The Netherlands is the president of the Security Council in March.
It has chosen as its centrepiece an open debate on “Collective Action to Improve UN Peacekeeping Operations”, which will take place late in the month and is expected to be chaired by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte. Secretary-General António Guterres will brief. Other briefers may include Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, and Fatimata Touré, Director of the GREFFA (Groupe de Recherche d’Etude de Formation Femme Action), a Malian non-governmental organisation.
There will be two meetings connected to issues of scarcity of natural resources. The first is a briefing on the Lake Chad Basin, with a specific focus on the root causes of the Boko Haram crisis. The second is a briefing on Conflict and Hunger, which is a follow-up to last year’s August presidential statement (S/PRST/2017/14) and October meeting (S/PV.8069) on famine.
Several other African issues are on the programme this month. There will be a briefing, followed by consultations, on the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). The newly appointed Special Representative and head of MONUSCO, Leila Zerrougui, is expected to provide the briefing. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will participate in the consultations.
In addition, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock is expected to brief the Council on the humanitarian situation in the DRC in a separate meeting.
Late in the month, the Council is due to renew the mandate of MONUSCO, which expires on 31 March.
The Council will renew the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the authorisation of the Regional Protection Force (RPF), before their 15 March expiration.
The Security Council will be briefed on the 60-day report of the Secretary-General on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) by Joint Special Representative and head of UNAMID Jeremiah Mamabolo via VTC. Ambassador Joanna Wronecka (Poland), chair of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, is expected to provide the quarterly briefing to Council members on the Committee’s work. Consultations are expected to follow these briefings.
The Council expects to receive a briefing in consultations from the Chair of the 751/1907 Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan).
It will also renew the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), which expires on 31 March.
There will be briefings from the Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Ghassan Salamé, and Ambassador Olof Skoog (Sweden), the chair of the Libya Sanctions Committee. These briefings will be followed by consultations.
Council members are expected to meet in consultations to receive a briefing from the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy on Western Sahara, Horst Köhler, and Special Representative Colin Stewart, appointed to head the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) on 1 December 2017.
Middle East issues will be a major focus of the Council’s work in March. With regard to Syria, the regular briefings on the political and humanitarian situations are expected to be held. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will brief on political developments, and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock is expected to brief on the humanitarian situation. These briefings will be followed by consultations. Regarding chemical weapons in Syria, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu and Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Ahmet Üzümcü are expected to brief members in an informal interactive dialogue format. There will also be a briefing by an OCHA representative on the implementation of resolution 2401, which was adopted on 24 February and demanded a cessation of hostilities in Syria.
Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov is expected to provide the monthly briefing on the Middle East (Israel/Palestine) via VTC. Consultations will follow.
Acting UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel, and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita will update Council members in consultations on the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 1701 (Lebanon), which called for a cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006.
Keita will also brief members in consultations on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights.
At press time, Council members continue to negotiate a draft presidential statement on the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
Asian issues currently on the programme are Afghanistan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Council will hold its regular quarterly debate on Afghanistan during which a resolution extending the mandate of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is expected to be adopted. Briefers are expected to include Special Representative and head of UNAMA Tadamichi Yamamoto, Executive Director of the Organization for Policy Research and Developments Studies Mariam Safi, and Deputy Chairperson of the High Peace Council Habibi Sarabi. The meeting will be held on International Women’s Day (8 March) and is expected to therefore have a focus on women, peace and security issues in Afghanistan.
The Council plans to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee for another 13 months.
The annual briefing on the activities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will be held in March. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the current OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, will brief.
Non-proliferation, Ukraine and Guinea-Bissau are in the footnotes. Meetings on these and other issues could be scheduled during the month.