posted on THU 9 AUG 2018 10:34 PM
UN Regional Office for Central Africa: Presidential Statement

Tomorrow (10 August), the Council is set to adopt a presidential statement on the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), welcoming the renewal of its mandate for another three years, from 1 September to 31 August 2021.

The backdrop for the adoption was the forthcoming expiration of UNOCA’s current three-year mandate on 31 August, based on an exchange of letters between the Secretary-General (S/2015/554) and the President of the Security Council (S/2015/555). The latest UNOCA report (S/2018/521), released on 1 June, recommended that UNOCA’s current three-year mandate be extended for another three-year period. Council members have routinely expressed their support for the work of UNOCA, including in statements made during the briefing by the Special Representative and head of UNOCA François Louncény Fall on 13 June (S/PV.8284).

During the negotiations, one permanent member questioned the utility and purpose of the office, however, and took the position that the UNOCA mandate should only be renewed for one year, after which the Council could review the matter again. This position was met with resistance from other Council members. A compromise was found whereby the mandate will be renewed for three years but, at the same time, the Secretary-General is requested to conduct a strategic review on the scope of UNOCA’s mandate and activities.

The review, which is to be completed by 1 August 2019, is to provide the Council with recommendations for areas of improvement, including with regard to the coherence of UN activities in countries under UNOCA’s mandate, and for new or refocused priorities. The presidential statement conveys the Council’s intention to consider these recommendations, including any proposed changes to the mandate, by 31 August 2019.

The presidential statement recalls the important work of UNOCA and notes that UNOCA’s priorities are to include:

• to perform good offices on behalf of the Secretary-General;
• to assist the countries of the sub-region in consolidating peace and resolving tensions resulting from the various elections that took place in the period from 2015-2018, and to assist countries facing institutional crises related to electoral processes;
• to work with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and its member states to lay the groundwork for the structural prevention of election-related violence;
• to enhance the capacities of the ECCAS secretariat in conflict prevention; early warning; women, peace and security; mediation and other areas, including through continuing to conduct joint assessments and visits with ECCAS; and
• to work closely with the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel to address transregional issues such as maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, conflict between farmers and herders, and combatting Boko Haram.

The presidential statement also touches upon several other issues relevant to the region such as the flow of small arms, transnational organised crime, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the adverse effects of climate change on the region. The presidential statement further addresses specific conflicts in the region. It expresses the Council’s concern at the grave security situation and related violations and abuses of human rights in parts of Central Africa, in particular the continuing terrorist activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin, the persistent violence perpetrated by armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR), and the ongoing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Disagreement arose among Council members on how the presidential statement should address the situation in Cameroon, a country not on the Council’s agenda. Since late 2016, there has been unrest in Cameroon’s anglophone regions, rooted in claims of long-standing political and economic discrimination by the francophone authorities against the minority anglophone population. Widespread protests against the government, numerous clashes with security forces, several protestor deaths, general strikes, arbitrary arrests, and blocking of access to the Internet have occurred.

During the Council’s meeting on 13 June, the US said that the situation in Cameroon demands the attention of both the Security Council and UNOCA, and that the “stakes in Cameroon are too high for this crisis to continue without being addressed”. During the negotiations, a couple of Council members felt that the text should include a paragraph dedicated to the situation. This received pushback from a few Council members, including two permanent members. Ultimately, while the agreed text does not include a separate paragraph on Cameroon, it refers to the Council’s deep concern over “the worrying recent increase in violence in the north-west and south-west regions of Cameroon”.

posted on THU 9 AUG 2018 7:46 PM
South Sudan Consultations

Tomorrow (10 August), Security Council members will hold consultations on South Sudan, focusing on the link between conflict and hunger as well as recent developments in the peace process. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock and Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Nicholas Haysom will brief Security Council members during the consultations.… Read more »

posted on TUE 7 AUG 2018 6:31 PM
West Africa and the Sahel Presidential Statement

The Security Council is ready to adopt a presidential statement on West Africa and the Sahel. Côte d’Ivoire, in cooperation with Sweden, shared the draft with Council members on 30 July. Members held one meeting on the text the following day, and subsequently continued to exchange comments and proposals. After one member broke silence on 6 August, the draft statement passed a new silence procedure this morning (7 August). The adoption is expected to be scheduled before the end of… Read more »

posted on TUE 7 AUG 2018 12:32 PM
Western Sahara Consultations

On 8 August, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy to Western Sahara, Horst Köhler, is expected to brief Security Council members in closed consultations. No Council product appears planned, with the exception of possible press elements.… Read more »

posted on WED 1 AUG 2018 4:43 PM
Security Council Programme of Work in August

The UK is the Security Council president in August.… Read more »

posted on FRI 27 JUL 2018 6:58 PM
Somalia: AMISOM Reauthorisation and Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee Briefing

On Monday (30 July), the Security Council is set to adopt a resolution reauthorising the deployment of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 May 2019. According to the resolution, the troop level will be reduced to 20,626 by 28 February 2019, and the mission will have a minimum of 1,040 police personnel.… Read more »

posted on THU 26 JUL 2018 4:47 PM
Syria: Briefing on Humanitarian Developments and the Situation of Children

Tomorrow (27 July), the Security Council will receive a briefing on Syria from Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba. The Swedish presidency conceived the idea of addressing this topic in the context of this month’s Syria humanitarian briefing to have a more concrete discussion on an issue that is often tackled by the Council thematically. The briefing follows the 9 July open debate on children and armed… Read more »

posted on WED 25 JUL 2018 8:08 PM
UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Mandate Renewal

Tomorrow morning (26 July), the Security Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six months. The draft resolution was initially circulated by the UK, the penholder, to other Council members last Friday (20 July) and the Council held its first round of negotiations this Monday (23 July). The second and final round of negotiations was held on Tuesday (24 July). The draft was put under silence last… Read more »

posted on WED 25 JUL 2018 6:29 PM
Colombia: Briefing and Consultations ahead of the Change of Government

Tomorrow (26 July), the Security Council will receive a briefing from Jean Arnault, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. The Vice President of Colombia, Óscar Naranjo, is also expected to speak. A press statement may be negotiated following the meeting.… Read more »

posted on MON 23 JUL 2018 8:13 PM
Middle East (Israel/Palestine) Open Debate

Tomorrow (24 July), the Security Council will hold its quarterly open debate on the Middle East. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov is expected to brief via video-teleconference.… Read more »