Programme of Work for December 2021
Niger is the president of the Security Council in December. The Council adopted its provisional programme of work for the month earlier today (1 December).
As its signature event, Niger will convene an open debate on “Security in the context of climate change”, which is expected to focus on the relationship between climate change and terrorism. Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum is expected to chair the meeting. Secretary-General António Guterres and Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat are the anticipated briefers. Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, the Executive Director of the Lake Chad Basin Authority and Head of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), might brief as well.
Council members continue to negotiate a draft resolution on climate change and security spearheaded by Ireland and Niger that may be voted on this month. While most Council members support the draft, China, India and Russia have expressed strong reservations about it.
Niger (and others) have also committed to building on the “presidency trio” initiative on women, peace and security (WPS) begun by Ireland, Kenya and Mexico during their consecutive presidencies (September, October and November). In a recently released “Statement of Shared Commitments”, Niger, Norway, the UAE and Albania committed to making WPS “a top priority” during their respective December, January 2022, March 2022, and June 2022 presidencies.
December will be a typically busy month in the Council regarding African issues. On Somalia, the Council is scheduled to vote on two resolutions: one to renew counter-piracy measures off the coast of Somalia, which is due to expire on 4 December, and the other to reauthorise the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) ahead of its 31 December expiry.
There will be a briefing, followed by consultations, on the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and on Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sanctions. Special Representative and head of MONUSCO Bintou Keita is expected to brief on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the DRC. Ambassador Abdou Abarry (Niger) will brief in his capacity as chair of the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee. Council members are also expected to vote on a draft resolution renewing MONUSCO’s mandate ahead of its 20 December expiry.
Several Sudan-related activities are also anticipated in December. The Council will convene for a briefing, followed by consultations, on the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) and on the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee. Special Representative for Sudan and head of UNITAMS Volker Perthes is expected to brief on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on UNITAMS, which is due by 3 December, and Ambassador Sven Jürgenson (Estonia) is expected to provide the quarterly briefing on the Committee’s work.
Council members are also expected to renew the mandate of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), which is set to expire on 15 December. (Abyei is the disputed area straddling the Sudan-South Sudan border).
South Sudan is also on the programme this month. Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Nicholas Haysom is scheduled to brief on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on South Sudan, which members expect to receive by 7 December. Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy (Viet Nam), chair of the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee, is expected to brief on the work of the Committee. Consultations will follow the briefing.
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. Consultations are planned to follow.
Also in December, Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez (Mexico) will brief the Council in his capacity as chair of the Mali 2374 Sanctions Committee. This is the annual briefing by the chair on the work of the committee.
The Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) are expected to hold the 6th Joint Informal Seminar and the 15th Joint Annual Consultative Meeting on 16-17 December. The meeting was scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa this year. However, at the time of writing, consultations are still ongoing among members of the UN Security Council on the format and location of the meeting, given recent developments in Ethiopia. Council members appear to be contemplating convening the meeting in a PSC member state, in one of the “A3 plus one” countries (Kenya, Niger, Tunisia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), or as a virtual meeting.
Several meetings on Middle Eastern issues are scheduled in December. There will be the monthly meetings on the political, humanitarian and chemical weapons tracks in Syria. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu will brief on the chemical weapons file, while Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths are expected to brief on political and humanitarian issues, respectively.
The Council will hold a meeting with the troop-contributing countries of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), with the participation of Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Mohamed Khaled Khiari. Council members will also convene to extend UNDOF’s mandate for six months prior to its 31 December expiry. Ahead of the mandate renewal, Khiari is expected to brief Council members in consultations on the Secretary-General’s latest 90-day report on UNDOF, due on 1 December, and the most recent developments.
A briefing on the activities of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) by Special Adviser and head of UNITAD Christian Ritscher is anticipated.
Council members will also convene for consultations on Yemen. Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg and Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ramesh Rajasingham are expected to brief.
There will also be the monthly meeting on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question”. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland is expected to brief.
On Iran, the Council is due 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 the report from the Joint Commission, established by the parties to the JCPOA to oversee its implementation. Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo; Head of the EU Delegation Ambassador Olof Skoog; and Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason (Ireland), in her capacity as the Council’s 2231 facilitator, are expected to brief. The annual briefing of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, will also take place in December. The briefing will focus on the situation of refugees in several country-specific cases on the Council’s agenda.
In December, the Council will hold consultations on the implementation of resolutions 2532 and 2565, which demanded, respectively, a cessation of hostilities in all situations on the Council’s agenda to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and a humanitarian pause to facilitate the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in areas of armed conflict. Representatives from the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) may brief.
The Security Council is scheduled to hold its semi-annual debate on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), which was established in 2010 to carry out the remaining essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after their respective closures. The IRMCT’s president, Judge Carmel Agius, and its prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, are expected to brief during the debate and to meet with the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals prior to that.
The outgoing chairs of the Security Council’s subsidiary bodies will brief the Council in December to share their experiences in facilitating the work of those subsidiary bodies. The five representatives of the countries completing their two-year terms on the Council at the end of 2021 and their respective committees are:
- Ambassador Sven Jürgenson (Estonia)—the 1518 Iraq Sanctions Committee and the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee;
- Ambassador Abdou Abarry (Niger)—the 2127 Central African Republic (CAR) Sanctions Committee, the 1533 Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Sanctions Committee and the 1566 Working Group on Counter-Terrorism;
- Ambassador Tarek Ladeb (Tunisia)—the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), the 2048 Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations;
- Ambassador I. Rhonda King (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)—the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee and the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions; and
- Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy (Vietnam)—the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee, the Informal Working Work on International Tribunals, and the 1636 Lebanon Sanctions Committee.
The Council is also scheduled to receive its annual briefing from the chairs of its counter-terrorism committees:
- Ambassador Trine Heimerback (Norway), chair of the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee;
- Ambassador Tarek Ladeb (Tunisia), chair of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC); and
- Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez (Mexico), chair of the 1540 Committee.
In December, the Council is expected to adopt two resolutions on counter-terrorism. The first will renew the mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) prior to its 31 December expiry, and the second will update the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL and Al-Qaeda sanctions regime, including by renewing the mandates of the 1267/1988 Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team (Monitoring Team) and the Office of the Ombudsperson.