What's In Blue

Posted Wed 5 Sep 2012

The September Programme of Work

Germany, as President of the Security Council for September, has initiated a high-level meeting on change in the Arab world which will take place on 26 September. It will be chaired by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. Both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil al-Araby, as well as a number of high-level participants are expected to attend. (The event will take place the same week as the opening of the General Assembly which is attended by heads of state and government and foreign ministers.) The focus of the meeting will be on recent conflicts and developments in the Arab world with a particular emphasis on the role of the League of Arab States as a regional actor.

There will also be debates on two issues where Germany is the lead country on the Council: Afghanistan and children and armed conflict.

The open debate on children and armed conflict is scheduled for 19 September. Westerwelle will chair with Leila Zerrougui, the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and Hervé Ladsous, head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, briefing. The debate is expected to focus on how the Council can increase accountability for persistent violators of the rights of children in armed conflict. A presidential statement is a likely outcome following the debate.

The regular quarterly debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is planned for 20 September. Jan Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, is expected to brief. Council members are likely to take stock of the transition process and explore the role of UNAMA in this context.

Syria and Somalia, although not on the programme of work, will be on Council members’ minds and are likely to be taken up over the month. The UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, who assumed his post on 1 September, is planning to travel to Damascus and the region soon. It is likely that Council members will ask for a briefing on his return. On Somalia, the Council may ask to be briefed on the political situation during the month and there is a possibility that it may consider a resolution expressing support for the transition to permanent federal government institutions and positive developments on the ground. (There will be also a high-level meeting on Somalia on 26 September on the sidelines of the General Assembly.)

Another situation which will continue to occupy the Council’s attention is that of Sudan and South Sudan. There are two consultations scheduled on the state of negotiations between the two countries. (Following the adoption of resolution 2046 on 2 May the Council has discussed the implementation of this resolution every two weeks.) Special Envoy for Sudan, Haile Menkerios, is likely to brief at the meetings. The Council may also have to meet to consider possible action if the parties fail to resolve the remaining issues by the AU-extended deadline of 22 September. (A ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly is planned for 27 September.)

Another situation which is high on the radar of a number of Council members will be the focus of Council consultations on 17 September: Mali and the wider Sahel region. The Secretariat will brief the Council on the preparation and implementation of a comprehensive Sahel strategy which the Council had asked for in resolution 2056. The impact of the Mali conflict on the larger Sahel region is expected to be part of these discussions. (There will also be a Sahel summit on the margins of the General Assembly on 26 September.)

Over the course of the month the Council will have briefings and consultations related to the mandate renewals of the UN missions in Liberia and Sierra Leone. There will also be the regular briefings and consultations on Yemen and the Middle East as well as Guinea-Bissau. A briefing on issues of concern by DPA head, Jeffrey Feltman, is also scheduled in mid-September. In addition there will be briefings by the chairs of the Iran and Sudan sanctions committees.

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