posted on MON 10 AUG 2020
Security Council Members to Discuss Sudan (Darfur) under “Any Other Business”

Tomorrow (11 August) Security Council members will discuss the situation in Sudan (Darfur) under “other matters” (also known as “any other business”) at the request of the UK and Germany, the co-penholders on Darfur. A Secretariat official is expected to brief. The request to discuss the situation in Darfur comes after a series of violent incidents in that region in recent weeks.

On 25 July, more than 60 people were reportedly killed and another 60 injured when approximately 500 armed men attacked Masteri, a village in West Darfur. On 13 July, unidentified armed men attacked the Fata Bornu camp for internally displaced persons in Kutum, North Darfur, killing nine people and injuring 20. According to OCHA, at least seven violent events have been reported in West Darfur from 19 to 26 July, leaving “dozens of people dead or injured, several villages and houses burned down” and leading to “increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs”.

The UN/AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) announced on 28 July that it is “working closely with the relevant Sudanese authorities and communities to de-escalate tensions and prevent further escalation of violence”. While emphasising that the “primary responsibility of protecting civilians lies with the Government, particularly in areas where UNAMID has withdrawn in the context of its drawdown”, the mission has offered assistance to the government to fulfil this responsibility.

During a previous “any other business” discussion on 29 July, the UK and Germany seem to have requested that Council members meet in closed consultations to discuss the recent increase in violence in Darfur and assess how UNAMID could assist the government’s response. However, this failed to garner the requisite support among Council members to be included on the programme of work. Apparently, some Council members subsequently suggested organising an informal interactive dialogue (IID)—a closed, informal meeting format that allows for the participation of non-Council members—which would also allow the participation of Sudan. This too failed to obtain the necessary support.

Tomorrow’s meeting also comes as UNAMID has begun its transition to a new mission, the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS). On 4 June, the Security Council adopted two resolutions related to Sudan. Resolution 2525 extended the UNAMID mandate at its current troop and police ceiling, as outlined in resolution 2495, for two months from 31 October until 31 December 2020, while resolution 2524 established a follow-on mission, UNITAMS, for an initial period of 12 months. Although the two resolutions were adopted unanimously, negotiations at the time exposed several rifts on the Council regarding the UN’s work in Sudan, particularly with regard to the UNITAMS mandate.

Resolution 2524 establishes four strategic priorities for UNITAMS:

  • assist the political transition, progress towards democratic governance, in the protection and promotion of human rights, and sustainable peace;
  • support peace processes and implementation of future peace agreements;
  • assist peacebuilding, civilian protection and rule of law in Darfur and the Two Areas (that is, South Kordofan and Blue Nile); and
  • support the mobilisation of economic and development assistance and coordination of humanitarian assistance.

However, disagreements arose during the negotiations over references to monitoring and reporting on progress in the implementation of Sudan’s Constitutional Document, the provision of technical assistance in the areas of rule of law and security sector reform, and reporting on the human rights situation. There were also differences of view on the mission’s envisioned role in the protection of civilians. While a number of members believed that the new mission should have a mandate to protect civilians, others (Russia, China and the three African members among them) opposed the inclusion of such tasks in the mandate.

An important concern for the Council is that critical leadership positions for UNITAMS—necessary for the planning and launch of the mission and the reporting of its activities to the Council—have yet to be filled. Resolution 2524 requested the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Sudan and Head of Mission of UNITAMS, and a Deputy Special Representative to serve as UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator. According to the resolution, the Deputy Special Representative is expected to “swiftly initiate the planning for and establishment of UNITAMS, with a view to reaching full operational capacity as soon as possible” and to starting the delivery of the mission’s strategic objectives no later than 1 January 2021. The resolution further requested the Secretary-General to provide the Council “with a suggested structure and geographical deployment within 60 days of the adoption of this resolution”. It also requested the Secretary-General to report to the Council every 90 days on the implementation of the UNITAMS mandate and on clear and well-identified key benchmarks, to be provided to the Council in the first 90-day report, to track UNITAMS’ progress against its strategic objectives.

