What's In Blue

Posted Thu 3 Nov 2011

The Security Council’s November Programme of Work

Council members adopted the November programme of work yesterday (Wednesday, the 3rd) and it looks like they will be heading into a busy month under the Portuguese presidency. The Council’s schedule this November is particularly tight as it has only 18 working days due to several UN holidays as well as the annual workshop with the five newly elected Council members organised by the Finnish mission. In addition, one day will be devoted to the ICJ election.

There are several debates and briefings planned for November. Portuguese president, Anibal Cavaco Silva is expected to preside over the open debate on protection of civilians on 9 November. The Secretary-General, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay and Philip Spoerri, Director for International Law and Cooperation at the ICRC are expected to also speak.

A high-level briefing chaired by Portuguese foreign minister, Paulo Portas, on emerging challenges to peace and security such as threats posed by HIV/AIDS and global health pandemics, the effects of climate change and drug and human trafficking is scheduled for 23 November, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Director General of WHO and the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are all expected to brief with a presidential statement as a possible outcome.

The Portuguese foreign minister will chair another debate on Timor-Leste (a regular debate normally held in October at permanent representative level) and there will be also be an open debate on Working Methods which follows up the April 2010 debate. No outcome is expected from either debate.

Other regular debates and briefings, which fall in November, include a briefing by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko, following which the Council is expected to reauthorise the EU force in the country as well a briefing by the head of the UN Mission in Kosovo, Farid Zarif.

In 2011 the Council began paying more attention to the LRA. In July it had a private meeting on this issue and issued a press statement. On 14 November it will receive a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs on the Secretary-General’s report on the LRA which assesses the threat posed by the LRA and regional and UN efforts to address the threat. Issues related to protection of civilians and children and armed conflict are likely to be discussed during this meeting. The head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Abou Moussa will provide a regional perspective during this session and members of relevant regional organisations are expected to participate. It appears that a presidential statement is a possible outcome.

There will also be the regular monthly briefing and consultations on Libya and the Middle East as well as the periodic briefings on Cyprus and peacekeeping operations. In addition, a briefing on Yemen by Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser on Yemen is expected in line with resolution 2014 adopted on 21 October as well as briefings on the UN missions in Sudan, the DRC and Lebanon.

The monthly horizon scanning briefing from DPA on emerging issues of concern is currently scheduled for 11 October.

A number of regular briefings and consultations related to subsidiary bodies and sanctions regimes will take place in November. The chairs of the counter-terrorism related committees – 1267/1989 Committee, the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC or 1373) and the 1540 Committee on counter terrorism and weapons of mass destruction are expected to brief in mid-November. There will also be consultations on North Korea, the DRC and Somalia/Eritrea sanctions. It is possible that the IAEA report expected out next week may also prompt discussion on Iran sanctions issues. Council members have also been discussing a resolution imposing additional sanctions on Eritrea which may be adopted in November.

On Tuesday 8 November, Council president, Portuguese Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral will present the Council’s annual report to the General Assembly. This year the General Assembly debate is expected to focus on the Security Council report only, unlike in the last several years when the Assembly debated the Security Council report and reform in the same session.

The footnotes of the November programme of work signal a number of other possible briefings or consultations. It appears that the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor for Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, may brief the Council upon his return from Myanmar next week.

It seems there is also interest in having a more comprehensive and broader discussion on the Sudanese region covering Darfur, Abyei, Blue Nile, South Kordofan with Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the AU High Level Implementation Panel.