What's In Blue

Posted Fri 9 Sep 2016

Adoption of a Resolution on the UN Mission in Colombia

On Tuesday (13 September), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution approving the recommendations in an 18 August report of the Secretary-General on the size, operational aspects and mandate of the UN Mission in Colombia (S/2016/729). The draft was circulated by the UK on 7 September and Council members held one round of negotiations. After a silence procedure was broken today (9 September) by a permanent member, it was successfully put in blue this evening.

The draft in blue welcomes the Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Long Lasting Peace reached between the Government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) on 24 August, and commends the determination of the parties in reaching this historic agreement to end over 50 years of conflict. It also welcomes the Secretary-General’s report and approves its recommendations to deploy 450 unarmed observers and an appropriate civilian component in 40 widely dispersed locations: a national headquarters, eight regional headquarters, 23 transitional local zones for normalisation (TLZNs) and eight transitional local points for normalisation (TLPNs).

The draft makes specific reference to the issue of financing that remained outstanding at the time of the writing of the report. In it, the Secretary-General proposed that the UN and the government of Colombia split the cost of activating and operating the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM), exclusive of government-provided security costs. The MVM is the tripartite mechanism, which will monitor and verify implementation of the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities. The draft makes specific reference to paragraph 36 of the report, which included the cost-sharing recommendation, and authorises the Mission to share equally with the Government of Colombia the support required for the preparation and management of the facilities of the TLZNs and TLPNs. Regarding efforts to generate and deploy observers, the draft further recognises the need for expeditious deployment of the tripartite MVM.

It seems that Council members had expressed different opinions in the lead-up to the 26 August consultations on Colombia regarding the form of its response to the recommendations of the report. Even though some Council members were more inclined to respond through an exchange of letters, at least two permanent Council members expressed their desire to negotiate a second resolution as a matter of good practice and given the acceptance of this by the host country.

While the negotiations went smoothly, a permanent member initially broke silence asking that the draft differentiate between the observers who have already been deployed and the ones pledged. In the end, the draft welcomes contributions of unarmed observers already made by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States member states and other member states, and looks forward to further contributions.