What's In Blue

August Programme of Work

This afternoon (1 August), the Security Council adopted its provisional programme of work during Malaysia’s presidency in August. There will be two open debates. Tomorrow, Malaysia, which is also the chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, has planned an open debate on the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict. Later in the month, there will be an open debate on preventing the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors, with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman chairing the debate.

The Council will also continue this month with straw polls to gauge the viability of candidates for the post of Secretary-General. The next round is expected to take place on 5 August, with another round possible later in the month.

Council members will be closely following developments in South Sudan. Following a rollover of the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) until 12 August, Council members will need to adopt a resolution further extending the mandate of UNMISS and modifying it to enable it to address the latest developments following last month’s outbreak of violence in Juba. Although not confirmed, a Council visit to South Sudan at some point in the month is still a possibility. This month, Council members will also receive the quarterly briefing in consultations on Sudan/South Sudan.

There are a number of other African issues for consideration. Guinea-Bissau will be discussed during a briefing by Special Representative of the Secretary-General Modibo Touré and Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Guinea-Bissau configuration, followed by consultations. There will be an update on the UN Mission in Liberia from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the mission, Farid Zarid.

Syria is another issue that is expected to be a focus this month. There will be the regular meetings on the chemical, humanitarian and political tracks, with briefings from Acting High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo, OCHA head Stephen O’Brien and Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura respectively. In addition, there may be meetings scheduled on the deteriorating situation in eastern Aleppo.

Other Middle East issues this month include the monthly meeting on Israel/Palestine and consultations on the UN Interim Force in Lebanon and its renewal. A briefing on Yemen is scheduled for the third week of August, but an earlier briefing by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General may be requested for next week following the Houthis and GPC unilateral announcement of a governing council on 28 July.

Other meetings include the quarterly briefing on Kosovo by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Mission in Kosovo, Zahir Tanin.

Besides the regular items such as non-proliferation and Ukraine, the footnotes of the programme of work reflect other issues which the Council will be following closely. Meetings may be scheduled on Burundi to follow-up the resolution adopted on 29 July authorising a police component there; on developments on the establishment of a government of national accord in Libya; on the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara for an update on progress towards full functionality; and on the recommendations by the Secretary-General on operational aspects for a special political mission to Colombia, which the Council expects by 19 August.

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