What's In Blue

Posted Mon 1 Apr 2019

Programme of Work for April 2019

Germany holds the Council presidency in April, as the March-April “joint presidencies” of France and Germany continue. In their press conference on 1 March, Ambassadors François Delattre (France) and Christoph Heusgen (Germany) outlined several priorities for March and April: to highlight the role of women in conflict situations, with a focus on their protection and their own empowerment in this regard; to strengthen international humanitarian law; to combat the financing of terrorism; and to support disarmament.

The month has gotten off to a busy start, with a briefing this afternoon on strengthening respect for international humanitarian law. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas presided. Briefings were provided by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, and Naz Modirzadeh, founding Director of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict. An Arria-formula meeting on protecting humanitarian and medical personnel, organised by France, was held earlier in the day.

A number of briefings have been planned on other thematic issues. Early in the month, the Council will hold a briefing under the agenda item non-proliferation, focused on supporting the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ahead of the 2020 review conference. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to chair the meeting. Briefings are anticipated from Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano and Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu. The Council may adopt an outcome during the meeting.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi will brief the Council this month. The briefing will take place under the agenda item “Briefing by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees”, which allows for a general briefing by the High Commissioner without tying it to a specific situation on the Council agenda. No outcome is anticipated.

Three open debates are scheduled this month: on women in peacekeeping; on sexual violence in conflict; and the quarterly open debate on the Middle East (Israel/Palestine). Ursula von der Leyen, German Federal Minister of Defence, is expected to chair the open debate on women in peacekeeping; Secretary-General António Guterres will be among the briefers.

It is anticipated that the open debate on conflict-related sexual violence will focus particularly on accountability and survivor-centred approaches. Germany’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, is expected to chair. Guterres and Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten are expected to participate, as are the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad. International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is also expected to participate, as well as a civil society representative. An outcome is possible.

The quarterly open debate on the Middle East (Israel/Palestine) will most likely include a briefing by Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov. There may also be a briefer from civil society.

The monthly meetings on the humanitarian situation, the political process, and the use of chemical weapons in Syria are anticipated.

Special Envoy Martin Griffiths is expected to brief the Council on the implementation of resolutions 2451 and 2452 in Yemen. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock and General Michael Lollesgaard, the chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) and head of the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), may also brief. Consultations are expected to follow the briefing.

Regarding African issues, several matters related to Sudan/South Sudan are on the programme of work this month. The Council is expected to decide by 15 April whether to extend the support of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM), established in 2011 to conduct monitoring and verification activities along the Sudan-South Sudan border, as set out in resolution 2438.  Later in the month, the Council is expected to receive a briefing on the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and on Sudan/South Sudan issues, followed by consultations.

The Security Council will be briefed on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), which is due to be submitted by 9 April, as requested in resolution 2429. Consultations are expected to follow the briefing.

Council members expect to hold consultations on Western Sahara and to renew the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) before it expires on 30 April. The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Köhler, is expected to brief on his latest activities, and Colin Stewart, the Special Representative for Western Sahara and head of MINURSO, is expected to brief on the Secretary-General’s MINURSO report, due in early April.

A debate on Haiti is also scheduled in April. It is expected to include briefings by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. A civil society briefer may also be included. The Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of MINUJUSTH ahead of its 15 April expiration.

The Council will receive a briefing this month on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. Consultations are expected to follow the briefing.

It is anticipated that the Council will renew the mandate of the 1718 (DPRK) Sanctions Committee Panel of Experts prior to its 24 April expiration.

There may also be an Arria-formula meeting during the month with the heads of the human rights components of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Ukraine and non-proliferation are in the footnotes of the programme of work. These and other issues could be raised during the month.

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