What's In Blue

Posted Fri 1 May 2020

Security Council Programme of Work for May

In May, Estonia has the presidency of the Security Council. In light of the Secretariat’s anticipated closure extending through May, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council is expected to continue using the provisional measures agreed on at the end of March and beginning of April.

In lieu of open debates, the Council will hold open video teleconferences (VTCs) on working methods and the protection of civilians. The briefers for the working methods meeting are still to be announced. Secretary-General António Guterres and ICRC President Peter Maurer are the anticipated briefers during the protection of civilians meeting.

Several Middle East meetings are scheduled. On Syria, open and closed video VTCs on the political and humanitarian situations are anticipated.  There will also be a meeting on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, although the format has yet to be determined.

A closed VTC briefing is expected on developments in Yemen. Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, a representative from OCHA, and the head of the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), General Abhijit Guha, are expected to participate in the meeting.

The Council is expected to hold two meetings on Lebanon in closed VTC format. The first meeting will be a briefing on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701, which called for a cessation of hostilities between the Shi’a militant group Hezbollah and Israel in 2006. The Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Ján Kubiš, and Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix are expected to brief the Council.

In the second meeting, the Council will receive the semi-annual briefing on the implementation of resolution 1559. Adopted in 2004, resolution 1559 called for the disarmament of all militias and the extension of government control over all Lebanese territory. Under‑Secretary‑General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo is expected to brief the Council.

An open VTC, followed by a closed VTC, is planned on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The Special Representative and head of UNAMI, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, is expected to brief on the most recent developments in the situation in Iraq and on the two latest Secretary-General’s reports, on UNAMI and on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives. Late in the month, the Council is scheduled to renew the mandate of UNAMI prior to its 31 May expiration.

The monthly meeting on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” will be held as an open VTC, followed by a closed VTC.  Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov is the likely briefer.

Several African issues are also on the programme this month. The Security Council is scheduled to hold open VTCs, followed by closed VTCs, on the work of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee. The Acting Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, Stephanie Williams, is the anticipated briefer on UNSMIL. The chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Jürgen Schulz, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany, will brief on the Committee’s work.  ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will deliver her semi-annual briefing on recent developments concerning cases in Libya in an open VTC.

There will be an open VTC, followed by a closed VTC, on the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). The Council is also planning to renew its authorisation of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which is due to expire on 31 May.

Sudan and South Sudan will be an important focus of the Council’s work this month. The Council is scheduled to renew the mandate of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA)—as well as the mission’s support for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM)—prior to the 15 May expiration of the mission and its support for this mechanism.

It expects to vote on a resolution to renew the South Sudan sanctions regime—including targeted sanctions and the arms embargo—and the Panel of Experts assisting the South Sudan Sanctions Committee before the end of the month.

The Council also plans to adopt a resolution establishing a follow-on presence to the UN/AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) late in the month.

European issues are on the programme this month. An open VTC on Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), in lieu of the semi-annual debate, will feature a briefing by the High Representative for BiH, Valentin Inzko, on the latest report of the Office of the High Representative (OHR).

The Council will hold its annual meeting on strengthening the partnership with the EU in maintaining international peace and security in an open VTC format. Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is the anticipated briefer.

Estonia plans to host a ministerial-level Arria-formula meeting on 8 May commemorating the 75th anniversary of WWII’s end in Europe and reflecting on the merits of the multilateral system. Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale University are the anticipated briefers.

There will also be an Arria-formula meeting on cyber-security on 22 May. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu; David Koh, the Chief Executive of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, and James Lewis, Senior Vice President and Director of the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, are the anticipated briefers.

The DPRK is the one Asian issue currently on the programme this month. The chair of the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Christoph Heusgen (Germany), is expected to brief Council members in a closed VTC on the 90-day report of the committee’s work.

Council members continue to negotiate a draft resolution on the COVID-19 pandemic that may be adopted the month.

Another matter that could be discussed this month is the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (FC-G5S), which Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger (G5 Sahel) decided to establish in February 2017 to combat terrorist and criminal groups in the region.

The Council is also expected to follow developments on Burundi, Myanmar, and Iran nonproliferation during the month and may hold VTC briefings on one or more of them, if needed.