What's In Blue

Posted Wed 13 Sep 2017

Colombia: Adoption of a Resolution

Tomorrow (14 September), the Security Council is set to adopt a resolution approving the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding the size, operational aspects and mandate of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. The draft was circulated by the penholder, the UK, on 11 September. Council members are united in support of the political process in Colombia, and there was widespread support for the draft, which passed through silence procedure this morning and is now in blue.

The Verification Mission, which was established on 10 July through resolution 2366, is expected to start its operations on 26 September. The 30 August report of the Secretary-General stated that the tasks of the mission would be related exclusively to verification, as opposed to the previous mission, which also had operational tasks. The mission is expected to verify the political, economic and social reintegration of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) members, as well as security guarantees, including for individuals participating in politics (the FARC-EP became a political party on 1 September) and the communities most affected by the conflict.

In order to verify implementation of these measures–which are in keeping with sections 3.2 and 3.4 of the November 2016 “Final Agreement for Ending the Conflict and Building a Stable and Lasting Peace” between the government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP)–the Secretary-General recommended the authorisation of the deployment of 120 unarmed, non-uniformed international observers, as well as an appropriate civilian component. Responding to the budgetary concerns of some Council members, the Verification Mission will be smaller overall than the current Mission, while maintaining a local and regional presence.

The two-step mandating process for the Verification Mission (with the establishment of the mission on 10 July, followed by the Secretary-General’s recommendations on its mandate) is consistent with the recommendations of the UN High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations regarding the prioritisation and sequencing of mandates. It is also consistent with what the Council did when it adopted resolution 2261 of 25 January 2016, which established the UN Mission in Colombia and requested the Secretary-General to present detailed recommendations regarding the size, operational aspects and mandate of the mission.

On 4 September, the Government of Colombia and the guerrilla Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) reached an agreement on a ceasefire that would start on 1 October and end on 12 January 2018. Since the agreement calls on the UN to assist with the verification of the commitments made by the parties, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Jean Arnault briefed Council members on 11 September (S/PV.8041) on the interactions he has had with the parties regarding the verification of the ceasefire. The Secretary-General is expected to make recommendations in this regard to the Council in the near future.

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