G5 Sahel Resolution to be Adopted
Tomorrow (8 December), the Security Council will vote on a resolution, drafted by France, which clarifies the ways in which the international community, including the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), is expected to provide support to the G5 Sahel joint force or FC-G5S. The FC-G5S is comprised of personnel from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
The Council welcomed the FC-G5S in resolution 2359 of 21 June. Since then, several Council members, spearheaded by France, have pressed to increase the reliability and sustainability of international support for the joint force, including through a visiting mission to Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso in October led by Ethiopia, France and Italy.
Even though the Secretary-General laid out several options to provide additional support through the UN (including mandating support packages or adjusting MINUSMA’s mandate) in a 16 October report (S/2017/869), the US and others preferred assisting the force bilaterally and warned against increasing the responsibilities of an already over-stretched mission.
The draft that will be voted upon tomorrow, which is largely a result of negotiations between France and the US, outlines the ways in which MINUSMA is expected to support the FC-G5S, describes how the UN will be reimbursed for its assistance to the force, and highlights efforts to coordinate international support. It seems that several Council members unsuccessfully advocated that the draft be under Chapter VII, echoing demands made by G5 Sahel members. The 16 October report of the Secretary-General recalled that “any mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter would not trigger per se funding through assessed contributions”.
The draft resolution requests the Secretary-General to conclude a technical agreement among the UN, the EU and the G5 Sahel states for the provision of operational and logistical support through MINUSMA to the joint force, including medical and casualty evacuation capabilities, access to life support consumables, and engineering support. This assistance is to be provided at the discretion of the Special Representative (head of MINUSMA), in consultation with the Force Commander. It is to be done without affecting the mission’s capacity to implement its mandate and strategic priorities, and is expected to be a temporary measure applying to G5 Sahel troops deployed on Malian territory. According to the draft, the UN is to be reimbursed for its support through an EU-coordinated financing mechanism established to channel international voluntary contributions to the FC-G5S.
An earlier draft had tasked the Secretary-General to support the establishment of a human rights and international law compliance framework for the Force. However, several Council members questioned whether such a framework could be imposed on a non-UN force. The draft in blue includes language regarding a compliance framework, but this is couched in general terms, exhorting G5 Sahel states to ensure the highest standards of compliance with international norms, and calling upon regional and international partners to support the establishment and implementation of this framework through voluntary contributions. The draft further notes that UN support provided to non-UN security forces is subject to strict compliance with the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
The draft requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the activities of the FC-G5S in five months and every six months thereafter. Among other issues, this will include information on progress in the implementation of the technical agreement, on international support granted to the FC-G5S, and on challenges encountered by the FC-G5S.
The draft expresses deep concern over the persistent delays in the full implementation of key provisions of Mali’s peace agreement. The Council thus renews its urgent call for the parties to take immediate and concrete action to deliver on the operationalisation of the interim administrations in northern Mali; the establishment of the Operational Coordination Mechanism (i.e. mixed patrols) in Kidal and Timbuktu; progress in the cantonment and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration processes; progress in the decentralisation process; and ensuring the participation of women. The draft also welcomes the recent appointment by the Comité de Suivi de l’Accord of the Carter Center as the Independent Observer tasked to oversee the implementation of the peace agreement.