Security Council’s February Programme of Work
The Security Council’s programme of work for February adopted this morning contains mostly regular briefings and consultations on issues on the Council’s agenda, as well as a number of mandate renewals for sanctions and sanctions committee monitoring bodies as well as mission mandates.
China, as this month’s president, has also chosen to have a ministerial-level open debate focused on UN Charter, which will be presided over by China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi. The aim of the debate is to provide an opportunity for the Council and the larger UN membership to reaffirm their commitment to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter as the UN begins commemorating its 70th anniversary. No outcome is expected from the open debate.
There will also be the quarterly debate on Kosovo, with a briefing likely by Farid Zarif, the head of the UN Mission in Kosovo. There was some uncertainty about whether the Kosovo debate would be held this month, as the last debate had been delayed from November to December 2014, but a decision was made to keep the established review cycle.
The Council will address a number of Middle Eastern issues in February. It is expected to have briefings on all three tracks of the situation in Syria —i.e: chemical weapons, humanitarian and political. This week, there will be a briefing followed by consultations on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons by UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane, while Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos will brief on the humanitarian situation in Syria towards the end of the month. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is expected to brief in consultations mid-month on the political track.
Yemen is also on the programme of work. There will be consultations with Special Adviser Jamal Benomar, as well as the adoption of a resolution renewing the mandate of the 2140 sanctions regime on Yemen and the mandate of the associated panel of experts. Besides the scheduled consultations, the Council may need to schedule additional meetings if the situation deteriorates. (Last month it had two unexpected briefings on Yemen in order to be updated on the fast changing situation.)
A regular briefing, with consultations to follow, by Special Representative Nickolay Mladenov on the Secretary-General’s reports on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and on Iraq’s compliance with resolution 1284 regarding the expatriation or return of Kuwaiti missing persons or property is scheduled for the middle of the month. The regular briefing by Political Affairs head Jeffrey Feltman followed by consultations on the Middle East (Israel/Palestine) will also take place in the middle of February.
Most of the rest of the programme for February is focused on African issues. The regular briefing and consultations on the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) is scheduled for tomorrow. Special Representative Nicholas Kay and African Union Mission in Somalia head Maman Sidikou will brief. In addition, Ambassador Rafael Ramírez (Venezuela), chair of the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee, is expected to give a briefing on the Committee’s work in consultations later in the month. Although it is not likely to be discussed this month, the Council is also expected to receive by 27 February a proposal from the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group and the Federal Government of Somalia on potential exemption to the arms embargo for commercial vessels in Somalia ports, which was requested in resolution 2182 last October.
Later this week the Council will hold a briefing and consultations on Guinea-Bissau, with briefings by Special Representative Miguel Trovoada and Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), chair of the Guinea-Bissau country-specific configuration of the Peacebuilding Configuration. Later in the month, the Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau.
Sudan and South Sudan continue to be a key focus this month, with a briefing and consultations on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and consultations on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous is expected to brief on both missions. An adoption of a resolution to renew UNISFA is scheduled towards the end of the month. In addition, the Council is expected to be briefed in consultations by the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Rafael Ramírez (Venezuela), ahead of adopting a resolution renewing the mandate of the Panel of Experts.
Also in February, Ambassador Román Oyarzun (Spain), the chair of the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee, is scheduled to brief on the committee’s work in consultations.
Finally, there will be the annual briefing by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ivica Dačić (Serbia).
Burundi, the Central African Republic, Mali, Ukraine and non-proliferation are currently in the footnotes of the programme of work. Other ongoing, persistent conflicts which may require attention from the Council, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, and the Boko Haram threat are not currently reflected in the programme of work. It is probable that there will be a need for briefings, as well as possible Council outcomes, on one or more of these issues.