members during the transitional period between the election and the beginning of their term, including the selection and preparation of chairs of subsidiary bodies. The note established a more consultative process for the chairs’ appointment, co-led by a permanent member and the chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG), and stipulated that the appointments should be completed by 1 October.
It seems that an agreement was reached in the second half of October on the appointment of next year’s chairmanships. This would be the soonest that the chairs’ appointments have been agreed to since the July 2016 note. It follows last year’s delay in naming subsidiary body chairs, which took until the end of January 2023.
Elected members chair all sanctions committees and other formal and informal subsidiary bodies of the Council. While many elected members find the chairing of subsidiary bodies rewarding, there has from time to time been a suggestion to have permanent members share the responsibility of chairing these bodies.
UN DOCUMENTS ON SUBSIDIARY BODIES
|Security Council Meeting Record
|12 December 2022S/PV.9218
|This was a briefing by the outgoing chairs of the Security Council subsidiary bodies.
|30 August 2017S/2017/507
|This was the Note of the Security Council containing the compendium of its working methods.