Report of the Secretary-General on the progress made with regard to the stabilization and restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau (S/2016/720)

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I. Introduction

1. The present report, submitted pursuant to paragraph 19 of Security Council resolution 2267 (2016), is my second report on the progress made by Guinea-Bissau with regard to the stabilization and restoration of constitutional order in the country. It provides an update on relevant developments since my previous report of 12 August 2015 (S/2005/619) and includes recommendations on the continuation of the sanctions regime, pursuant to Council resolution 2267 (2016) and in line with paragraph 12 of Council resolution 2048 (2012).

2. In fulfilment of the above request from the Security Council, the Department of Political Affairs undertook an assessment, facilitated by the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS). Discussions were held with representatives of political parties in the National People’s Assembly, including the President of the African Party for the Independence for Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde (PAIGC), the Secretary-General of the Party for Social Renewal (PRS) and the President of Union for Change (UM), with representatives of the Permanent Mission of Guinea-Bissau to the United Nations and with representatives of Angola and Brazil (Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and Chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission). Discussions were also held with representatives of China, France, Nigeria, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Senegal, Spain, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Timor-Leste, the African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union, the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and civil society organizations (“Former Freedom Fighters” organization and the Women’s Political Platform).

II. Key findings

3. The tentative yet significant progress made in Guinea-Bissau following the 2014 elections, through the formation of a legitimate, inclusive and democratic Government, has largely been reversed. Three successive changes in Government and a prolonged period of political paralysis have resulted in the further weakening of State institutions over the last 12 months. The implementation of key priority reforms in the defence, security and judicial sectors has been suspended and the provision of basic services has been negatively affected. The uncertain political environment has reduced both donor and investor confidence.

4. The recommendations on the continuation of United Nations sanctions contained in my previous report (S/2005/619) remain valid and relevant to the deteriorating political situation in Guinea-Bissau. These recommendations include: the maintenance of the present sanctions regime to signal to the entire population that measures are applicable to all spoilers, regardless of their political or institutional affiliation, and that the Council remains ready to adjust the measures and designations as needed; the establishment of a panel of experts to support the Committee’s work; the establishment of clear benchmarks for lifting sanctions; and a review of the situation with respect to the 11 designated individuals to determine if they continue to meet the listing criteria.

5. There is broad consensus that sanctions have acted as a deterrent to the direct involvement of the security and defence forces in the deteriorating political situation the country has faced since August 2015. Stability within the military has also been promoted through capacity-building and education programmes, supported by the Chief of General Staff of the armed forces. However, the risk of an intervention by the military may increase if: the political crisis persists; reforms of relevant sectors are not implemented; and, in particular, the precarious budgetary situation prevents the payment of soldiers.