This afternoon, Kuwait and Sweden have put a draft resolution into blue that would establish a month-long cessation of hostilities in Syria. Two rounds of negotiations were held on the draft, as well as intense bilateral negotiations between the penholders and Russia. At press time, it did not seem acceptable to Russia in its current form, but it was uncertain when the vote would take place.
Kuwait will have the presidency in February and has chosen as its centrepiece a ministerial-level briefing on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter in the maintenance of international peace and security, with the Secretary-General as the main speaker. It is also planning to hold an open debate on working methods (Kuwait is the chair of the Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions).
For much of its existence, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)—which was created as an advisory body to the Council and the General Assembly—has been looked at cynically by some members of the Security Council, as not providing much-added value to the Council’s work. Council members, but also the UN general membership and many among the staff in the UN Secretariat, have viewed the PBC as something of a disappointment.
On Monday (20 November), the Security Council will be briefed by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Michel Kafando, and the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission Burundi configuration, Ambassador Jürg Lauber (Switzerland), on the situation in Burundi, followed by consultations. A representative from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is expected to participate in the consultations. Resolution 2303 of 29 July 2016 requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the situation in Burundi every three months.
This is Security Council Report’s (SCR) eighth research report dedicated to tracking the UN Security Council’s involvement with the issue of children and armed conflict. This report covers key developments during 2016 and through mid-October 2017. It pays particular attention to the role of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, with an account of its evolution since it was established in 2006, and highlights the activities of the Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.
The Central African Republic (CAR) is currently experiencing an increase in violence against civilians and a slide toward instability, while attempts to find a solution through a political process have stalled. Despite efforts to strengthen state authority outside Bangui, the state is not present in most of the country, and Central Africans do not trust their government to represent them or the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) to protect them.
Ethiopia has the presidency in September. A visiting mission to Addis Ababa is planned in early September for the 11th annual consultative meeting between members of the UN Security Council and members of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). Immediately after the visit there will be a briefing on the visiting mission. A briefing on the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the partnership between the UN and the AU by UN Special Representative to the AU Haile Menkerios is also expected in September.
On 3 July, the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee met to discuss the report of the chair, Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine), on his 14 to 18 May 2017 visit to Sudan (SC/12903). Yelchenko briefed Council members in consultations on the work of the committee on 24 July.
Children and Armed Conflict
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Expected Council Action
In March, Council members expect to receive briefings on the humanitarian and political situation in Syria as well as on the use and production of chemical weapons.
Key Recent Developments
One of the Security Council’s most important tasks—and one of the things it does least well—is to prevent conflict. In recent years, the Council, among other international actors, has struggled to prevent the outbreak and escalation of conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen, among other situations. Yet the Council does possess several tools to prevent conflict, which is one of its core responsibilities under the UN Charter.
Russia will have the presidency of the Council in October, when Council members will hold their first colour-coded straw poll for the position of the next Secretary-General, giving the first clear indication of which candidates could face a veto in a formal vote.
Russia has organised a debate on UN cooperation with regional and sub-regional organisations, in particular the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
There will be two high-level briefings during New Zealand’s September presidency: one on the Middle East, with a Syria focus, chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, and the other on counter-terrorism and aviation security, chaired by New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
Council members are expected to continue to hold straw polls to gauge the viability of candidates that have been nominated for the position of the next Secretary-General.
There will be two open debates during Malaysia’s August presidency. Malaysia, also the chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, has organised an open debate on the Secretary-General’s annual report on this thematic issue. Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman is expected to chair the second open debate focused on preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Council members will continue to hold straw polls to gauge the viability of candidates that have been nominated for the position of the next Secretary-General.
During Japan’s presidency of the Security Council in July, Council members will hold their first straw poll to gauge the viability of candidates that have been nominated for the position of the next Secretary-General. Several informal meetings with candidates are also expected.
Japan has organised two open debates during its July presidency: one on Security Council working methods and another at ministerial-level on post-conflict peacebuilding in Africa. There will be discussions on several other African issues this month:
During France’s presidency of the Security Council in June, there will be two open debates, one at ministerial-level on the issue of protection of civilians in the context of peace operations and another with a focus on women, peace and security, particularly on the Secretary-General’s annual report on conflict-related sexual violence.
Human rights feature prominently in the Charter of the United Nations. Its preamble says that the “Peoples of the United Nations” are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights. Promoting the respect for human rights is included among the purposes and principles of the organisation. Article 55 sees “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights” as integral to the “creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations”.