What's In Blue

Posted Mon 3 Feb 2020

Programme of Work for February 2020

Belgium holds the presidency of the Security Council for February. It has decided to convene an open debate on “Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: Transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict situations” as one of the signature events of its presidency. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is expected to brief via VTC. She will be joined by Fr. Francisco de Roux, president for the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-repetition, and Yasmin Sooka, the executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South.

Belgium, the chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, will also hold a high-level briefing on “Integrating child protection into peace processes to resolve conflict and sustain peace”. Both the debate and the briefing will be presided over by the country’s foreign minister, Philippe Goffin. Belgian King Philippe and Queen Mathilde are expected to be in attendance, and King Philippe will make a statement. The Secretary-General António Guterres and AU Peace, Security Commissioner Smaїl Chergui, and Jo Becker, director of advocacy of Children’s Rights at Human Rights Watch, are also expected to brief. A presidential statement is the anticipated outcome.

There will be two other thematic briefings: on small arms and the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The expected briefers for the briefing on the Secretary-General’s sixth biennial report on small arms are Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, and Damien Spleeters, representing Conflict Armament Research, a civil society organisation investigating the diversion of weapons, ammunition and precursors in conflicts around the world. The anticipated briefers for the meeting on the Secretary-General’s tenth strategic-level report on the threat posed by ISIS are Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, and Michèle Coninsx, the Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate. A civil society representative, Mona Freij, an opposition activist, who was in Raqqa when it was captured by ISIS, is also expected to brief.

Two meetings on European organisations are expected. At the beginning of the month, there will be the annual briefing by the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a post held this year by Albanian Prime Minister and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Edi Rama. At the end of the month, there will be the annual meeting on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organisations in the European Union (EU), where the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, will brief for the first time in this role.

Several African issues are on the Council’s programme of work this month. The Council expects briefings, followed by consultations, on the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Somalia. It will hold consultations on the 751 Somalia Sanctions Committee with Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve of Belgium, chair of the 751 Somalia Sanctions Committee, briefing on his recent visit to the region.

The Council is also expected to adopt resolutions extending the mandates of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office (UNIOGBIS) in Guinea-Bissau; the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee as well as the measures related to the illicit export of crude oil from Libya; and the Panel of Experts assisting the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee.

The Middle East also features on the programme. The Council is expected to hold its monthly briefing on Yemen in consultations with Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and a representative of OCHA. General Abhijit Guha, the head of the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), is also likely to brief. An adoption of a resolution renewing financial and travel ban sanctions and the mandate of the Yemen Panel of Experts is also scheduled.

Besides the three regular meetings on Syria: briefings followed by consultations on the political and humanitarian situation and a meeting in consultations on chemical weapons, the Council expects to receive from the Secretary-General a report on the feasibility of using alternative modalities for the Al Yarubiyah border crossing, as requested by resolution 2504.

There will be the regular briefing and consultations on Israel/Palestine. In addition, members anticipate a meeting with Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, in response to the US’ Middle East peace plan, which was unveiled at the end of January as well as a briefing by Jared Kushner, senior advisor to President Trump the US on the peace plan.

The Council will receive its first briefing, followed by consultations, on the new political mission, the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). Special Representative Helen La Lime is expected to brief, and a civil society briefer may also participate.

Regarding Asia, A briefing in consultations on Myanmar is expected, which will, among other matters, address the 23 January International Court of Justice order indicating provisional measures in a case brought against Myanmar by The Gambia. A briefing in consultations is expected on the work of the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Sanctions Committee with Ambassador Christoph Heusgen of Germany briefing Council members on the committee’s 90-day report.

Council members will most likely follow closely developments in South Sudan, although no meetings were scheduled at press time. An Informal Interactive Dialogue on Burundi is also a possibility.