What's In Blue

Posted Tue 17 Feb 2015

Adoption of Resolution Renewing the UN’s Peacebuilding Mission in Guinea-Bissau

The Council will adopt a resolution tomorrow morning (18 February), renewing the mandate of the UN Integrated Peace-building Mission in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) until 29 February 2016. Following a briefing and consultations on 5 February with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of UNIOGBIS, Miguel Trovoada (S/PV.7376), Nigeria, the penholder on Guinea-Bissau, circulated a draft resolution on 6 February. After three meetings last week to negotiate the text, the draft resolution was put in blue Friday afternoon (13 February).

Acting on recommendations from the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNIOGBIS (S/2015/37) the draft resolution reinforces the Special Representative’s good offices role in assisting the Guinea-Bissau government and strengthens the mission’s mandate in three areas: support to national dialogue and reconciliation; provision of strategic and technical advice to national authorities and stakeholders; and coordination of international partners and mobilisation of assistance. In order to highlight these priorities, for the first time these areas are in a separate operative paragraph from the mission’s other tasks.

In line with the Secretary-General’s recommendations and recent calls by members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the draft resolution also encourages international support for the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB). ECOMIB is seen as playing an important role in maintaining stability and supporting security sector reform, but ECOWAS and Nigeria, in particular, as the mission’s main contributing country, are facing financial challenges in maintaining it. Language on ECOMIB was added in several sections of the draft resolution. In the draft, the Council also welcomes the 25 March donor conference for Guinea-Bissau to be held in Brussels and strongly encourages the international community to mobilise support for the government.

During negotiations, differences arose over Angola’s desire to consolidate references on the problem of drug trafficking in the draft text. It seems that this was related to Angola’s view that the draft resolution should present a better image of Guinea-Bissau in light of the country’s progress. In this regard, Angola felt that the number of references and paragraphs in the resolution overstates the present scale of the drug trafficking problem, noting that the issue is not strongly emphasised in the Secretary-General’s report. It seems that the P5 and Nigeria were reluctant to fully take on board all of Angola’s proposals. The result was a compromise, which toned down some language on the issue and combined some of the paragraphs related to drug trafficking. Similarly during the negotiations, Angola sought to insert more language on the government’s current economic and governance reforms, it seems in order to also increase confidence about the country, and there is at least one new reference to these reforms based on Angola’s proposals.

While the Secretary-General’s report did not propose significant changes to the mandate, it did highlight root causes for Guinea-Bissau’s instability over the years derived from the analysis of the UN’s Strategic Assessment Mission conducted in November 2014. The assessment mission was carried out, as requested by the Council in May 2014 in resolution 2157, to ensure that UNIOGBIS’s mandate is aligned with the priorities of the elected government. The Council seems to indicate its recognition of these underlying problems in a paragraph in the draft resolution that calls for addressing the root causes of instability, paying particular attention to political-military dynamics; ineffective state institutions and rule of law; impunity and human rights violations; and poverty and lack of access to basic services.

During negotiations, members’ continuing concern over the risks posed by the possibility of Ebola spreading to Guinea-Bissau was reflected in the addition of references to the disease and preparations to combat it.

During consultations, some members also noted that it may be appropriate to start evaluating the future of the 2048 sanctions regime on Guinea-Bissau, which was established following the 12 April 2012 coup. As a result, the draft asks the Secretary-General to submit within six months a report to the 2048 Sanctions Committee with recommendations on the sanctions regime’s continuation and decides to review the sanctions measures in seven months.

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