What's In Blue

Posted Thu 2 Jul 2015

Security Council’s July Programme of Work

This morning (2 July), Council members adopted their programme of work for July. The month has got off to a busy start with Council members receiving briefings on Burundi by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović and the Deputy head of the UN Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi (MENUB), Issaka Souna, during “any other business” (AOB) today. A further briefing on Burundi by High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, followed by consultations, has been scheduled for next week, with Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman possibly also briefing. Ambassador Paul Seger (Switzerland), the chair of the Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), is currently in Burundi and may be asked to brief the Council this month.

New Zealand, the Council president in July, has chosen to have an open debate on the peace and security challenges facing small island developing states at the end of the month. New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, will preside, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the prime ministers of Samoa and Jamaica and the finance minister of the Seychelles expected as briefers.

Another key event this month is a meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein are expected to brief. A draft resolution is currently being negotiated and is expected to be adopted at the briefing.

Four resolutions renewing peace operations mandates are expected to be adopted this month: the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). Ahead of their mandate renewals there will be consultations on UNISFA and UNFICYP. Head of mission Haile Tilahun Gebremariam will brief on UNISFA’s activities. Lisa Buttenheim, head of the mission in Cyprus, will brief on the Secretary-General’s report, along with Espen Barth Eide, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, who will discuss the negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. A troop-contributing countries meeting is scheduled for the middle of the month ahead of the UNFICYP renewal. Briefings and consultations on UNAMI and UNSOM are expected before the mandate renewals. Special Representative Ján Kubi&#349 will brief the Council on the Secretary-General’s reports on UNAMI and on Iraq’s compliance with resolution 1284 regarding the repatriation or return of Kuwaiti missing persons or property. Head of UNSOM Nicholas Kay will brief on the activities of the mission in Somalia.

Other meetings on issues related to Sudan and South Sudan include consultations on Sudan/South Sudan issues with a briefing by Special Envoy Haile Menkerios, and consultations on the human rights situation in South Sudan. The latter issue is currently in the footnotes of the programme of work.

There will also be a briefing by Martin Kobler, head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC, followed by consultations on the DRC. Ambassador Dina Kawar (Jordan) will brief on the work of the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee. In addition, Ambassador Rafael Ramírez (Venezuela), chair of the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee, will brief Council members in consultations on the work of the Committee since his last 120-day briefing.

Next week, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), will brief the Council on the semi-annual UNOWA report followed by consultations. The main focus of the briefing is likely to be Boko Haram but turmoil related to electoral issues in Guinea and Burkina Faso may be covered.

There are a number of regular meetings scheduled on the Middle East. Foreign Minister McCully will also preside over the quarterly open debate on Israel/Palestine, where Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov will brief. There is likely to be a particular focus on the various UN reports recently released on last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The regular monthly briefings on the chemical weapons and humanitarian tracks in Syria by High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo and OCHA’s head, Stephen O’Brien, respectively, are also on the programme of work. O’Brien’s briefing will be followed by consultations, Kim’s briefing will take place in consultations. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is also expected to brief the Council on the political track with consultations to follow.

Consultations are expected next week on the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701, which called for a cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006. Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet are expected to brief.

Libya and Yemen are both in the footnotes of the programme of work and meetings are likely to be scheduled during the month. Malaysia today raised, on behalf of the states comprising the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on MH17 (Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine), that it planned to introduce a draft resolution to establish an international criminal tribunal for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. This issue is likely to pursued further over the month. The reports of the reviews of UN peace operations and peacebuilding are also in the footnotes and may be discussed in July. Another item in the footnotes that could be added to the programme of work is a meeting on the protection of civilians’ report, which was published in June.

In addition, the issue of the selection of the next Secretary-General may be raised in the Council. It is possible that Council members may consider the 1 June letter sent by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group to the president of the Security Council, alongside one to the president of the General Assembly, containing the group’s proposals for the process of selection of the next Secretary-General. During the wrap-up session on 30 June, some members showed interest in taking up some of the suggestions, which included the idea of a joint letter by the presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly, inviting member states to present nominations and setting a deadline for the nominations in order to start the process.

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