What's In Blue

Insights on the May Programme of Work

Council members met today (Tuesday, 3 May) to discuss the May programme of work. This followed a meeting of the political coordinators late yesterday to finalise the programme. This month France has the presidency and it looks like there will be a strong Africa focus. Besides a number of African issues on the programme of work, Council members will also be traveling to Africa towards the end of May on a mission that will take them to Addis Ababa for annual consultations with the Peace and Security Council of the AU, and to Sudan (Khartoum, Juba, and Abyei are possible stops) and Nairobi (for discussions on Somalia).

Ahead of the trip both Somalia and Sudan are expected to be high profile items this month. Following a high-level debate last month on Somalia, the Council will continue to keep Somalia on its radar this month with a briefing by Special Representative Augustine Mahiga expected towards the middle of May. The Secretary-General’s report on Somalia is also due in early May.

Besides its significance during the Council visit to Africa, Sudan is expected to be taken up immediately after the Council comes back from its trip to Africa with a briefing from the Secretariat, while the UNMIS report with recommendations on the mandate and composition of the new UN mission in South Sudan is expected out ahead of the Council visit.

Continuing with the recent trend of focusing on a specific country situation, France is planning to have a debate on the DRC to re-energise Council thinking on the situation there ahead of the UN mission in DRC’s expiry at the end of June. (In April the Council had a debate on Haiti and in March on Somalia.) The French minister for cooperation, Henri de Raincourt is expected to preside over the DRC debate. The DRC is likely to be represented at ministerial level and the Secretary-General and his Special Representative Roger Meece as well as a representative from the World Bank are all expected to participate. A likely outcome is a presidential statement.

The second debate expected under the French presidency is an open debate on protection of civilians. (The Council generally has a biannual POC debate although the Secretary-General’s report comes out only once a year.) It seems that the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Alain Le Roy and the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic have all been invited to speak.

There will also be a strong protection of civilians focus during the Council’s consultations on the post-MINURCAT report by OCHA. This report focuses on the protection of civilians in Chad, particularly women and children following the withdrawal of MINURCAT in December 2010.

The Council will continue to be actively engaged on Libya in May. A briefing by the Special Envoy for Libya, Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib has been scheduled for this afternoon (3 May). Tomorrow, for the first time, the Council will be briefed by the ICC prosecutor on progress made in his investigations into allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Libya. There may also be a few other briefings on Libya, including the regular monthly report on Libya by the Secretariat, requested in resolution 1970.

In the middle of May, the chairs of the three counter-terrorism committees (the 1267 Committee, the CTC and the 1540 Committee) will give their six-monthly briefing to the Council. A debate is possible following the briefing but no Council decision is likely.

This is expected to be an active month for the DRC sanctions committee too with a possible briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on sexual violence, Margot Wallström, and by the panel of experts on its interim report which is due on 18 May.

There will also be the regular briefing followed by a debate session on both Bosnia and Herezegovina and Kosovo following the publication of the Secretary-General’s report on the UN mission in Kosovo and the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s report on the implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement.

Other briefings in May include the regular monthly briefing from the head of political affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, on emerging issues of concern as well as a briefing on the the report on international civilian capacities by Chairman of the Advisory Group Jean-Marie Guehenno and Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Susana Malcorra. There will also be a briefing on Burundi by the newly appointed special representative of the Secretary-General, Karin Landgren, and the chair of the Burundi configuration of the PBC, Paul Seger. There will also be a briefing by the chair of the DPRK Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral of Portugal.

Last month the Council adopted six resolutions – extending the mandate of the UN missions in Western Sahara and Sudan, renewing the sanctions regime in Côte d’Ivoire and the 1540 Committee on counter-terrorism, renewing the mandate of the Côte d’Ivoire panel of experts and a resolution on piracy off the coast of Somalia. In contrast, this month there is just one item on the programme of work that appears to require a resolution – the extension of the temporary redeployment of resources from the UN Mission in Liberia to the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire.

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