What's In Blue

Posted Mon 3 Aug 2020

Security Council Programme of Work for August

Indonesia is the president of the Security Council in August. The Security Council is expected to continue to work remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, as reflected in the programme of work. It could decide to hold some meetings on UN premises, however.

Indonesia plans to hold two high-level open debates in videoconference format (VTC) on thematic issues as signature events of its presidency. The first will be a meeting on: “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: Addressing the issue of linkages between terrorism and organized crime”. Retno L. P. Marsudi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, is expected to chair the meeting. Under-Secretary-General Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), and the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Under-Secretary-General Ghada Waly, are expected to brief.

The second open debate in VTC format will focus on: “Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: Pandemics and the challenges of sustaining peace”.  Foreign Minister Marsudi is again expected to chair the meeting. Potential briefers include: Secretary-General António Guterres; former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, representing The Elders, the non-governmental organization of public figures founded by Nelson Mandela and working to promote peace and human rights; and Sarah Cliffe, Director of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation.

There will also be an open VTC this month on the Secretary-General’s 11th strategic-level report on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da’esh). Under-Secretary-General Voronkov of UNOCT, and Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx, the Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), are expected to brief.

Several Middle East issues are on the programme this month. Council members will hold a closed VTC meeting with troop-contributing countries from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).  They will also convene virtually in a closed VTC to hear a briefing on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701; the expected briefers are Ján Kubiš, Special Coordinator for Lebanon, and Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix. The Council is expected to renew the mandate of UNIFIL before its 31 August expiry.

The monthly briefing on Yemen will be held in open VTC format, followed by a closed VTC session. Likely briefers include Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and a representative from OCHA. General Abhijit Guha, who heads the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), may participate in the closed VTC.

There will also be the monthly meetings on the chemical weapons, political and humanitarian tracks in Syria. Thomas Markram of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs will brief in a closed VTC on the Syria chemical weapons track. Special Envoy Geir Pedersen will brief on the political situation in Syria in an open VTC format; a closed VTC will follow his briefing. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock will brief on the humanitarian situation in the country in an open VTC; his briefing is expected to be followed by a closed VTC.

The monthly meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, will feature a briefing by Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov in an open VTC. A closed VTC is expected to follow.

There will also be an open VTC, followed by a closed VTC, on Iraq. Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, is the anticipated briefer on the most recent developments 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.

Several African issues are also on the programme. An open VTC, followed by a closed VTC, is expected on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). Special Representative and head of UNIOGBIS Rosine Sori-Coulibaly is expected to brief. Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho of Brazil, the chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Guinea-Bissau configuration, may also brief.

The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), which expires on 31 August. Earlier in the month, the Council is due to receive a briefing in an open VTC from Special Representative and head of UNSOM James Swan. It is possible that AU Special Representative Francisco Madeira will brief as well.  A closed VTC is scheduled to follow the open session.

The Council is scheduled during the month to renew the Mali sanctions regime, which expires on 31 August, as well as the mandate of the Panel of Experts, which expires on 30 September.

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

Indonesia is expected to pursue a draft resolution during the month on the role of women in peacekeeping.

The Council may also discuss a possible resolution regarding the Joint Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme.

An Arria-formula meeting on cyber security and critical infrastructure is anticipated during the month.

A wrap-up session covering the Council’s work for August is scheduled for the last day of the month.