What's In Blue

Posted Thu 2 May 2013

May Programme of Work for the Security Council

In May the Council’s programme of work has a number of terrorism related meetings as well the adoption of at least three resolutions. Togo, Council president in May, has chosen a debate on the challenges of fighting terrorism in Africa in the context of maintaining international peace and security as the centerpiece of its presidency. The debate, which will be held under the agenda item “Peace and Security in Africa,” will probably highlight the situation in the Sahel. Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé will preside and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to brief. The chairs of African subregional organisations are also likely to attend, and a presidential statement is the probable outcome.

Briefings are expected next week on the work of the counterterrorism subsidiary bodies – the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee; the 1373 Counter-terrorism Committee; and the 1540 Committee on weapons of mass destruction – by their respective chairs, Ambassador Gary Quinlan (Australia); Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco); and Ambassador Kim Sook (Republic of Korea).

Three adoptions are scheduled in May. This morning the Council adopted the first one: a resolution creating the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to be deployed by 3 June for an initial period of 12 months.

A resolution extending the mandate of UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) will likely be adopted in late May. Earlier in the month, the Council will hold a briefing and consultations on UNIOGBIS. José Ramos-Horta, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNIOGBIS, is expected to address the Council and also brief on the Secretary-General’s consolidated report covering UNIOGBIS and the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau.

The Council is also due to renew the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) before the end of the month, likely authorising an increase in UNISFA’s force level to allow for protection of monitors and support staff of the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism along the Sudan-South Sudan border. Council members are expected to discuss in consultations the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNISFA in the days prior to the adoption of the resolution.

Other aspects of the Sudan and South Sudan situation will figure in the Council’s work in May. The twice-monthly briefings in consultations on Sudan/South Sudan relations are scheduled for 9 May and on 23 May (the latter immediately following the session in which UNISFA will be discussed). The quarterly briefing by the Chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, Ambassador María Perceval (Argentina), is also expected in consultations mid-month, although the deadline for the interim report of the Committee’s Panel of Experts, originally set for 14 May, has been moved to 31 July.

In mid-May, Council members are likely to discuss in consultations the latest Secretary-General’s report on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), following a briefing by Margaret Vogt, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of BINUCA. The briefing is likely to focus on the significant political, security and humanitarian challenges facing the Central African Republic since the Seleka rebels seized Bangui on 24 March. There had been indications that the Council would adopt a resolution this month amending the mandate of the BINUCA to account for these challenges but it has not been included in the Council’s May programme of work.

The Secretary-General’s recently appointed Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, will likely brief the Council in consultations on her recent trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as requested in resolution 2098. It is possible that the Council will issue a press statement following the meeting.

Abou Moussa, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNOCA, will brief late in the month on the Secretary-General’s report on the Lord’s Resistance Army and the UN Regional Office for Central Africa.

The Council will also receive in May the semi-annual briefing by International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on recent activities of the Office of the Prosecutor on the situation in Libya. Guatemala, as the chair of the international tribunals working group, has initiated an informal interactive dialogue with the ICC Prosecutor which will allow Council members to have an exchange on a broad range of issues related to the work of the ICC.

Two events related to the Middle East are on the programme of work this month. They are the regular briefing by Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the situation in the Middle East followed by consultations, and the semi-annual briefing in consultations by Special Envoy Terje Rod-Larsen on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the implementation of resolution 1559. (Adopted in 2004, resolution 1559 urges the disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias and the extension of government control over all Lebanese territory.)

There are also some European issues on the agenda this month. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Chairperson-in-Office Leonid Kozhara, the foreign minister of Ukraine, is likely to brief the Council on peace and security issues in Europe. The briefing, delayed from February, is now scheduled for 7 May. There will also be a debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina with the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko, expected to brief the Council. The quarterly debate on Kosovo, originally planned for May, will now likely be held in June because of a scheduling issue.

With respect to the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), the chair of the 1718 Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg), will likely provide the quarterly briefing on the committee’s work in consultations.

Three items have been placed in the footnotes of the programme of work. These are Peace and Security in Africa (i.e.: Sahel), the Middle East (Syria) and non-proliferation.
The Council has been awaiting the UN’s integrated strategy on the Sahel for several months, and the Secretariat has indicated that it will be ready to report on this issue by mid-June. However, given delays in finalising the report containing this strategy and the tenuous situation in the region, some Council members are keen to receive the report and a briefing on it in May. (Romano Prodi, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sahel, would likely provide the briefing.)

The situation in Syria is also in the footnotes, and there are discussions among Council members of a possible Council trip to visit one or more countries in the region (in addition to Jordan, Turkey, and/or Lebanon) that have been affected by the spill-over effects of the crisis, notably a high influx of refugees from Syria.

Non-proliferation remains in the footnotes, and could be addressed depending on events unfolding in Iran and the DPRK.

Finally, Togo has scheduled a private meeting under the agenda item “Implementation on the Note S/2010/507” as a “wrap-up” session of the Council’s work for May. Similar sessions have been held this year by Pakistan (January), Republic of Korea (February), and Rwanda (April). Russia chose not to hold such a session when it was Council president in March.

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