The Security Council in November

India will assume the rotating Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of November. The Indian Presidency has put open debates on combating piracy and the Security Council’s working methods on the agenda. Furthermore, there will be a continued focus on the crises in Syria and Mali.

The report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Mali requested in Resolution 2071 (2012), on the basis of which the Security Council will decide on further steps, is due to be submitted by 26 November. Following a coup in March, Mali finds itself in the midst of a severe crisis. Much of the northern part of the country is under the control of Islamist groups; there are reports of human rights violations and hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes.

Among other things, Resolution 2071 (2012) – which was adopted by the Security Council on 12 October – requests the UN Secretariat to provide military and security planners to support the joint planning by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union for the possible deployment of an international military force in response to a request by Mali’s transitional authorities. The Security Council will respond to this request after the Secretary-General has submitted his report.

Debates on piracy and working methods

Troops boarding a suspected pirate vessel

Troops boarding a suspected pirate vessel
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Troops boarding a suspected pirate vessel

Troops boarding a suspected pirate vessel

Troops boarding a suspected pirate vessel

In an open debate on 19 November, the Security Council is to look at the issue of piracy. The focus will be on various regions affected by this problem – such as the Horn of Africa or the Gulf of Guinea. A presidential statement on this issue is to be adopted.

The Indian Presidency has scheduled another open debate for 26 November. This debate will deal with the Security Council’s working methods. Alongside Germany, Japan and Brazil, India is a member of the G4 countries which are seeking Security Council reform. The question as to how the Security Council’s working methods can be improved is part of this broader debate. The Security Council last discussed this issue in November 2011 during the Portuguese Presidency.

The Security Council will also examine a host of regional issues.

Spotlight on the Balkan region

On 13 November, there will be a debate with Valentin Inzko, the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The High Representative’s task is to monitor the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement and peaceful and democratic development in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inzko is expected to present a report on developments in the country by 5 November, which will then serve as a basis for the debate. On 14 November, the UN mandate for the European Union’s EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina is scheduled to be extended.

On 27 November, Farid Zarif, the head of UNMIK, will brief the Security Council on the mission’s work. Traditionally, representatives of Serbia and Kosovo take part in this debate. UNMIK was established in June 1999 on the basis of Security Council Resolution 1244. This resolution authorized the UN Secretary-General to create a civilian transitional administration in Kosovo.

The Sudan and South Sudan

The Security Council has been carefully following developments in the Sudan and South Sudan for many months. Now that the two sides have signed a series of agreements on 27 September under pressure from the Security Council and the African Union, in which a host of issues still outstanding between the two sides were resolved, the focus has shifted to the implementation of these agreements. Moreover, agreement must be found on the remaining disputed points.

Consultations on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) are to take place on 28 November. UNMISS was initiated on 8 July 2011 under Resolution 1996 (2011). Its core task is to support the government in peace building. UNMISS is also helping to ensure security, establish the rule of law and strengthen the security and justice sectors.


Timor-Leste will be on the Security Council’s agenda on 12 November. This time, the focus will be on how the United Nations can place its relations with Timor-Leste on a new footing when the UNMIT mission withdraws at the end of 2012. Since Timor-Leste gained its independence from Indonesia in 1999, the United Nations has supported the country through various missions. UNMIT was established in 2006 under Security Council Resolution 1704 (2006) and extended several times in subsequent years. One of UNMIT’s main tasks was to help the government build functioning and stable institutions.

New members in the Security Council

There will also be briefings on the UN missions UNSMIL in Libya, MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and UNAMI in Iraq. The monthly briefing on the situation in the Middle East will take place on 27 November. Furthermore, both the sanctions regime for the Congo in accordance with Resolution 1533 (2004) and the mandate of the group of experts appointed by the Secretary-General must be extended by the end of November.

The newly elected non-permanent members of the Security Council will be able to take part in the Council’s closed sessions from 20 November. From January 2013, Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda will take their seats on the Security Council for two years as non-permanent members while Germany, Colombia, India, Portugal and South Africa will leave the Council.

The Security Council is the only body in the United Nations that can take decisions binding under international law. It bears primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. It is composed of ten non-permanent members and five permanent members (the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia).

Last updated 31.10.2012

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