Council’s September Programme of Work
This morning (3 September) Council members adopted their provisional programme of work for September. The month got off to a busy start earlier today with a briefing under Any Other Business on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous. Following the briefing, the Council issued a new press statement that condemned the detention of 45 UNDOF peacekeepers in the Golan Heights and called for their immediate release (the Council issued two statements condemnatory of the UNDOF peacekeepers’ detention on 27 and 28 August).
The Council’s programme of work does not appear particularly heavy this month (as is customary in September because of events related to the opening of the general debate of the General Assembly), but this could change, given that no meetings are currently scheduled on a number of ongoing crises, including, among other situations, Ukraine, Iraq and the Central African Republic (CAR), which are in the footnotes of the programme, as well as Gaza and South Sudan.
The US, the Council president for September, has chosen as the centerpiece of its presidency a summit-level briefing on the threats to international peace and security posed by foreign fighters. US President Barack Obama is expected to chair the meeting, while Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is likely to brief. (The meeting takes advantage of the fact that many heads of state and government will be in town, for the start of the general debate of the General Assembly.) A resolution that underscores the severity of the threat posed by foreign fighters and seeks to develop measures for preventive action is the anticipated outcome.
An open debate on children and armed conflict is scheduled. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Yoka Bradt, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Forest Whitaker are the expected briefers.
Two debates have also been scheduled for September, on UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINUSTAH, Sandra Honoré, is likely to brief during the MINUSTAH debate. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNAMA Jan Kubis will brief on Afghanistan; the political tensions resulting from the contested Afghan elections and the heightened insecurity caused by insurgent attacks are likely to be discussed in the debate.
The Council will hold meetings on a number of African issues this month, including Liberia, Libya and Sudan/South Sudan. Briefings, followed by consultations, are anticipated on UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), and the 1970 Libya Sanctions regime. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMIL Karin Landgren and Ambassador Marten Grunditz of Sweden, the chair of the Liberia configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, are expected to brief on UNMIL. Bernardino León, the new Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, will likely brief on the mission, while Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gassana (Rwanda) is expected to brief on the 1970 Libya Sanctions Regime. A meeting with UNMIL troop and police contributors is scheduled early in the month, with an update on the ebola epidemic in Liberia likely to be of key interest. (The Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing UNMIL’s mandate, which expires on 30 September.)
The Council is planning to hold an informal interactive dialogue on Sudan/South Sudan issues with Thabo Mbeki, chair of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel, although this is not listed on the programme of work because of the informal nature of this meeting format. Among the issues that Mbeki might discuss are Sudan/South Sudan relations, the political and humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the national dialogue process in Sudan.
Several Middle East issues are also on the agenda this month. There will be a briefing, followed by consultations, on developments in the Middle East by Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry. Consultations are also anticipated on the periodic report on UNDOF, with a briefing by Ladsous expected during the consultations. Ambassador Gary Quinlan of Australia, chair of the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee, is also due to present the quarterly briefing on the Committee’s work to the Council.
There will once again be multiple meetings on Syria in September. A briefing, followed by consultations, is expected on the humanitarian situation in Syria by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos. Also scheduled is a briefing in consultations on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons programme by Sigrid Kaag, Special Coordinator of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-UN Joint Mission.
In addition to CAR, Iraq, and Ukraine, the Security Council’s annual report and non-proliferation issues are in the footnotes signaling that meetings may be scheduled on these topics.