Security Council “Plan of Action” for February 2019
Equatorial Guinea is Council president this month. The “provisional programme of work” for the month was not adopted as planned today, due to disagreement over whether Kosovo should be on the programme. The frequency of reporting on the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has been a simmering issue in the Council. In this regard, the US in particular would prefer that this issue be discussed less frequently, while Russia wants to maintain the quarterly reporting cycle and would therefore prefer that the periodic meeting go ahead.
During today’s press conference kicking off his country’s Council presidency, Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba (Equatorial Guinea) announced that the members were unable to reach agreement on the programme of work for the month. Instead he referred to a “plan of action”, noting that consensus had yet to be achieved on the Kosovo meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, 7 February. Ambassador Ndong Mba said that Council delegations would continue to negotiate to find a way out of the impasse; however, if this is not possible, a procedural vote may take place on 7 February on whether to discuss Kosovo, following which the Council would be able to adopt its provisional programme of work for February. (In case of a procedural vote, nine affirmative votes would be needed in order to hold the meeting, as the veto does not apply to procedural matters.)
While it is uncommon for members not to reach consensus on the programme at the start of the month, this is the second such disagreement in the past five months. In September 2018, under the US presidency, Council members were initially unable to agree on the provisional programme of work for the month, given disagreement over whether to include Nicaragua on the programme. Instead an unofficial calendar of events was circulated. Following the meeting on Nicaragua on 5 September, the Council adopted the provisional programme of work.
While the programme of work has yet to be adopted, it appears that February will be a busy month for the Council. Equatorial Guinea will organise a high-level debate on “Mercenary activities as a source of insecurity and destabilization in Africa”, with the Central African sub-region as a focus. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea is expected to preside. UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, are scheduled to brief.
A debate on transnational organised crime at sea is also planned. Equatorial Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Simeón Oyono Esono Angue, is expected to chair. The Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, Florentina Adenike Ukonga, and the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, are expected to brief.
President Obiang will chair an open debate on the AU initiative “Silencing the Guns in Africa”. Guterres and Faki Mahamat are again expected to brief. Equatorial Guinea intends to present a draft resolution endorsing the AU initiative, to be adopted during the debate.
The other thematic issue on the programme this month is “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”. In this regard, Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT), and Michèle Coninsx, the Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), are expected to brief the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s strategic-level report on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh), followed by consultations.
The Council will undertake a visiting mission to Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau in February. A briefing on the visiting mission is scheduled shortly after the delegation returns.
Two adoptions are scheduled on African issues. The Council is expected to renew the mandates of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau, and the Panel of Experts assisting the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee.
Also with regard to Sudan, there will be a briefing on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), as requested in resolution 2429. Consultations are scheduled to follow the briefing.
A briefing, followed by consultations, is scheduled on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee. Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the Special Representative and head of (MINUSCA), will brief the Council on the Secretary-General’s upcoming MINUSCA report, while the chair of the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee Ambassador Léon Houadja Kacou Adom (Côte d’Ivoire) will brief on the committee’s work.
The situation in Burundi may also be discussed during the month. If so, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Michel Kafando, will most likely brief the Council in accordance with resolution 2303 of 29 July 2016, which requested the Secretary-General to report to the Council on Burundi every three months.
A number of issues related to the Middle East are on the agenda this month. The Council is likely to be briefed by Special Envoy Martin Griffiths on the implementation of resolutions 2451 and 2452 on Yemen. It is also expected to renew the mandate of the Yemen sanctions regime.
The Council will receive the monthly briefings on the humanitarian situation, the political process and the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The new UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir O. Pedersen, is expected to brief the Council for the first time.
The monthly Middle East (Israel/Palestine) briefing, with consultations to follow, will most likely be provided by Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov. The situation in Hebron is expected be discussed at the request of Kuwait under “any other business”.
There will also be a briefing, followed by consultations, on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The Special Representative and head of UNAMI, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, is expected to brief the Council on the latest Secretary-General’s report on UNAMI and recent developments in the Iraq, as well as on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives.
Consultations are anticipated late in the month on the work of the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee. Ambassador Christoph Heusgen (Germany), the chair of the committee, is expected to brief.
Members are also anticipating three Arria-formula meetings in February: on children and armed conflict, peacekeeping and women, peace and security.
The Council will continue to follow developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Venezuela closely during the month. These and other issues could be discussed by the Council during the month.