posted on THU 21 NOV 2019
Syria Political Briefing

Tomorrow (22 November), Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen will brief on the political track in Syria. Sabah al-Hallak, a Syrian women’s rights activist, is also expected to brief. Members are expected to make statements following the briefings. Consultations are currently scheduled to follow the open session.

Pedersen is likely to discuss the launch in Geneva on 30 October of the Constitutional Committee, which consists of 150 participants, with 50 each from the government, the opposition, and civil society. He may reiterate that this is a Syrian owned and led process that has the potential to lead to a better future for the country’s people. He may further note that the Committee has agreed on the 45 participants who will make up the “Small Group”, the constitution drafting body, and inform the Council that this body has begun its work. On 8 November, Pedersen held a press conference in which he noted that Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, its state institutions, the rule of law, and terrorism, among other issues, were discussed by the Small Group during its first week of deliberations. Members may be interested in the next steps in the Committee’s work; in this respect, the Small Group is expected to reconvene on 25 November.

Council members agree that the formation of the Constitutional Committee is a positive development, although some members have clearly emphasised that this is only the first step in a broader political process that should lead to free and fair elections under UN supervision. These members further maintain that other measures need to take place to advance the political process, such as a nation-wide ceasefire, the release of detained and abducted individuals, and an environment free from fear and intimidation. A number of members have said that they will not finance reconstruction in Syria absent a legitimate political solution to the conflict; France and the UK reiterated this position at the 14 November Council briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

Some members may express concern that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad distanced his government from the Constitutional Committee in a 31 October television interview, stating that while the pro-government group of the constitutional committee “represents the viewpoint of the Syrian government…the Syrian government is not part of these negotiations nor of these discussions”. Members might be interested in Pedersen’s views on this issue.

There may also be discussion of the fragility of the security and humanitarian situation in northern Syria and the potential for the ongoing instability in the north to have a negative impact on the political process. In the north-east, OCHA reports that 74,000 people remain displaced following Turkey’s military offensive in October. In north-western Syria, recent weeks have seen an uptick in fighting. In this connection, in his 14 November briefing to the Council, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock reported that “an increase in airstrikes and ground-based strikes” there had “caused a high number of civilian casualties” and described the plight of civilians in areas controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham. Some members may refer to the spike in violence in north-western Syria as further evidence of the need for a permanent ceasefire. In this connection, there may be references to yesterday’s reports by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that 16 people were killed by a Syrian missile attack on an IDP camp in Kah and that six people died in a Russian aerial attack on Maraat al-Nu’man.

Tomorrow’s meeting is the last scheduled meeting in the Council on Syria this month. In the coming weeks, the Council will be negotiating a resolution to renew the authorisation for cross-border and cross-line humanitarian access in Syria.

posted on THU 21 NOV 2019
Cyprus Consultations

This afternoon (21 November) the Security Council will hold consultations on Cyprus. Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo is scheduled to brief on the latest developments and the Secretary-General’s most recent report on his good offices, published on... Read more »

posted on TUE 19 NOV 2019
Briefing on the Group of Five for the Sahel Joint Force

On 20 November, the Security Council will hold a briefing on the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (FC-G5S), which Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger (G5 Sahel) established in 2017 to combat terrorist and criminal... Read more »

posted on MON 18 NOV 2019
Reconciliation Open Debate

On Tuesday (19 November), the Security Council is expected to hold an open debate on: “Peacebuilding and sustaining peace: the role of reconciliation in the maintenance of international peace and security”. Lord Ahmad, the UK Minister of State for the... Read more »

posted on THU 14 NOV 2019
Somalia Sanctions Renewal

Tomorrow (15 November), the Security Council is set to adopt a resolution on the Somalia sanctions regime, renewing for one year the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somali security forces, the authorisation for maritime interdiction to enforce the... Read more »

posted on WED 13 NOV 2019
UN Interim Security Force for Abyei Mandate Renewal

Tomorrow (14 November), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) until 15 May 2020. An initial draft was circulated to Council members by the US, the... Read more »

posted on WED 13 NOV 2019
MINUSCA Mandate Renewal

On Friday (15 November), the Security Council is set to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), and the authorisation for French forces in the Central African Republic... Read more »

posted on WED 13 NOV 2019
Syria Humanitarian Briefing

Tomorrow (14 November), the Security Council will hold its monthly meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock is expected to brief the Council in the open chamber, while closed consultations are expected to follow.... Read more »

posted on TUE 12 NOV 2019
Consultations on the Independent Strategic Review of MONUSCO

On Wednesday (13 November), Council members are expected to hold consultations to discuss the independent strategic review of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). The meeting was requested by France, the penholder on... Read more »

posted on MON 11 NOV 2019
Arria-formula Meeting: The Challenges of Radicalisation in Prisons

Tomorrow (12 November) Security Council members will hold an open Arria-formula meeting focused on how to address the risk of terrorist radicalisation in prison and promote the rehabilitation of prisoners and their reintegration into society. It will be held in... Read more »

posted on WED 6 NOV 2019
Hitting the Ground Running: Annual Workshop for Incoming Council Members

The 17th annual workshop for incoming members of the UN Security Council, titled “Hitting the Ground Running”, will be held on 7 and 8 November on Long Island, New York. The workshop is convened by the government of Finland in... Read more »

posted on MON 4 NOV 2019
Syria Chemical Weapons: Private Meeting with the OPCW Director-General

Tomorrow (5 November), the Security Council will be briefed in a private meeting by the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Fernando Arias, on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Holding this session as... Read more »

posted on MON 4 NOV 2019
Guinea-Bissau: Security Council Presidential Statement

Today (4 November), the Security Council is expected to adopt a presidential statement supporting the response of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the unfolding political developments in Guinea-Bissau. On 28 October, President José Mário Vaz dismissed... Read more »

posted on FRI 1 NOV 2019
Horn of Africa: Briefing on UN-AU Joint Solidarity Mission with a focus on Women, Peace and Security

On Monday (4 November), the Security Council is expected to hear briefings from Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and Permanent Observer of the AU to the UN Fatima Kyari Mohammed on a 21-26 October joint UN-AU solidarity mission to the Horn... Read more »

posted on FRI 1 NOV 2019
Security Council Programme of Work for November

The UK is the president of the Security Council this month. It has decided to hold an open debate on reconciliation, which appears to be a follow-up to an open debate during its last presidency (August 2018), on mediation, where... Read more »