Security Council’s Programme of Work for December
Spain holds the presidency for December. Earlier today (1 December), members adopted the programme of work for the month. There will be three high-level meetings. The Secretary-General will brief at a meeting chaired by Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfonso María Dastis, on the comprehensive review of the implementation of resolution 1540, which seeks to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors. The other high-level meeting is on international judicial cooperation on counter-terrorism, chaired by Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catalá, with briefings by representatives from the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate, Interpol and the Council of Europe. Another centrepiece of the December presidency will be an open debate on human trafficking in conflict situations, chaired by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The adoption of a resolution is the anticipated outcome from these three meetings.
Council members will continue to follow developments in South Sudan and are expected to renew the mandate of the UN mission in mid-December. At the end of November, a Council vote on a draft resolution that would impose an arms embargo on South Sudan and targeted sanctions on three key government and opposition figures was delayed, and it is unclear if negotiations will continue on the resolution this month.
Another situation that the Council will be watching closely is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There will be briefings on Monday by Special Representative Maman Sambo Sidikou and Assistant-Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour, followed by consultations. A draft presidential statement is being negotiated and may be adopted in the coming days.
Liberia will be another focus of the Council this month, with a briefing tomorrow by Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations El Ghassim Wane on the Secretary-General’s report on the assessment mission to Liberia. Briefings by the PBC Liberia configuration chair, Ambassador Olaf Skoog (Sweden), and a civil society representative are also possible. Members will be negotiating a resolution on UN Mission in Liberia to be adopted ahead of the mission’s expiry on 31December.
The Council will renew the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya, and receive an update on the 1970 sanctions regime from the Chair of the 1970 Committee, Ambassador Ramlan Ibrahim (Malaysia). Another anticipated sanctions briefing is the quarterly briefing by the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Rafael Ramírez Carreño (Venezuela). Darfur will be discussed during the semi-annual briefing of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on the court’s work on Sudan.
The Council will be briefed by Acting Special Representative François Louncény Fall on the activities of the UN Office in Central Africa and the regional strategy to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Regarding Middle East issues, Council members’ main focus will be on Syria There will be the regular briefings on the political and humanitarian tracks, by Special Envoy Stafan de Mistura and OCHA Director John Ging respectively. It is possible that two draft resolutions may be put to a vote in December, one calling for a truce in Aleppo and another to impose sanctions on the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons against its own population. The Council may also adopt a resolution renewing the authorisation for cross-border and cross-line humanitarian access in Syria this month before two of the humanitarian leads, New Zealand and Spain, rotate off the Council.
Other Middle East issues that will be considered include the Golan Heights, on which there will be consultations with DPKO head Hervé Ladsous ahead of the adoption of a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force, and the regular monthly briefing on the Middle East, with the participation of the Secretary-General and possibly Special Coordinator Nikolai Mladenov. It is possible that Council members will consider a draft resolution on the Middle East peace process this month.
There is one Asian issue currently on the programme of work: the quarterly debate on Afghanistan, with a briefing expected by Special Representative Tadamichi Yamamoto. A briefing on the human rights situation in the DPRK is expected to be requested.
A number of other issues will be discussed this month, including the semi-annual debate on international tribunals and the extension of the terms of ICTY judges and the ICTY prosecutor. A discussion on the implementation of resolution 2231, which endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme, with the Department of Political Affairs, the EU and the faciltator is anticipated. There will also be the annual briefing by outgoing subsidiary body chairs, reviewing developments within the relevant committee or working group during their term.
A resolution paying tribute to the outgoing Secretary-General will be adopted.
Throughout the month, members will be monitoring developments in Burundi and Yemen.
Finally, Uruguay is organising an Arria-formula meeting regarding the synergies between the Council resolutions on Women, Peace, and Security and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.