Update Report

Posted 8 August 2006
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Update Report No. 1: Peace Consolidation in West Africa

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Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to adopt a presidential statement on peace consolidation in West Africa, following the open debate scheduled for 9 August.

The debate comes as an initiative from the Ghana, the Council’s President for the month of August. It is intended to keep momentum on West African issues and reiterate the importance the Council attaches to the consolidation of peace processes currently taking place in West Africa.

A draft presidential statement was circulated and is currently under negotiation. It is expected that the statement will welcome the transition from war to constitutional rule in several countries of the region and stress the importance of key areas such as small arms and light weapons, natural resources, capacity-building, security sector reform and cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

A concept paper was circulated last week by the Ghanaian Mission. It draws attention to the fact that a number of countries in the region have recently faced conflict and are progressively transitioning out of war. It points out that the situations in Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone are “stable but fragile”. It also highlights some of the challenges currently facing those countries, such as slow economic recovery, the extension of state authority, institutional weakness and lack of expertise, corruption, the return of refugees, security sector reform and the reintegration of former combatants, as well as key themes such as cooperation with regional organisations and the role of the international community in peacebuilding.

Overview of Past Council Action
The Council created in 2002 an Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa, but the Group has not played a major role in responding to specific African situations on the Council’s agenda. It has largely concentrated on private consultations and the occasional holding of seminars.

Instead, the Council has itself devoted significant attention to peace and security issues in Africa, including West Africa, in the context of:

  • conflict prevention and resolution generally in Africa (resolution 1625 and presidential statements 1997/46 and 1998/29);
  • thematic discussions on cross-border issues, particularly in West Africa (presidential statements 2004/7 and 2005/9);
  • the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the strengthening of Council arms embargoes (resolutions 1196, 1209 and 1467, and presidential statement 2005/7);
  • enhancement of African conflict prevention and peacekeeping capacities (resolution 1197 and presidential statement 1998/28);
  • refugees (resolution 1208); and
  • country-specific action, particularly in Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.

As a result of the outbreak of multiple civil wars in West Africa starting in the early 1990s, and in addition to the creation of a number of peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding support offices in those countries, the Council has resorted to a variety of sanctions regimes, ranging from arms, diamonds, timber and oil embargoes to targeted measures such as travel bans and assets freezes in Côte D’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Council missions to the region were also carried out in 2003 and 2004.

The region also witnessed some of the first instances of cooperation in peacekeeping between the UN and a regional organisation – ECOWAS. The increase in cooperation among UN offices and peacekeeping operations in the area, steps taken against Charles Taylor in the context of his indictment before the Special Court for Sierra Leone and support for the work of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) on increasing subregional cooperation are also examples of an integrated, cross-border focus.

With the conclusion of the transitional processes in Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and with efforts in that direction being implemented in Côte d’Ivoire, the Council’s attention has gradually shifted to peacebuilding. In particular, the Council has referred Sierra Leone to the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), which, following ongoing consultations, is expected to hold its first formal country-specific meeting on the situation in early September.

