Security Council’s May Programme of Work
Earlier today (4 May), the Council adopted its programme of work for the month of May, during which Lithuania will hold the Council presidency. Although the programme of work was only officially adopted today, the Council had its first meeting of May on Friday (1 May) when members were briefed in consultations on the situation in Yemen by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. Following this morning’s adoption of the programme of work, Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura and Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director of the Syria field office of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, briefed Council members in consultations via video teleconference under “any other business” on the worsening situation in Yarmouk—a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus.
Lithuania has elected to hold two open debates in May. A ministerial-level open debate on the protection of journalists will be presided by the country’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, with UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson among the briefers. Other briefers include Christophe Deloire, the Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, and a journalist from a conflict-affected country. An open debate on small arms will be held to consider the Secretary-General’s biennial report on the issue, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expected to brief. Lithuania has circulated a concept note highlighting the human cost of illicit small arms as a key focus for the debate. Both debates are likely to have resolutions as outcomes.
Lithuania has also chosen to schedule a high-level briefing on the implementation of resolution 2178 on the growing threat of foreign terrorist fighters. Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius is expected to preside and Council member states’ justice and interior ministers have been invited to attend. Expected to brief on UN counter-terrorism efforts are the Deputy Secretary-General and the chair of the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions, and the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committees. Secretary-General of INTERPOL Jürgen Stock will also brief the Council. A presidential statement is the likely outcome.
There will be two regular debates on European issues. There will be a debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a briefing by High Representative Valentin Inzko; and on Kosovo, with a briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, Farid Zarif.
Consultations on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 1718 Sanctions Committee are also set to take place, with the chair of the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Román Oyarzun (Spain), due to brief in consultations on the work of the Committee.
The Council will consider several African issues in the month of May. On South Sudan, the Council is expecting a briefing by Special Representative Ellen Margrethe Løj, followed by consultations, on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and to renew the mandate of the mission, which expires on 30 May. A meeting with UNMISS troop-contributing countries will also be held, with Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet briefing. Also in May, the chair of the 2206 Sanctions Committee on South Sudan, Ambassador Cristián Barros (Chile) is expected to provide his first briefing on the Committee’s work. On Sudan/South Sudan issues, Council members plan to hold consultations to consider the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). On Sudan sanctions, Ambassador Rafael Ramírez (Venezuela), the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, is expected to provide the quarterly briefing to Council members on the Committee’s work.
The Council is also scheduled to receive a briefing from Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), on the forthcoming Secretary-General’s report, which will be followed by consultations, and to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of UNSOM, which expires 28 May.
On Liberia, the Council is scheduled to receive a briefing from Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Mission in Liberia Karin Landgren on events covered in the latest bi-annual Secretary-General’s report and other recent developments. Ambassador Olof Skoog (Sweden), chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and its country-specific configuration on Liberia, who travelled to the region in April, is also likely to brief. Consultations will follow.
On the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Special Representative and head of UNOCA Abdoulaye Bathily will brief on the Secretary-General’s report and the implementation of the UN regional strategy to combat the LRA. Either a presidential or a press statement is a possible outcome.
Also, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will deliver her semi-annual briefing on recent developments concerning cases in Libya.
Turning to the Middle East, Council members will have their two regular monthly briefings on Syria—with UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane briefing on chemical weapons and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos briefing on humanitarian access. Newly appointed Special Representative Ján Kubiš will brief the Council on the Secretary-General’s reports on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and on Iraq’s compliance with resolution 1284 regarding the repatriation or return of Kuwaiti missing persons or property, followed by consultations.
The Council is also likely to receive a briefing in consultations on the humanitarian and political situation in Yemen, and briefers will include a representative of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and likely also the recently appointed Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
The regular monthly briefing and consultations on the Middle East will be held, with Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov set to brief on the situation in Israel/Palestine and other issues of concern in the region.
Several issues on the Council’s radar screen – DRC, Mali and Ukraine – are included in the footnotes of the Programme and may come up during May. Also in the footnotes is a briefing by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees—on the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, which may take place next week. The Council is also following the deteriorating situation in Burundi and may need to engage on this issue during the month.