The Security Council in December
Looking into the UN Security Council
© picture alliance / dpa
Morocco has assumed the rotating Security Council Presidency this month. Germany, after a two-year term in a non-permanent seat, will be leaving the Council along with four other non-permanent members at the end of the year. December will see various trouble stops in Africa on the agenda, particularly developments in Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo).
Spotlight on Africa
On 5 December, the Security Council will be examining UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon’s report on overcoming the crisis in Mali. The report, which the Council requested in resolution 2071 (2012), is intended to provide it with a basis on which to decide whether and how to respond to a joint request from Mali, ECOWAS and the African Union for authorization and support of deployment of an international military force.
Refugees from Mali in a camp in Burkina Faso, July 2012
© picture alliance / Helmut Fohringer / APA
At their summit meeting on 11 November, the ECOWAS heads of state and government agreed to provide a force of around 3300 soldiers to help Mali reestablish its territorial integrity. The country has been in severe crisis since the coup that took place in March. Islamist groups have taken control of large areas in the north of the country. Its neighbours and Western countries fear the region could become a safe haven for terrorists.
The Security Council will discuss the broader region around Mali, the Sahel, on 10 December, presumably under the chairmanship of the Moroccan Foreign Minister. The United Nations is currently framing a strategy for the Sahel, which it intends to have finalized by the beginning of 2013. The debate will include reports from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and, it is expected, from Romano Prodi, his Special Envoy for the Sahel. It is planned that regional organizations such as the European Union will also have representatives there.
The situation in DR Congo
The DR Congo remains a trouble spot on the African continent and will as such be on the Security Council’s agenda once again in December. International concern for security and stability in the DR Congo has been growing as M23, a rebel group, has advanced into the east of the country since mid-November. Tens of thousands are estimated to have fled their homes as a result of the latest violence. The United Nations puts the number of displaced people in the country at over 2.4 million.
UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
© picture alliance / dpa
In its resolution 2076 (2012) of 20 November, the Security Council strongly condemned the violence and demanded that the rebels immediately withdraw and lay down their arms.
The United Nations has its largest and most expensive peace mission in the DR Congo. Called MONUSCO, it is manned by over 17,000 soldiers. In view of the latest developments, the Security Council will also be looking at how the MONUSCO troops can be deployed more effectively to stabilize the situation and fulfil their mission of protecting the civilian population.
The regular debate on UNAMA, the Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, will take place on 19 December. UNAMA’s mandate currently includes assisting the Afghan Government in assuming more and more responsibility for the country’s security and development.
Germany has been the lead coordinator on Afghanistan since assuming a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in January 2011. This role meant Germany liaised on all issues pertaining to Afghanistan.
Debates on peacekeeping and peacebuilding
The Security Council will also use December to discuss more fundamental issues of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. A briefing followed by a consultation on UN peacekeeping operations is planned for 12 December. Concentrating primarily on inter-mission cooperation, the briefing will be headed by Hervé Ladsous, the UN’s Head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Finally, the Moroccan Presidency has scheduled an open debate on peacebuilding for 20 December. The discussion will be based on a report from the UN Secretary-General.
Germany held the Presidency of the UN Security Council in July 2011 and September 2012
© Photothek / Grabowsky
Germany’s term at an end
On 7 December, the five Security Council member whose term is at an end will report on their work and experience of the last two years. Germany is one of those which have held non-permanent seats since 1 January 2011 and will be leaving on 31 December – along with Colombia, India, Portugal and South Africa. During its term, Germany has chaired the Al Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee and the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
The new non-permanent members of the Security Council are Argentina, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg and Rwanda. After sitting in on the Council’s closed sessions since 20 November, they will assume their seats on 1 January 2013. The Security Council is the only body in the United Nations which can take decisions that are binding under international law. It is composed of five permanent members – the United States, China, Russia, France and the UK – as well as ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the UN General Assembly.
Last updated 04.12.2012