What's In Blue

Posted Mon 4 Jan 2021

Programme of Work for January 2021

Tunisia has the presidency of the Security Council in January. 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. Five new members—India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway—commenced their two-year terms (2021-2022) on 1 January.

As one of its signature events, Tunisia is holding an open videoconference (VTC) debate on the challenges faced by countries in fragile contexts, in particular on the African continent. Tunisian President Kais Saied will chair the meeting. UN Secretary-General António GuterresChair of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are the anticipated briefers.

Tunisia is also organising a VTC open debate on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, focusing on international cooperation in combating terrorism, to commemorate 20 years since the adoption of resolution 1373 in 2001. Tunisia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Othman Jerandi, is expected to chair the meeting. Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov and Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) Executive Director Michèle Coninsx are expected to brief.

Tunisia is expected to host two additional signature events. The first will be a briefing on cooperation between the Council and the League of Arab States (LAS). UN Secretary-General Guterres and LAS Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit are expected to brief.

The second will be a briefing on the implementation of resolution 2532, which demanded a cessation of hostilities in all situations on the Council’s agenda to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock are the anticipated briefers.

As is the norm, there will be a variety of meetings on the Middle East this month.  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 the scheduled briefer.

Political and humanitarian developments in Syria will be discussed in a joint briefing, which will be followed by consultations. Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen is the most likely briefer on political developments, while Under-Secretary-General Lowcock will brief on humanitarian issues.

The quarterly open debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” is scheduled for late in the month. Foreign Minister Jerandi is scheduled to chair the meeting. Tor Wennesland, the newly appointed Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, may provide the briefing.

The Security Council is expected to hold its monthly briefing in VTC format, followed by VTC consultations, on Yemen. Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock are the most likely briefers. General Abhijit Guha, who heads the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement, is expected to participate in consultations.

Several African issues are on the programme. There will be a VTC briefing, followed by VTC consultations, on the work of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS). Special Representative and head of UNOWAS Mohamed Ibn Chambas will brief.

The Council is expected to hold a VTC briefing, followed by VTC consultations, on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Special Representative and head of MINUSMA Mahamat Saleh Annadif is the anticipated briefer.

A briefing, followed by consultations, is planned on the UN Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL). A high-level Secretariat official is likely to brief, as is the incoming chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee. The Council may also adopt a resolution supporting the compliance of all national and international stakeholders with the 23 October 2020 ceasefire agreement between the parties to the Libyan conflict.

Cyprus is the one European issue currently on the programme. There will be a VTC meeting with troop-contributing countries to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). UNFICYP consultations featuring a briefing by Special Representative and head of UNFICYP Elizabeth Spehar are also anticipated. The Council is expected to renew the mandate of UNFICYP ahead of its 31 January expiry.

Regarding the Americas, Special Representative and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu is expected to provide a briefing on recent developments in Colombia and the Secretary-General’s latest 90-day report on the mission. Consultations are scheduled to follow.

Council members are scheduled to hold consultations on the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) in January. Special

Representative and head of UNRCCA Natalia Gherman is the anticipated briefer.

A wrap-up session is planned for the end of the month.