What's In Blue

Posted Mon 4 Mar 2013

The Council’s March Programme of Work

March is looking like a busy month for the Security Council as it is likely to adopt four resolutions renewing or reauthorizing the mandates of missions. Council members may also start working on resolutions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Mali over the month. The Russian Federation will preside over the Council in March.

The centrepiece of the March presidency is the high level open debate on Afghanistan during which the Council will reauthorise the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to preside over the debate, with the Secretary-General, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš, and possibly the Executive Director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, participating together with a number of foreign ministers.

Another significant Council decision this month will be the reauthorisation of the mandate of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) later this week. Negotiations at expert level have already begun on a draft resolution which apparently includes the lifting of the arms embargo in relation to delivery of arms and other equipment to the Somali National Security Forces as well as an indication of the Council’s preferred option for the reconfiguration of the UN presence in Somalia. Later in the month the Council will be briefed on the work of the 751/1907 Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee by its chair, Ambassador Kim Sook (Republic of Korea).

Two other debates are expected, on Haiti and Kosovo. The debate on Haiti, during which there will be a briefing by the acting head of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Nigel Fisher, will allow the Council to consider a plan for the consolidation of MINUSTAH outlined in the Secretary-General’s 31 August 2012 semi-annual report on the mission (S/2012/678). The other debate is the quarterly Kosovo debate which had been scheduled for February but was moved to March to accommodate the schedule of the Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Farid Zarif.

A number of issues that the Council has been following closely feature in the March programme of work. A closely watched issue in recent months, the DRC, will be discussed tomorrow (5 March) during a briefing by the Secretary-General on his possible options and their implications for reinforcing the capability of the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to implement its mandate. This will be followed by consultations among Council members.

A briefing on Mali on the possible options for a peacekeeping force, most likely by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, is scheduled for the end of March. Following a 12 February letter (S/2013/113) from the interim President of Mali, Dioncounda Traoré, requesting the rapid deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) prior to its transformation into a UN stabilisation and peacekeeping operation, the Council President wrote to the Secretary-General requesting a report on options. A report from the Secretary-General focusing on UN support for the political and security efforts to address the crisis in Mali, as well as the development and activities of AFISMA, is also expected by 20 March.

Guinea-Bissau, which featured prominently in the Council’s February programme of work, will continue to be a focus in March. The Council is expecting a briefing in consultations most likely from Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, the Assistant Secretary-General for political affairs, on the quarterly report on efforts to restore constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau.

The regular fortnightly briefings on Sudan and South Sudan will continue into March. There will also be a briefing on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) by the Special Representative and head of mission, Hilde Johnson. In addition a presidential statement, which is currently under negotiation, might be adopted at some point in the month if agreement can be reached.

This month Sierra Leone will get some attention from the Council as it needs to adopt a resolution ahead of the expiry of the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) on 31 March. A briefing by Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General in Sierra Leone and head of UNIPSIL, is expected in mid-March. A briefing by Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), chair of the Sierra Leone configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), is also likely following his recent visit to the country.

Council members will also have a briefing from both the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia and head of UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Karin Landgren, and the chair of the Liberia configuration of the PBC, Staffan Tillander (Sweden), on developments in Liberia.

A number of issues related to the Middle East will be discussed by the Council this month. On Libya, a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) is expected to be adopted by mid-March during a briefing by Tarek Mitri, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNSMIL. With the mandate of the Panel of Experts (PoE) assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee expiring by 16 March, it seems that the Council is likely to renew the PoE’s mandate at the same time as the renewal of the mission’s mandate.

There will also be briefings and consultations on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and developments in the Middle East, as well as consultations on Lebanon, Yemen and the Golan Heights. In addition a briefing on the work of the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee by its chair, Ambassador Gary Quinlan (Australia), is expected in early March.

The footnotes of the programme of work indicate that there may be possible briefings on the Central African Republic, Syria and the OSCE. Depending on progress on a draft resolution or further developments, the DPRK may also be put on the programme of work during the month.

An item not on the programme of work but involving all members of the Council is a meeting with the EU Peace and Security Council which will be hosted by Russia at its permanent mission.

Follow us on Twitter

Sign up for What's In Blue emails