What's In Blue

Posted Tue 2 Apr 2013

April Programme of Work for the Security Council

Rwanda has chosen a ministerial-level briefing on conflict prevention in Africa and its root causes as the centerpiece for its April presidency of the Security Council. Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo is expected to preside with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and possibly also the Chairperson of the AU, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, participating. There will also be two open debates: the regular quarterly debate on the Middle East and a debate on women, peace and security based on the Secretary-General’s report on sexual violence which is likely to also be presided over by Mushikiwabo. It seems that the debate on women, peace and security may be used to launch the process for drafting a resolution on sexual violence which would be adopted later in the year.

Two adoptions are scheduled in April. A resolution renewing the Côte d’Ivoire sanctions regime as well as its Panel of Experts is expected to be adopted in late April. The chair of the 1572 Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala) will brief on the work of the Committee in mid-April. Council members will also discuss the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in consultations on the same day following a briefing by the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, on the Secretary-General’s special report containing recommendations on possible adjustments to the structure and strength of UNOCI.

The second scheduled adoption is for the mandate renewal of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara’s (MINURSO). Ahead of the adoption there will be a briefing in consultations by Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MINURSO. There will also be a troop-contributing countries meeting on MINURSO in mid-April.

Several issues which preoccupied the Council over the last few months – the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Mali – will continue to be given attention in April. Council members will have a chance to discuss the CAR during a briefing in consultations (most likely by video-conference from Bangui) by Margaret Vogt, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) on developments on the ground and the Secretary-General ‘s report assessing the implementation of BINUCA’s priorities. (This report had been asked for in resolution 2088 by 31 March, but given the changed circumstances after the Seleka rebels seized Bangui and deposed President François Bozizé on 24 March it is unclear when it will be published.) The CAR is also in the footnotes and there may be additional briefings depending on developments there.

The DRC is also currently in the footnotes of the programme of work because a briefing by Mary Robinson, the recently appointed Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, is likely after she visits the region. (Resolution 2098 adopted on 28 March asked Robinson to brief following her first visit to the region.)

The Council has been receiving regular briefings on Mali and this trend continues into April. Tomorrow (3 April) the head of the Department of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, will brief on the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Mali. Council members will then discuss possible options for a new peacekeeping operation in consultations. It is also seems that a resolution mandating the new mission in Mali is likely in April.

Various aspects of the situation in Sudan will be considered in April. The regular twice-monthly briefings in consultations on Sudan/South Sudan are scheduled for 11 and 29 April. In addition there will be a briefing and consultations on the Secretary-General’s quarterly report on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) on 29 April. The Council is also expected to discuss in consultations the Secretary-General’s most recent report on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). It is unclear if there will be any outcome from any of these meetings. (Last month, two draft press statements on Sudan/South Sudan were circulated, and draft presidential statements on Sudan/South Sudan and Darfur respectively were being negotiated, but these seem to have stalemated).

Council members will have the opportunity to discuss Somalia in consultations at the end of April following a briefing by Feltman on the Secretary-General’s report which is expected to provide details of the new UN special political mission.
Yemen, which was expected to be discussed at the end of March, was moved to April. A briefing in consultations by Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the situation in Yemen, is now expected on Thursday (4 April).
The Council will get a chance to discuss peacebuilding issues during a briefing by Ambassadors Abulkalam Abdul Momen (Bangladesh) and Ranko Vilović (Croatia), the former and current Chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) on the sixth annual report of the PBC (S/2013/63), covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2012.

Two issues which are in the footnotes and might come up in April are non-proliferation related to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Syria. Depending on developments both issues might require a response from the Council during the month. There is also a possible briefing by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Leonid Kozhara (Ukraine). which is currently in the footnotes and may come into the programme of work if Kozhara is available this month. (This briefing was expected in February but so far a suitable date has not been found.)

The Secretary-General’s annual retreat with Council members will be held on 22-23 April. At press time the theme for the retreat had not been announced. (Last year there were three sessions, one covering the future challenges and recent lessons from political missions and related initiatives; the second on challenges and lessons from current UN peacekeeping operations and the third session on political changes in the Arab world and the future role of the UN.)

Finally Rwanda has scheduled a private meeting under the agenda item “Implementation of Note S/2010/507” as a “wrap-up session” of the Council’s work for the month of April. Both Pakistan and the Republic of Korea held similar sessions in January and February respectively. Russia, however, chose not to have one during their presidency in March.

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