A number of reports of the Secretary-General has identified cross-border challenges and has made recommendations both at the international, regional and country-specific levels. While the Council has been supportive of most of the Secretary-General’s initiatives, especially his proposals for the sharing of troops between UN peacekeeping operations, some of the recommendations have not yet been accepted by Council members. In particular, the proposal for the establishment of a UN peacekeeping subregional reserve force in West Africa to be deployed to support UN forces in other mission areas has not yet been taken up by the Council.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1631 (17 October 2005) addressed the issue of cooperation between the UN and regional organisations.
  • S/RES/1625 (14 September 2005) was a declaration on the Council’s role in conflict prevention, particularly in Africa.
  • S/RES/1467 (18 March 2003) and 1209 (19 November 1998) addressed the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in West Africa and in the whole continent respectively.
  • S/RES/1208 (19 November 1998) addressed the provision of security to refugees and the maintenance of the civilian character in refugee camps.
  • S/RES/1197 (18 September 1998) contained measures to assist in the enhancement of African peacekeeping and conflict prevention capabilities and to improve coordination with the UN.
  • S/RES/1196 (16 September 1998) addressed the strengthening of the effectiveness of arms embargoes in Africa.
Selected Presidential Statements
  • S/PRST/2005/9 (25 February 2005) and 2004/7 (25 March 2004) considered cross-border and subregional problems in West Africa.
  • S/PRST/2005/7 (17 February 2005) addressed the issue of small arms and light weapons.
  • S/PRST/1998/29 and (24 September 1998) and 1997/46 (25 September 1997) marked the convening of ministerial-level meetings and addressed key steps for peace in Africa.
  • S/PRST/1998/28 (16 September 1998) affirmed that the enhancement of African peacekeeping capacity is a key priority, inter alia.
Reports of Council Missions to West Africa
Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • A/60/182 (1 August 2005) and A/59/285 (20 August 2004) are progress reports on the causes of conflict and promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.
  • S/2005/135 (2 March 2005) is the report on inter-mission cooperation in West Africa.
  • S/2005/86 (11 February 2005) and S/2004/200 (12 March 2004) are reports on ways to combat subregional and cross-border issues in West Africa.
  • A/59/591 (30 November 2004) and A/50/711 – S/1995/911 (1 November 1995) are reports on improving African peacekeeping capacity.
  • A/54/63 – S/1999/171 (12 February 1999) is the Secretary-General’s report on enhancement of African peacekeeping capacity.
  • A/52/871 – S/1998/318 (13 April 1998) is the report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.
Other Relevant Documents
  • S/2006/610 (3 August 2006) was the concept paper circulated by Ghana for the debate on peace consolidation in West Africa.
  • PBC/OC/1/2 (21 June 2006) referred Burundi and Sierra Leone to the PBC.
  • S/2005/833 (30 December 2005) contained the latest annual report of the Council Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.
  • S/2005/16 (11 January 2005) contained the mandate, functions and activities of UNOWA for the period expiring on 31 December 2007.
  • S/2002/207 (1 March 2002) contained the terms of reference for the Council Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.

Other Relevant Facts

Chair of the Council Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa
Ambassador Basile Ikouebe (Congo)
Representatives of the Secretary-General

West Africa: Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah (Mauritania)
Côte D’Ivoire: Pierre Schori (Sweden)
Guinea-Bissau: João Bernardo Honwana (Mozambique)
Liberia: Alan Doss (United Kingdom)
Sierra Leone: Victor da Silva Ângelo (Portugal)

UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA)

Size as of 30 June 2006: 6 international civilians; 9 local civilians
Duration: November 2001 to present
Mandate Expires: 31 December 2007

UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS)
Size as of 30 June 2006: 13 international civilians; 2 military advisers; 1 police adviser
Duration: March 1999 to present
Mandate Expires: 31 December 2006
UN Operation in Côte D’Ivoire (UNOCI)
Total authorised strength: 8,115 military personnel and 1,200 police
Strength as of 6 July 2006: 6,896 military personnel and 728 police
Key troop contributors: Bangladesh, Morocco, Ghana and Pakistan
Cost: 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2007: $438.37 million
Duration: April 2004 to present
Mandate Expires: 15 December 2006
UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)
Total authorised strength: up to 14,783 military personnel and 1,240 police
Strength as of 30 June 2006: 14,794 military personnel and 1,042 police
Key troop contributors: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Nigeria
Cost: 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2007: $745.57 million
Duration: September 2003 to present
Mandate Expires: 30 September 2006
UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL)
Size as of 31 December 2005: 159 international staff, 228 local staff, 10 military observers, 20 police, 83 UN Volunteers
Cost: $23.3 million (estimated)
Duration: 1 January 2006 to present
Mandate Expires: 1 January 2007