What's In Blue

Posted Tue 1 Dec 2020

Programme of Work for December 2020

South Africa is the president of the Security Council in December. Council members adopted the provisional programme of work earlier today. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, much of the Council’s work is expected to continue to take place virtually this month.

South Africa has planned three signature events during the month. Early in December, it plans to hold a ministerial-level debate in videoconference (VTC) format on “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Security Sector Governance and Reform”. South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, will preside over the meeting. AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smaїl Chergui is expected to brief, and several member states that are on the Council agenda and that have undertaken SSR processes—including Colombia, the CAR, the DRC, and Iraq—are expected to participate. A resolution is the proposed outcome.

Also early in the month, South Africa is organising a high-level VTC debate on cooperation between the UN and the AU peace and security architectures. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa (current AU Chairperson) is expected to chair the debate. UN Secretary-General António Guterres is expected to brief, and AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat may brief as well. A presidential statement is a possible outcome.

As its third signature event, South Africa has chosen to have a briefing on “the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law, focusing on strengthening the cooperation between the Security Council and the International Court of Justice”. The president of the ICJ, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, is expected to brief.

December will be a typically busy month in the Council regarding African issues. The Council is expected to renew counter-piracy measures off the coast of Somalia before they expire on 4 December.

The Council may also adopt a presidential statement during the month focused on the Council’s future engagement with Burundi.

Several meetings are planned on the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC. Council members plan to hold a VTC meeting with MONUSCO troop-contributing countries. Special Representative and head of MONUSCO Leila Zerrougui is expected to participate in the meeting.

Special Representative Zerrougui is also scheduled to provide a briefing for Council members on MONUSCO’s work.  Consultations are scheduled to follow.

In the second half of the month, the Council plans to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of MONUSCO, which is set to expire on 20 December.

Several Sudan-related activities are also anticipated in December. The Council is expected to receive a briefing, followed by consultations, from Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare on the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) and the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The briefing is expected to cover the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on both missions due in December, as well as the joint AU/UN special report on UNAMID, which members received on 13 November.

Council members will also receive the semi-annual briefing of the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, related to the Court’s work on Darfur, in VTC format.

The chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Sven Jürgenson (Estonia), is expected to provide the quarterly briefing on the committee’s work, also in VTC format.

South Sudan is also on the programme this month. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will brief on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on South Sudan, and Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy (Viet Nam), chair of the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee, will brief on South Sudan sanctions. Consultations are expected to follow the briefings. An outcome on sanctions is possible, as the Council is expected to review sanctions measures by 15 December and consider a possible adjustment of these measures, as outlined in resolution 2521.

François Louncény Fall, Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), is expected to brief the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s semi-annual report on UNOCA and the implementation of the UN’s regional strategy to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Consultations are scheduled to follow.

Several meetings on Middle Eastern issues are scheduled in December. On Iran, the Council is scheduled to receive the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 2231, which in 2015 endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme. The Council also expects reports from the Joint Commission, established by the parties to the JCPOA to oversee its implementation, and from the Council’s 2231 facilitator, Ambassador Philippe Kridelka (Belgium). Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, Kridelka, and a representative of the EU in its capacity as coordinator of the Joint Commission, are also expected to brief the Council.

It will be a busy month with regard to the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). The Council will hold a VTC meeting with UNDOF troop-contributing countries with the participation of Under-Secretary-General Lacroix. The Council is also expected to extend for six months the mandate of UNDOF, which expires on 31 December. Ahead of the mandate renewal, the Department of Peace Operations will brief Council members in VTC consultations on the Secretary-General’s latest 90-day report on UNDOF, due in December, and the most recent developments.

A VTC briefing by Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, the Special Adviser and head of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD), is anticipated on UNITAD’s work.

There will be a VTC briefing, followed by VTC consultations, on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu is expected to brief. Fernando Arias, the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), is a potential briefer as well.  A briefing, with consultations, covering the political and humanitarian situations in Syria is also scheduled and is expected to feature briefings by Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affair Mark Lowcock, respectively.

The Council is also expected to hold a briefing, followed by consultations, on Yemen. Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, and General Abhijit Guha, who heads the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), are expected to participate in the meeting.

The monthly meeting on the “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” will be held as a briefing followed by consultations.  Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov may brief.

Afghanistan is the one Asian issue currently on the programme. Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), is expected to brief on the latest Secretary-General’s report on the mission, due on 10 December. Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia) will provide a VTC briefing to the Council in his capacity as chair of the 1988 Afghanistan Sanctions Committee, and Shkula Zadran, Afghanistan’s Youth Representative to the UN, will brief as well. Consultations are expected to follow these briefings. Additionally, the Security Council will need to renew the mandate of the Monitoring Team assisting the 1988 Afghanistan Sanctions Committee before its 17 December expiry.

The outgoing chairs of subsidiary bodies are expected to provide a VTC briefing on their experiences. The six representatives of the five countries completing their two-year terms on the Council at the end of 2020 and their respective chairmanships are:

  • Ambassador Philippe Kridelka (Belgium)—the 751 Somalia Sanctions Committee, the Committee on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231 Concerning Iran, and the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict;
  • Ambassador José Singer Weisinger (Dominican Republic)—the 2374 Mali Sanctions Committee;
  • Ambassador Christoph Heusgen (Germany)—the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee;
  • Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Günter Sautter (Germany)—the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee;
  • Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia)—the 1267,1989 and 2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the 1540 Non-Proliferation Committee, and the 1988 Afghanistan Sanctions Committee; and
  • Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila (South Africa)—the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.

The semi-annual debate on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) will take place this month in VTC format. President of the IRMCT Carmel Agius and Prosecutor of the IRMCT Serge Brammertz are expected to brief.

Council members will also continue to follow closely the situations in Ethiopia, Western Sahara and Libya. Meetings on these and other issues could be held during the month depending on developments.

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