What's In Blue

Posted Fri 1 Apr 2016

The Security Council’s April Programme of Work

China assumes the Security Council presidency today for the month of April and plans to organise two open debates. The Secretary-General will brief at the open debate on terrorism’s threat to international peace and security. The second open debate will focus on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea in the context of peace consolidation in West Africa; Special Representative and head of UNOWAS Mohammed Ibn Chambas will brief.

In late March, France revived negotiations on a Council outcome on Burundi, circulating a draft resolution expressing the Council’s intention to strengthen the UN’s presence there through a police component. However, at press time, it remained unclear when the draft might be put to a vote.

It seems possible that early in the month Special Representative and head of UNSMIL Martin Kobler may update Council members on developments regarding the establishment of a government of national accord in Libya.

Council members will also be watching closely developments in Western Sahara. The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Christopher Ross and a representative of DPKO will brief Council members prior to the renewal of MINURSO, which is expected to be particularly contentious following the evacuation of dozens of mission staff in March at Morocco’s request.

Sudan/South Sudan issues will feature prominently on the Council’s programme of work in April. Council members are considering whether to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan to put pressure on the parties to comply with the August 2015 peace agreement. It is unclear if any of the longstanding divisions among Council members regarding a possible arms embargo can be overcome by the time the 2206 sanctions regime expires on 15 April. There will also be the regular meetings to discuss developments in relation to UNAMID in Darfur, UNMISS in South Sudan and UNISFA in Abyei; at press time it seemed that the head of DPKO, Hervé Ladsous, would brief on all three peace operations.

Other African issues the Council will consider in April are the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, and Somalia. Special Representative Parfait Onanga-Anyanga will brief on developments in the Central African Republic ahead of the renewal of MINUSCA’s mandate, which is likely to be extended only through July, to allow more time to adapt the mandate to the post-transition situation. Regarding, Côte d’Ivoire, the Council is likely to adopt resolutions on the drawdown of UNOCI and the termination of the sanctions regime. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations El Ghassim Wane will brief on developments in Côte d’Ivoire and regarding the mission, while Ambassador Elbio Rosselli (Uruguay), chair of the 1572 Sanctions Committee, will brief on the final report of the Committee’s Group of Experts. Ladsous will brief on Mali and the activities of MINUSMA. Special Representative and head of UNSOM Michael Keating will brief on Somalia, and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is expected to participate.

Turning to the Middle East, Council members will continue to monitor Syria, including the talks in Geneva, how the cessation of hostilities is holding and humanitarian access. They will receive their regular monthly briefings from Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura on the political track, and from Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien on humanitarian issues. Regarding chemical weapons, representatives from the Office for Disarmament Affairs will brief on the monthly OPCW report as well as on the activities of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism.

Other Middle East issues this month include a briefing by Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov ahead of the quarterly open debate on Israel/Palestine. On Yemen, Special Envoy Ismail Cheikh Ahmed will update on political developments and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang will brief on the humanitarian situation.

In April, the Council is expected to adopt a concurrent resolution along with the General Assembly on the review of the UN peacebuilding architecture.

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