What's In Blue

Posted Tue 4 Oct 2011

The Security Council’s October Programme of Work

Council members adopted the monthly programme of work today and it looks like Middle East issues will continue to dominate their work during the October Nigerian presidency.

At press time, the Council was planning to vote on a Syria resolution later today. It also appears that Yemen may receive significant Council attention in October. It is expected that Special Adviser Jamal Benomar will brief the Council on Yemen soon and members may also possibly consider a draft resolution on the situation later in the month.

Palestine’s application for membership is now being considered by the Committee on the Admission of New Members, which is expected to report back to the Council in mid-October.

At the end of the month, the Council will receive a briefing on the recently set up UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). It is also possible that the Council may have to revisit NATO’s role during the month if the NTC gains full control over Libyan territory.
The quarterly open debate on the Middle East is also expected towards the end of the month as is a briefing on the implementation on resolution 1559 (adopted in 2004 to address Lebanese/Syrian border issues).

Sudan is also likely to be a key focus this month. There may be a resolution adopted on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) if the Council adds a border-monitoring support role to the mission. Sudan/South Sudan is in the footnotes of the programme of work and there may be briefings on the force levels for the UN Mission in South Sudan as well as on the ongoing violence in South Kordofan and Blue Nile over the month. Council members are also scheduled to receive a briefing and hold consultations on the report of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Somalia is another African issue which is likely to get attention from the Council. Two reports are due: one on the protection of Somali natural resources and waters and on alleged illegal fishing and dumping off the coast of Somalia and another on piracy. A briefing on these two reports followed by consultations on Somalia is planned for the end of October. In addition, it is possible that the Council will start negotiations this month on a draft resolution strengthening the arrangements for the prosecution of suspected pirates. The issue of further sanctions on Eritrea may also come up as Somalia/Eritrea is in the footnote of the programme of work.

An emerging issue of concern in Africa, which will be discussed, is piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Council members will receive a briefing from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime on 19 October and may adopt a presidential statement on this issue. Other African issues on the Council’s October programme of work include Cote d’Ivoire, where a resolution is likely to be adopted adjusting the sanctions, and Western Sahara, where the Council will receive its twice yearly briefing on the negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front. On the DRC, consultations are expected as well as two reports, one from the Panel of Experts and the other on MONUSCO.

Besides the regular Middle East debate, there will be two other debates in October. Nigeria has chosen security sector reform as an issue it wants to highlight this month. It was last discussed in the Council in 2008. The security sector reform debate is likely to be chaired by Nigeria’s foreign minister with a briefing by the Secretary-General and a presidential statement is likely to be adopted.

The annual open debate on women, peace and security and the implementation of resolution 1325 will take place this month. The debate will focus particularly on the role and participation of women in conflict prevention, with the head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet briefing together with representatives from DPA and DPKO.

In October, the Council will also be looking at two renewals: the reuthorisation of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and the extension of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti’s (MINUSTAH) mandate. While little change is expected to the ISAF mandate, it is possible that MINUSTAH’s mandate will be renewed at a reduced level.

The Council expects to adopt in October its annual report to the General Assembly and will also have its annual private meeting with the President of the International Court of Justice. There will be a briefing on post-conflict peacebuilding in line with the Council’s request in its October presidential statement on peacebuilding.

There will also be the monthly horizon scanning briefing from DPA on emerging issues of concern currently scheduled for 14 October.

October is also the month when five new Council members for the 2012 – 2013 term will be elected by the General Assembly. This year there are two seats available for Africa (with three candidates – Mauritania, Morocco and Togo – running), one for the Asia-Pacific Group (with two candidates – Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan – running), one for Eastern Europe (with three candidates – Azerbaijan, Hungary and Slovenia – running) and one for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States (with one candidate – Guatemala – running). The elections are scheduled for 21 October.

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