What's In Blue

Posted Mon 1 Mar 2021

Programme of Work for March 2021

The US is the president of the Security Council in March. The Council adopted its provisional programme of work for the month earlier today. It appears that all meetings will be held virtually in March because of the COVID-19 virus.

As its signature event, the US has chosen to hold a high-level open debate on conflict and food security, with a focus on the situations in Ethiopia and Yemen. Secretary-General António Guterres is a possible briefer.

Several Middle Eastern issues are on the programme this month. The Council is scheduled to hold its monthly meetings on the chemical, political and humanitarian tracks in Syria. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu will provide a briefing, followed by closed consultations, on chemical weapons in Syria. There will be a briefing, followed by consultations, on the political track, featuring a briefing by Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Lowcock is likely to brief on the humanitarian situation in Syria; consultations are scheduled to follow.

Council members are scheduled to hold consultations to discuss the Secretary-General’s upcoming report on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights and recent developments related to UNDOF. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix is the anticipated briefer.

Consultations are also planned on the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701, due on 9 March. Adopted in 2006, resolution 1701 called for a cessation of hostilities between the Shi’a militant group Hezbollah and Israel. Briefings are expected from Under-Secretary-General Lacroix and Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon Najat Rochdi.

The monthly meeting on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” will include a briefing followed by consultations. Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland is expected to provide the briefing, which will include the quarterly report on the implementation of resolution 2334. Adopted in December 2016, resolution 2334 condemned Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as well as all acts of violence against civilians.

The monthly meeting on Yemen will consist of a briefing, followed by consultations. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock is expected to brief, and Special Envoy Martin Griffiths may brief as well. General Abhijit Guha, the head of the UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), may participate in consultations.

The Council will also address several African issues in March. The Council is due to renew the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) before its 15 March expiration. Prior to this, the Council will meet with UNMISS troop-contributing countries, and will also hold a briefing, followed by consultations, on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the mission.

There will be a briefing, followed by consultations, on the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS). The briefing will cover the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on UNITAMS, which includes information about the drawdown and withdrawal of the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) as an annex. Special Representative and head of UNITAMS Volker Perthes is the anticipated briefer. The chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Sven Jürgenson (Estonia), is expected to provide the quarterly briefing on the Committee’s work.

The Council is also expected to adopt a resolution reauthorising the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in the first half of March.

There will be briefings on the work of the UN Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) and the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee in March. Ján Kubiš, the Special Envoy to Libya and head of UNSMIL, and Ambassador T. S. Tirumurti (India), the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, are the anticipated briefers.

The Council will hold a briefing, followed by consultations, on the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) late in the month.

Regarding Asia, the Security Council is scheduled to hold its quarterly debate on Afghanistan. Deborah Lyons, the Special Representative 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 15 March.

The Council is also scheduled to extend the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1718 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee in March.

The one European issue on the programme this month is the annual briefing to the Council by the Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ann Linde, the new CiO for the OSCE, is expected to brief the Council on the organisation’s activities.

During the month, the chair of the 1540 Committee, Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez (Mexico), is scheduled to brief the Council on the work of the Committee, which deals with the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

A wrap-up session covering the month’s developments in the Council is currently planned for 31 March.

The Security Council will continue to follow closely developments in Myanmar, Ethiopia and Haiti.  Meetings on these and other issues could be scheduled during the month.