posted on Wed 7 Mar 2012 4:22 PM
Debate on the UN Mission in Haiti

Tomorrow morning (Thursday, 8 March) the Council is scheduled to hold a debate on the Secretary-General’s mid-term report (S/2012/128) on the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Mariano Fernández, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, is expected to brief. In addition to Council members, other states are expected to participate as well, in accordance with rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure. It is possible that some members may raise issues related to the Council’s 13 to 16 February visit to Haiti.

While a formal outcome to the meeting is not expected, the debate comes at an important time for MINUSTAH and for the Council’s consideration of the mission’s role and the situation in Haiti. The mission is in the process of drawing down the temporary increases in personnel put in place in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Some Council members appear to be interested in learning about the progress of this limited drawdown, as well as about the future role of the mission. There also appears to be concern among several members about the challenging political situation. The Secretary-General’s report highlighted the tensions between the legislative and executive branches and the recent resignation of the Prime Minister, Garry Conille.

Council members were scheduled to have consultations on Haiti yesterday morning (6 March). However, they were postponed because the adoption of a presidential statement on Sudan was added to the morning schedule and the DPA briefing on emerging issues took longer than anticipated. Apparently the consultations on Haiti are now likely to take place on 15 March, following consultations on the UN Mission in South Sudan.

It appears that there are some differences over the agenda for the Haiti consultations. Some members seem to want the discussion to primarily focus on the Council’s recent visit to Haiti. These members appear to prefer to discuss the larger issue of MINUSTAH and the situation in Haiti during tomorrow’s debate. Others appear to be viewing the consultations as the appropriate forum for a closed door frank conversation on MINUSTAH’s mandate and role, in addition to a discussion of the recent Council mission to Haiti. The extent of participation of UN Secretariat staff is also unclear at time writing.

This seems to be a period of active engagement for the Council on Haiti. In addition to last month’s visit to Haiti, the 28 February briefing by Ambassador Susan Rice (United States) on the trip and tomorrow’s debate, there was a meeting with troop and police contributing countries yesterday (6 March). During the meeting, Fernández spoke with Council members and troop and police contributing countries on security and other operational issues related to MINUSTAH. Apparently he also raised the delicate political situation in Haiti during the discussion. In addition, the Council is in the process of negotiating the draft report of the Council’s mission, which was prepared by the US.