What's In Blue

Posted Mon 4 Feb 2013

The Council’s February Programme of Work

February’s programme of work under the presidency of the Republic of Korea (ROK) – the first of the newly elected Council members to assume as Council President – focuses on ongoing crisis situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mali, and Sudan as well as a number of mandate renewals — UN Office in Burundi (BNUB), UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) and the Panel of Experts assisting the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee — and features two debates (protection of civilians and Kosovo).

The open debate on protection of civilians will be presided over by the ROK Foreign Minister, Kim Sung-Hwan, with briefings from the Secretary-General, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. Ministerial level participation is expected from a number of Council and non-Council members. A presidential statement appears to be a likely outcome.

Following the adoption of the programme of work this morning the Council begins its February schedule tomorrow (5 February) with consultations during which the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, and peacekeeping head, Hervé Ladsous, are expected to brief. Ladsous will brief on developments on the ground and the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) while Malcorra will brief on the Secretary-General’s diplomatic efforts to obtain a political framework agreement to address the situation in the eastern DRC. MONUSCO will be discussed again at the end of the month when the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Roger Meece, is expected to brief following the publication of the Secretary-General’s report on MONUSCO.

Tomorrow will also see the Council discussing developments in Guinea-Bissau with a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, and Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti (Brazil), the PBC Guinea-Bissau configuration Chair. This will be followed by consultations where Council members may have their first opportunity to discuss the renewal of the UNIOGBIS mandate which is expected to take place towards the end of the month.

Council members will follow-up on Mali, a situation which they paid close attention to in January, by holding consultations on 6 January. Council members are expecting a briefing from Zerihoun on recent developments on the ground as well as the development of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).

Sudan/South Sudan relations continue to be regularly discussed with consultations scheduled for the first and third week of the month. This month, Sudan sanctions also gets attention from Council members with a briefing in consultations by the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval (Argentina). Adoption of a resolution renewing the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the Committee is also scheduled in mid-February. In addition there will be a briefing in consultations on the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

Other African issues on February’s programme of work include Burundi and Somalia. Having received a briefing at the end of January from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Burundi, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga (Gabon), on the Secretary-General’s report on BNUB, which contained the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the mission’s mandate renewal, it looks like there are no further briefings expected ahead of the scheduled renewal of the mission’s mandate in mid-February.

The Council will discuss the Secretary-General’s report on Somalia and the options and recommendations it suggests for the future UN presence in the country. It is also expected to begin discussions on the future of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), whose Council authorisation expires on 7 March. A briefing by the head of the political affairs department, Jeffrey Feltman, on these issues is expected in mid-February.

On the Middle East, there will be the regular Middle East briefing and consultations at the end of the month. In early February there will be a briefing on the Council’s recent mission to Yemen by Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco) and Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant (UK), who co-led the mission, followed by consultations with a briefing by Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, Jamal Benomar, on the situation in Yemen. Although not on the programme of work, Syria is in the footnotes and may come up for discussion during the month.

European issues will also get some attention this month with the regular quarterly debate on Kosovo during which Farid Zarif, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is expected to brief. In addition, there will be a briefing focused on the relationship between the UN and the EU in mid-February by Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The quarterly report to Council members of the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee chair, Ambassador Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) is scheduled for the third week of February. Non-proliferation is in the footnotes of the Council’s programme of work as it has been for many months, but this month Council members are acutely aware that DPRK may take action that could require a Council response. (Following the adoption of resolution 2087 on 22 January condemning the DPRK’s 12 December satellite launch, the DPRK responded by threatening to launch further long-range rockets and conduct a “nuclear test of higher level”.)

The month ends with a “wrap-up session” which is scheduled as a private meeting of the Council, allowing non-Council members to attend. (This will be the second consecutive “wrap-up session” following Pakistan’s initiative last month to revive a practice that had been used regularly in the first half of the 2000s.) As Council president, ROK has chosen to include it in the programme of work in order to allow members to take stock of the Council’s work in February and help enhance the accountability and transparency of the Council to the larger UN membership.

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