The Security Council in March

Great Britain will take over the rotating Presidency of the Security Council in March. Attention will be focused above all on developments in the countries of North Africa and the Arab world.

The dramatic changes in the region have been closely scrutinized by the Security Council since early 2011. Great Britain has scheduled a debate on the issue for 12 March 2012, which is to centre on the opportunities and challenges faced by the states of the region. The debate will be chaired by British Foreign Secretary William Hague. The Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Tunisia, as well as Abdul Jalil, the Chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council, are expected to join the Security Council members for this session.

A vote on extending UNSMIL, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, will also be held on 12 March while Mr Jalil is in New York.

Support for Afghanistan

Ban Ki-moon with UNAMA head Jan Kubis

Ban Ki-moon with UNAMA head Jan Kubis
© UN Photo

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Ban Ki-moon with UNAMA head Jan Kubis

Ban Ki-moon with UNAMA head Jan Kubis

Ban Ki-moon with UNAMA head Jan Kubis

The mandate for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan UNAMA is also up for renewal in March. UNAMA’s mandate currently includes assisting the Afghan Government in assuming more and more responsibility for the country’s security and development.

The debate on UNAMA is scheduled for 20 March – and will be the first such debate attended by Jan Kubis since his appointment as UN Special Representative for Afghanistan. It is likely that the resolution on renewing the mandate will be put to the vote on 22 March.

Germany has been the lead coordinator on Afghanistan in the Security Council since the beginning of January 2011. This means that we are responsible for preparing and chairing the negotiations on renewing the mandate.

Also in the spotlight: Somalia and Haiti

Debates will also be held on Somalia and Haiti. The British Government would like to discuss the situation in Somalia with the Security Council members following the international London Conference on Somalia which it hosted in February. This session will be chaired by the British Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham.

The members of the Security Council travelled to Haiti in February to see for themselves how the work of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti MINUSTAH was going. They will now debate the conclusions to be drawn from this visit, as well as the challenges facing MINUSTAH and its role on the island.

Security Council working methods

The British Presidency is also planning a meeting on the working methods of the Security Council and ways of improving the same. This is an issue discussed regularly by the Security Council. The aim is to enable the body to work more efficiently and more transparently. In particular, members will address the question of whether the dates set for reports and mandate renewals could be spread more evenly, since they currently keep the Security Council particularly busy at two times of year – mid-year and at the end of the year.

The UN Security Council is composed of five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) and ten non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term. The presidency rotates monthly according to the alphabetical order of the English names of the countries currently serving on the Council.

Last updated 28.02.2012

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