What's In Blue

Posted Fri 2 Sep 2011

The Security Council’s September Programme of Work

The Council’s programme of work in September is typically affected by the start of the general debate at the General Assembly, in the third week of September. During the opening week of the general debate, which is attended by world leaders and high-level officials, the Council’s programme of work is often deliberately kept light. However, September Council presidents frequently capitalise on the presence of heads of state and foreign ministers in New York to hold high-level Council meetings during this period. Following in this tradition, Lebanon, the Council president for September, is planning to hold a high-level meeting on preventive diplomacy chaired by its president, Michel Suleiman. The Secretary-General will brief and several other Council members may also be represented at high-level during that meeting.

Following the developments in the second half of August, it is likely that the Council’s attention will remain firmly focused on Libya as it begins serious consideration of the UN’s post-conflict involvement. It seems that next week Council members may be briefed on the results of the 1 September “Friends of Libya” meeting in Paris by the Secretariat. A resolution establishing a UN presence in Libya, unfreezing assets, as well as other changes to the sanctions regime, is very likely in September.

Another issue which is likely to preoccupy Council members is Syria. At the end of the month there were two resolutions in blue on Syria, one drafted by the UK and the other by Russia. Last month, Council members had briefings on Syria from Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernández Taranco Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and it is likely that there will be interest from Council members in continuing to be updated on the situation.

While the Council has scheduled consultations on Sudan and South Sudan on 8 September, the fluid situation in some regions of Sudan may prompt Council members to hold additional meetings during the month to address the escalating violence in Southern Kordofan and to monitor developments in Blue Nile state and Abyei.

Unlike August when one resolution (renewing UNFIL’s mandate) was adopted, it is possible that up to eight resolutions could be adopted in September. The mandates of the UN missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia both expire in September and resolutions will be needed to renew them. Resolutions are also required to renew the authorisation of the AU mission in Somalia, AMISOM, and possibly for the appointment of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the renewal of the redeployment of helicopters and crews from the UN mission in Liberia to its mission in Côte d’Ivoire, as authorised in resolution 1951 and extended in resolution 1992 which is scheduled to expire on 30 September. The Council may also adopt resolutions on Libya and Syria over the course of the month. If the Council decides to expand the role of the UN Interim Security Force for Abiye, UNISFA, to provide for a border-monitoring mechanism it would need to adopt a resolution expanding the role of the mission.

On the programme of work there are three debates scheduled on: Haiti (in anticipation of the October renewal of the peacekeeping operation); Afghanistan (on the Secretary-General’s report and following a briefing by the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura); and on Somalia, (following a briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, prior to the Council authorisation AMISOM.)

Briefings are also likely on the UN missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia as well as by the chairs of the Iran sanctions committees. A briefing, most likely by video-conference, on Cyprus by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer is likely during Council consultations in early September.

The regular monthly briefing and consultations on the Middle East and Libya are scheduled for the end of the month, while the monthly briefing from DPA on emerging issues will take place in the middle of September. There will also be consultations on the Sudan sanctions committee.

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