As the time of writing, the Secretary-General has not appointed a Special Representative, although there have been media reports that two potential candidates have been blocked from the post owing to objections from the host government and some Council members. Without a Special Representative in place to help determine the “structure and geographical deployment” of UNITAMS, the Secretary-General was unable to meet the 60-day deadline for submission of his report and has asked the Council for an additional 30 days. This means that the report should be received on 3 September and discussed later in September.

posted on WED 5 AUG 2020
Counter-Terrorism: Open Debate on the Linkages between Terrorism and Organised Crime

Tomorrow morning (6 August), the Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate titled “Addressing the Issue of Linkages between Terrorism and Organised Crime” under the agenda item “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts”. The... Read more »

posted on MON 3 AUG 2020
Security Council Programme of Work for August

Indonesia is the president of the Security Council in August. The Security Council is expected to continue to work remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, as reflected in the programme of work. It could decide to hold some meetings on UN... Read more »

posted on TUE 28 JUL 2020
Syria: Humanitarian Briefing via VTC

Tomorrow (29 July), Security Council members are scheduled to hold an open videoconference (VTC) meeting, followed by a closed VTC session, on Syria. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock is expected to brief on the humanitarian situation. The Council will... Read more »

posted on MON 27 JUL 2020
Central African Republic: Sanctions Regime Mandate Renewal

Tomorrow (28 July), the Security Council plans to hold in-person meetings in the ECOSOC chamber in order to, among other things, adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the Central Africa Republic (CAR) sanctions regime until 31 July 2021 and... Read more »

posted on MON 27 JUL 2020
UNFICYP Mandate Renewal

Tomorrow morning (28 July), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for another six months. The UK, the penholder on this issue, circulated the draft resolution to... Read more »

posted on MON 27 JUL 2020
Presidential Statement on West Africa and the Sahel

On Tuesday (28 July), the Security Council is expected to adopt a presidential statement on West Africa and the Sahel. Co-penholders Belgium and Niger circulated the draft statement about two weeks ago following Council members’ 9 July videoconference with Special... Read more »

posted on SUN 26 JUL 2020
Arria-formula Meeting on the Participation of Women in the Afghan Peace Process

Tomorrow (27 July) an Arria-formula meeting will be held via videoconference on “Women and the Afghan Peace Process: Ensuring Women’s Participation and Promoting their Rights”. It is being co-organised by Afghanistan, Germany, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. The First Lady... Read more »

posted on FRI 24 JUL 2020
Security Council Videoconference on Mali Socio-Political Crisis

On Monday afternoon (27 July), Security Council members will hold a closed videoconference (VTC) on the ongoing political and civil unrest in Mali. Special Representative and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) Mahamat Saleh Annadif is... Read more »

posted on THU 23 JUL 2020
Climate and Security: Ministerial-level Open Debate

Tomorrow morning (24 July) Security Council members will hold a ministerial-level open debate on “climate and security” in open videoconference format. A senior official from the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) is expected to brief. Colonel Mahamadou... Read more »

posted on WED 22 JUL 2020
Syria: Briefing on Political Developments

Tomorrow (23 July), Security Council members will convene for an open videoconference (VTC) meeting, followed by a closed VTC session, on Syria. Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen is expected to update members on political, socio-economic and security developments. The Council... Read more »

posted on TUE 21 JUL 2020
Informal Interactive Dialogue with the Peacebuilding Commission on Implications of COVID-19 in Conflict-affected Countries

Tomorrow (22 July), Security Council members will hold an informal interactive dialogue (IID) with representatives of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) on the impact of COVID-19 on conflict-affected countries. Louise Blais, chargé d’affaires of Canada, which chairs the PBC, and Oscar... Read more »

posted on MON 20 JUL 2020
Open VTC meeting on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” 

Tomorrow (21 July) Council members are expected to hold the quarterly open debate on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” in open videoconference (VTC) format. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov is expected to brief. Council members will also be briefed by two civil society representatives: Daniel Levy, president... Read more »

posted on THU 16 JUL 2020
Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Open Debate

Tomorrow morning (17 July), the Security Council will hold its annual open debate on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). The meeting, which will take place in open VTC format, is being organised by Germany in collaboration with the Dominican Republic. The... Read more »

posted on TUE 14 JUL 2020
Arria-Formula meeting on illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region

Tomorrow (15 July) Council members will participate in an Arria-formula meeting entitled “the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region: how to translate the ongoing positive regional momentum into new options for conflict prevention, management and reform”.... Read more »