What's In Blue

Programme of Work for July 2020

Germany is the Security Council president in July. Briefing the press today, Ambassador Christoph Heusgen emphasised that a comprehensive approach to peace and security and the defence of the rules-based international order would be guiding themes (“the leitmotif”) of Germany’s presidency this month.

With the extraordinary and provisional measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic still in place, meetings are listed in videoconference (VTC) format on the programme of work. However, although the Security Council is expected to continue to work largely remotely, Germany appears keen to have some meetings in the Council chamber, if circumstances allow.

There are five open debates planned for July. During this period of remote meetings, open debates have been held as open videoconferences (VTCs), and statements by non-Council members have been submitted in writing.

A high-level open debate is planned for tomorrow on the “Maintenance of international peace and security: Implications of COVID-19”. Secretary-General António Guterres and ICRC President Peter Maurer are expected to brief. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will chair the meeting. Earlier today, the Council adopted a resolution on COVID-19 endorsing the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, following three months of negotiations.

Germany is also planning a high-level open debate on “UN peacekeeping operations: Peace operations and human rights”. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan David Shearer, and Senga Dismas Kitenge, the president of Groupe LOTUS, are the anticipated briefers. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Federal Minister of Defence, will chair the meeting.

There will be a ministerial-level open debate on the “Maintenance of international peace and security: Climate and security”. Council members have begun discussions on a climate-security product that could be voted on this month.

The Security Council is scheduled to hold its annual open debate on conflict-related sexual violence at ministerial level, focusing on accountability and the implementation of a survivor-centred approach. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, is expected to brief.  One or more civil society representatives may participate as well.

Among the Middle East issues on the programme this month is the quarterly open debate on the “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov is the anticipated briefer. A civil society representative may brief as well.

Open and closed VTCs on the political and humanitarian situations in Syria—as well as a closed VTC on the use of chemical weapons in the country—are anticipated. Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen (on political issues), Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock (on humanitarian issues), and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu (on the use of chemical weapons) are the scheduled briefers.  The meetings on the political and humanitarian situations in Syria may each include the participation of a civil society briefer as well.

The Council is also expected to vote on a draft resolution reauthorising the cross-border/cross-line aid delivery mechanism in Syria, prior to its expiration on 10 July.

The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), which expires on 15 July. Special Envoy Martin Griffiths may provide the monthly briefing on Yemen in an open VTC session, which is likely to be followed by a closed VTC session. Under-Secretary-General Lowcock is expected to brief on the humanitarian situation, and General Abhijit Guha, the head of UNMHA, may participate in the closed session.  A civil society representative may brief as well.

African issues currently on the programme of work this month include Libya, West Africa and the Sahel, and the Central African Republic. The Security Council is expected to hold an open VTC, followed by a closed VTC, on Libya. The Acting Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Stephanie Williams, and the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Deputy Permanent Representative Jürgen Schulz (Germany), are the anticipated briefers.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), will brief Council members in an open VTC to present the Secretary-General’s semi-annual report on West Africa and the Sahel.  A civil society representative is also expected to participate. A closed VTC is expected to follow.

This month, the Council is expected to renew the 2127 Central African Republic (CAR) sanctions regime and the mandate of the Panel of Experts supporting the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee.

Cyprus is the one European issue on the programme this month. The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) ahead of its 31 July expiry. Special Representative and head of mission Elizabeth Spehar is scheduled to brief on the latest UNFICYP report and recent developments in a closed VTC. UNFICYP Force Commander Cheryl Pearce may also participate in the meeting.

In July, the Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), Natalia Gherman, is expected to brief the Council in a closed VTC on the UNRCCA’s activities.

Security Council members are planning to hold an open VTC meeting, which will be followed by a closed VTC session, on Colombia. Special Representative and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu will brief on recent developments and the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the mission, published on 26 June. A civil society briefer is also expected to brief Council members.

Council members are currently negotiating a draft resolution on youth, peace and security, following up on the 27 April open VTC on this issue.

Members of the Council may also continue discussions on a draft resolution extending the arms embargo on Iran.

Arria-formula meetings are also anticipated this month on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and on Afghanistan.



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