What's In Blue

The Security Council’s March Programme of Work

Angola assumes the Security Council presidency today for the month of March. Several African issues will be addressed this month. Angola has planned a ministerial-level open debate on the Great Lakes region with a focus on natural resources as a driver of conflict and the wider relationship between development and security in the region. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Special Envoy to the region Said Djinnit will brief. Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for Somalia and Head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Ibrahima Fall may brief as well, although this is not yet confirmed. The foreign ministers of Burundi, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are expected to participate.

The ministerial-level meeting comes in a month where the Council will be giving considerable attention to the DRC. Special Representative Maman Sidikou is expected to brief on the Secretary-General’s upcoming report on the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), prior to the renewal of the mission’s mandate late in the month. Djinnit will brief on the report on the implementation of the DRC’s Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement, expected to be released on the same day as the MONUSCO report.

An open debate on the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution in Africa is slated for late in the month; the Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is a possible briefer, although this has yet to be confirmed. An Arria-formula meeting on food security in Africa is also expected.

In early March, Council members will undertake a visiting mission to Mali, Guinea-Bissau and the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, based in Dakar.

Other African issues on the March programme include a briefing from Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in Liberia Farid Zarif on the Secretary-General’s midterm report and other recent developments. Ambassador Olof Skoog (Sweden), chair of the Liberia Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, may also brief. On Libya, the Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya, with its head, Martin Kobler, briefing on recent political developments and the Secretary-General’s latest report. The Council is also likely to renew the mandate of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Panel of Experts and will receive a briefing from its chair, Ambassador Ramlan Ibrahim (Malaysia). Additionally, the Council is due to extend the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia before its 30 March expiration and renew the mandate of the 2206 South Sudan sanctions regime.

Turning to the Middle East, Council members will be following developments in Syria after the cessation of hostilities went into effect on 27 February and the announced resumption of political talks on 9 March if the truce holds. Council members will also have their regular Syria briefings on the political, humanitarian and chemical weapons tracks. While not confirmed yet, Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura may brief on the political track. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien will brief on humanitarian issues, and Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Won-soo Kim will brief on the chemical weapons track. Separately, the spillover effects of the conflict and the refugee crisis in Europe are expected to feature prominently during the Council’s meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in March.

Other Middle East issues this month include a briefing by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in consultations on the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, which is due on 21 March. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag and DPKO will brief Council members in consultations 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. The regular monthly briefing on Israel/Palestine will be held as usual with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov expected to brief. Assistant Secretary-General O’Brien will brief the Council on Yemen, followed by consultations.

The Council is expected to adopt a resolution tomorrow (2 March) that significantly strengthens sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in response to its 6 January nuclear test and subsequent 7 February satellite launch. The Council is also expected to adopt another DPRK resolution to renew the 1718 Panel of Experts.

Other issues on the March programme of work include the adoption of a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which expires on 17 March. It will also hold its quarterly debate on Afghanistan where Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMA, is expected to brief. On Haiti, the Secretary-General is due to submit his semi-annual report on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, and the Council is scheduled to hold a debate with a briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Sandra Honoré.

The Council is expected to adopt a resolution that will be identical to a General Assembly resolution on the review of the UN peacebuilding architecture. The co-facilitators of the review process appointed by the Council and the General Assembly, Angola and Australia, are likely to address the Council before the vote.

The Council will be following developments on the peace process in Colombia and members expect the Secretary-General to present recommendations for the political mission established by resolution 2261. Members will keep their focus on Burundi following a high-level AU delegation visit at the end of last month. In addition, the footnotes in the programme of work include non-proliferation and Ukraine.

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