posted on Wed 1 Apr 2020 6:23 PM
“Informal Plan of VTC of the Security Council” for April 2020

The Dominican Republic is president of the Security Council in April.

Earlier today, Council members agreed an “Informal Plan of VTC” for the month. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on the Council’s working methods, members will continue to hold virtual meetings throughout the month. There will be open VTC sessions, which will have live feeds of the briefing portions of the meetings allowing for public access; members’ statements will not be broadcast live but will be compiled and circulated as a Security Council document. There will also be closed VTC meetings. These were already being used in the latter half of March. Members will make an effort to issue press elements following the closed sessions.

While no mandate renewals are scheduled this month, voting on resolutions that may be adopted will follow the written voting procedures agreed last month. (For more on this, please see our 27 March What’s in Blue story, New Security Council Working Methods in the Midst of COVID-19).

The Dominican Republic will hold two discretionary events during its presidency. One of them is an open VTC meeting on protecting civilians from conflict-induced hunger. Expected briefers are the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley; Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Qu Dongyu; and the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland. A presidential statement is a possible outcome.

The second event is an open VTC meeting on youth, peace and security late in the month. Secretary-General António Guterres may brief along with civil society representatives from youth-led organisations. A resolution is a possible outcome.

While not currently planned for the month, there may be a meeting to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on international peace and security. A Council product on this issue during the month is also a possibility. The impacts of COVID-19 are expected to be part of the discussion of several issues on the Council’s agenda in April.

A number of African issues are currently scheduled for discussion this month. There will be the quarterly briefing on the work of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in an open VTC format. This will be followed by a closed VTC.

A closed VTC meeting is planned on the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). Colin Stewart, the Special Representative for Western Sahara and head of MINURSO, is likely to brief.

There will be an open VTC on the Great Lakes region. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Huang Xia is expected to provide his biannual briefing to the Council on the implementation of the 2013 Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSC Framework) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region, and other recent developments in the region. A closed VTC is anticipated following the open session.

A discussion on the UN/AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) is scheduled this month as an open VTC, followed by a closed VTC.

An open VTC, followed by a closed VTC, is anticipated late in the month on Sudan/South Sudan and the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix is expected to brief.

Several Middle East issues are on the agenda. The meetings on the political and humanitarian tracks in Syria will both be held as open VTC sessions, followed by closed VTC meetings. There will also be a closed VTC session on chemical weapons in Syria. Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen is likely to brief on political developments, and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock will brief on humanitarian issues in Syria. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu is the scheduled briefer on chemical weapons issues in Syria.

A closed VTC has been scheduled on Yemen. Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and a representative from OCHA are likely to brief.

In lieu of the quarterly open debate on “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question”, there will be an open VTC on this issue. Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov is the anticipated briefer.

Special Representative and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia Carlos Ruiz Massieu is likely to brief members in an open VTC session on recent developments in Colombia and the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. A closed VTC is scheduled to follow.

In April, the Council is expected to hold this year’s first meeting on the situation in Kosovo in an open VTC session. The Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Zahir Tanin, is expected to brief on recent developments and the latest report by the Secretary-General.