What's In Blue

Posted Mon 2 May 2016

Security Council’s May Programme of Work

May is looking to be a busy month for the Council under the Egyptian presidency. Tomorrow the Council will adopt a resolution on protection of civilians with a focus on health care in armed conflict during a briefing on this issue by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Peter Maurer, the President of the ICRC, and Joanne Liu, the President of Médecins Sans Frontiéres.

Egypt has planned two open debates: one on counter-terrorism and the development of alternative narratives, and the other with a focus on AU-UN peace and security cooperation, particularly in relation to the African peace and security architecture. Prior to the latter, Council members will hold their annual joint meeting with the AU Peace and Security Council, and are expected to issue a joint communiqué with the AU PSC.

It is likely that the Council will undertake a visiting mission to Somalia with possible stops in Nairobi and Cairo. Somalia will be a feature of the Council’s work this month with a briefing on the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia’s (UNSOM) activities from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNSOM, Michael Keating, and the renewal of the AU peacekeeping operation AMISOM.

Other African issues the Council will consider include:

  • Liberia, a briefing by the chair of the 1521 Liberia Sanctions Committee ahead of a review and possible termination of the sanctions regime later this month, prior to its expiry on 2 June;
  • Libya, the semi-annual briefing by the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and
  • Sudan/South Sudan, the quarterly consultations on Sudan/South Sudan issues with a briefing by Special Envoy Haile Menkerios, the renewal of UNISFA in Abyei, the renewal of the 2206 South Sudan sanctions and the quarterly briefing by the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee.

A briefing on the challenges to Sahel region, including climate change/desertification and terrorism has also been scheduled.

Council members will continue to monitor closely developments on the Syria chemical weapons, political and humanitarian tracks. Later this week, Acting High Representative Won-soo Kim will provide the monthly briefing on the monthly OPCW report as well as on the activities of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism. In addition, the Council may reach agreement on a draft resolution circulated by China and Russia in mid-April addressing the use of chemical weapons by non-state actors, focused on Syria, Iraq and Libya. At the end of the month, Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien will brief on humanitarian issues. A briefing from Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura for an update on the intra-Syrian proximity talks may also be scheduled.

Other Middle East issues that will be considered this month are:

  • Israel/Palestine, the regular monthly briefing by Special Coordinator Niklolay Mladenov;
  • Iraq, the quarterly briefing on UNAMI by Special Representative Jan Kubiš and
  • Lebanon, the semi-annual briefing by Special Envoy Terje R216d-Larsen on the report on the implementation of resolution 1559 on the disarmament of militias and the extension of government control over Lebanese territory.

There are several European issues on the programme of work this month. The Council will hold its regular briefing on the UN Mission in Kosovo by Special Representative Zahir Tanin, as well as its biannual debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with a briefing by High Representative for BiH, Valentin Inzko. There will also be an informal meeting between Council members and he members of the EU Peace and Security Committee.

There will be the semi-annual joint briefing by the chairs of the Council’s three counter-terrorism-related committees: the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee and the 1540 Non-Proliferation Committee.

The chair of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee will provide the quarterly briefing on the work of the Committee.

Additionally, Council members will attend a retreat with the Secretary-General, and an informal interactive dialogue with force commanders of several peace operations.
Finally, Egypt has chosen to have a public “wrap-up” session on the Council’s work in May.

The Council will also be closely following developments in Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Yemen during May. These situations are in the footnotes of the programme of work, together with non-proliferation and Ukraine, which are regular items, It seems that some Council members, including Angola, New Zealand, Russia, Uruguay and Venezuela, wanted to include Western Sahara in the footnotes, but faced strong opposition from France and Senegal. It seems that some members then suggested not having any footnotes,but the US was unable to agree to this. The compromise appears to have been to have “peacekeeping operations” rather than MINURSO in the footnotes.

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