What's In Blue

Posted Mon 4 Jan 2016

The Security Council’s January Programme of Work

In January, new members—Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay—begin their two-year term on the Council. Uruguay also takes on the presidency of the Security Council this month. This afternoon, Council members agreed on the programme of work. While the schedule for this week only indicates consultations on Syria, it seems there will be briefings tomorrow on the Central African Republic (CAR), the situation on the Syrian-Turkish border and Yemen under “any other business” following the Syria meeting.

Two open debates are scheduled this month: the quarterly open debate on Israel/Palestine, where Uruguay’s foreign minister is expected to preside, and one on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, focused on the Secretary-General’s June 2015 report on the protection of civilians and the recommendations from the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations relevant to the protection of civilians. The Secretary-General is expected to brief at the Middle East meeting, and the Deputy Secretary-General at the protection of civilians open debate.

On Syria, the Council will have its regular monthly briefing on the chemical weapons track from Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo tomorrow. The head of OCHA, Stephen O’Brien, will brief at the end of the month on the humanitarian track, while Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura is expected to brief on the political track in January. It is possible that there may be action in the Council towards authorising a ceasefire plan for Syria if one is agreed. Resolution 2254 requested the Secretary-General to provide options for ceasefire monitoring by mid-January 2016.

There are a number of African issues on this month’s programme of work. Besides following the volatile situation in Burundi, the Council will be watching closely events in the CAR after the recent presidential and legislative elections, and is expected to renew the 2127 CAR sanctions at the end of the month. Regular briefings, followed by consultations, are expected on:

Council members expect to be briefed by Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus ahead of the mission’s anticipated renewal before the end of January. Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide will also brief on the progress in talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

There will also be a “wrap-up” session at the end of the month, the first since August 2015 during Nigeria’s presidency.

Developments in Burundi, Libya and Yemen may require Council attention in January. Council members have been considering a possible visiting mission to Burundi but at press time it was still unclear if such a visiting mission would take place in January. In addition, the Council may need to react to recommendations it has requested from the Secretary-General for additional protection in and around Juba in South Sudan. Council members will also be closely watching the aftermath of the presidential and legislative elections in Haiti. The footnotes for the programme of work also include non-proliferation and Ukraine.