What's In Blue

Posted Wed 2 Oct 2013

October Programme of Work for the Security Council

Azerbaijan’s presidency of the Security Council for the month of October has begun on a busy note. Following this morning’s (2 October) adoption of the Council’s provisional programme of work for October, Council members were briefed in consultations on the situation in the Maldives by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernàndez-Taranco. Immediately after, the Council held a public meeting to adopt a presidential statement on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

Council members are expected to focus on Syria again in early October following the 27 September adoption of a resolution (S/RES/2118) on the verification and destruction of chemical weapon stocks in Syria. The resolution requested the Secretary-General to provide recommendations on the role of the UN in eliminating the chemical weapons in Syria, and consultations have been scheduled for 10 October on this issue. Resolution 2118 also requested that the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons report to the Security Council, through the Secretary-General, within 30 days. This report is due by 28 October, and it is possible that Council members may be briefed on this report at the end of the month.

Early in the month, Council members will travel to several locations in Africa including Addis Ababa, Kigali, Goma, Kampala and Kinshasa. A briefing on the visiting mission is expected on 21 October with a written report to follow. In Addis Ababa the members of the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council will hold their annual consultations at the end of which a joint communiqué is expected to be adopted.

A high-level meeting on cooperation between the UN and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been scheduled for 28 October. Briefings are expected by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu, with a high-level representative of Azerbaijan presiding. A presidential statement is the likely outcome from this meeting.

There will be three open debates in October: the quarterly open debate on the Middle East and the annual open debates on women, peace and security and working methods. Secretary-General Ban and the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, are the scheduled briefers for the debate on women, peace and security, with a resolution as the anticipated outcome. The chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, Ambassador María Cristina Perceval (Argentina) is expected to brief during the debate on working methods with no outcome anticipated. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is likely to brief on the situation in the Middle East, focusing on the current talks between Israel and the Palestinians but also possibly taking up other developments in the region.

Three additional adoptions are currently scheduled in October. The Council will likely renew the mandate of the UN Stablisation Mission in Haiti and renew the authorisation of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The Council also expects to adopt the introduction (drafted by the US) to the annual report of the Security Council to the General Assembly in a formal session before the end of the month.

A number of African issues are on the programme of work this month. There will be the twice per month briefings in consultations on Sudan-South Sudan, likely by Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Hervé Ladsous during the first meeting and Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun during the second. In conjunction with the first of the monthly consultations on Sudan-South Sudan, the head of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), Yohannes Tesfamariam, is expected to brief Council members via videoconference on the situation in Abyei and the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNISFA. There are also likely to be consultations on Western Sahara with briefings by Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber, the head of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, and by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara Christopher Ross.

Council members will also likely be engaged with the work of the Côte d’Ivoire and Sudan sanctions committees in October. Ambassador Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala), chair of the 1572 Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee, is expected to brief the Council on the work of the committee in consultations. Regarding Sudan, some of the members of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee are planning a trip to Darfur in October.

Regular briefings followed by consultations to review the progress of a number of UN peacekeeping operations in Africa are also scheduled. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Albert Gerard Koenders, will brief on MINUSMA with consultations to follow. A briefing by Ladsous followed by consultations is also anticipated on the upcoming report of the Secretary-General on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler, and the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, will brief on the Great Lakes region and the work of MONUSCO prior to consultations on this matters. Finally, a briefing by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson followed by consultations is scheduled on the situation in Somalia.

The semi-annual briefing in consultations by Special Envoy Terje Rod-Larsen on the implementation of resolution 1559 is anticipated. (Adopted in 2004, resolution 1559 urged the disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias and the extension of government control over all Lebanese territory.)

The annual private meeting between the Council and the President of the International Court of Justice, Peter Tomka, is also scheduled for late October. A number of ongoing issues are in the footnotes of the programme of work that may require additional attention and action from the Council over the course of the month. These include the Central African Republic, Syria and Yemen, as well as non-proliferation.

While not part of the programme of work, it should also be noted that the General Assembly is scheduled to elect five non-permanent members of the Security Council on 17 October. The incoming members will serve from 1 January 2014 through 31 December 2015 and replace current members Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo. Chile, Lithuania and Saudi Arabia are running unopposed, while Chad, Gambia and Nigeria are contesting the two seats available to the African Group.

(For more information on the Security Council elections, please see our Special Research Report at Security Council Elections 2013.)

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