Security Council’s January Programme of Work
In January, new members—Bolivia, Ethiopia, Italy, Kazakhstan and Sweden—take their seats on the Security Council. Sweden also takes on the presidency of the Council this month. This afternoon, Council members agreed on the programme of work for the month.
Sweden has chosen to hold a ministerial level open debate on conflict prevention and sustaining peace, which will be chaired by its foreign minister, Margot Wallström. Incoming Secretary-General António Guterres will present his ideas for how he plans to approach the issue of prevention. A chair’s summary is the expected outcome.
Another highlight this month will be a meeting on the challenges in the Lake Chad Basin, including the humanitarian crisis, climate change and terrorism.
On Syria, the Council will have its regular monthly briefing on the chemical weapons track from High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Kim Won-soo tomorrow. Briefings are expected later in the month from OCHA head Stephen O’Brien on the humanitarian track, and from Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura on the political track. In addition, action may be taken this month on a draft resolution circulated by France and the UK in December that seeks to impose sanctions on the Syrian government for its use of chemical weapons against its own population.
Other Middle East issues this month include the quarterly debate on the Middle East where Special Coordinator Nikolai Mladenov is expected to brief. The15 January Paris Conference on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the two-state solution are likely areas of focus following the adoption of a resolution last month on the effect of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories on these issues.
African issues will continue to be a significant focus of the Council’s work this month. Following the failure to adopt a resolution imposing an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on South Sudan, members will continue to follow the situation there through a briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous on the Secretary-General’s 30-day assessment of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), including the deployment and future requirements of the Regional Protection Force (RPF), obstacles to setting up the force, and impediments to UNMISS in carrying out its mandate. Ladsous will also brief this month on the Secretary-General’s report on the UN/AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur. In addition, Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine), the chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, will provide the quarterly briefing on the Committee’s work, which is expected to focus on the final report of the Panel of Experts.
Members are following developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following the 31 December agreement among political parties that President Joseph Kabila would step down after elections at the end of 2017, and may adopt a presidential statement in support of the agreement in the coming days. Later in the month, there will be a briefing by the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC by Special Representative Maman Sidikou;
Other briefings, followed by consultations, are expected on:
• the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali by Ladsous;
• Somalia by Special Representative Michael Keating on the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia and a representative from the AU on the AU Mission in Somalia; and
• the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel by Special Representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas, where Gambia is expected to among the issues covered.
In January, the Council is expected to renew the sanctions regime imposed on the Central African Republic (CAR) and the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the CAR Sanctions Committee.
Council members expect to be briefed by Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar on the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus ahead of the mission’s anticipated renewal before the end of January.
Regarding South America, there will be a briefing on the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the mandate of the UN Mission in Colombia.
A discussion is anticipated on the implementation of resolution 2231, which endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme, with Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, a representative of the EU in its capacity as coordinator of the Joint Commission, the body responsible for overseeing the JCPOA’s implementation, and Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi (Italy), the incoming 2231 Council facilitator,
Members will be closely following developments in Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Western Sahara and Yemen over the month.