The Security Council will address threats against women peacebuilders and explore ways to better protect civilians from conflict in urban settings, its President for January told a Headquarters press conference today.
Welcoming Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and United Arab Emirates, which just began their two-year terms as non-permanent members, Mona Juul (Norway) expressed her delegation’s determination to ensure progress on global peace and security in 2022. “We leave behind the quite troublesome 2021 […] and we need to remain optimistic,” she said.
On 18 January, the Council will hold a ministerial-level open debate under the theme “Protecting participation: addressing violence targeting women in peace and security processes”. The meeting will be chaired by Norway’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and a civil society representative are also expected to brief.
On 25 January, the Council will convene a high-level open debate on protection of civilians under the theme “Wars in cities: protection of civilians in urban settings”. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre will chair the meeting, which will hear briefings from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer and a civil society representative.
Ms. Juul said that the open debate on the Middle East — scheduled for 19 January — was elevated to the ministerial level and will be chaired by Norway’s Foreign Minister to draw greater attention to the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unilateral actions that undermine a two-State solution must be avoided, she stressed.
Norway also plans to organize a retreat on “preventive diplomacy and mediation”, with the participation of the Secretary-General, bringing together mediators, negotiators and other actors from the field. The event will also feature three sessions on specific conflict situations: Afghanistan, Colombia and the Sahel.
As the climate crisis affects conflicts around the world, the co-chairs on the topic, Norway and Kenya, will lead discussions on the link between climate and security throughout the month, she said.
The expected products for this month include a resolution on piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, she added.
In addition to country situations, such as those in Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, the 15-member organ is closely following developments in Ethiopia, Myanmar, Sudan and Ukraine, among others.
Norway deems transparency of the Council’s work important, she said, expressing her delegation’s resolve to interact with media, civil society and Member States. Civil society representatives are expected to speak in all open meetings, she added.
On the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the safety and security of all involved in the Council’s work is a priority, she said, adding, however, that meeting physically is critical to discharge the organ’s mandate.
Responding to questions, she said the Council noted that the 24 December 2021 elections in Libya did not take place. It was not a surprise because all the pieces needed to convene elections were not in place. But the organ will stay engaged so that elections will be held when the time is ripe. On the mandate renewal for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), she said the continued strong presence of the United Nations in Libya, including in Tripoli, is necessary to facilitate its political and humanitarian work.
Asked about the state of the world, she said it is “bleak”, but it’s important to forge unity in the Council and not to give up on solving conflicts through dialogue.
Asked if a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dead, she said: “Time is running out, but it’s not too late.” There is an urgency to make sure both sides refrain from unilateral actions. A Council visit to Gaza is a good idea but it will take agreement to materialize.
Asked about possible attacks on Ukraine by the Russian Federation, she said it’s too early to say how the Council would respond, but it is ready to deal with any situation and is following developments. Recalling Crimea’s case in 2014, she said the Council stood up and acted in a comprehensive way.
As for the cross-border humanitarian delivery mechanism in Syria, Norway believes that the mandate should be renewed for one year with no changes, she said.
On Sudan, she expressed concern about violence against peaceful demonstrators and pointed to the possibility of convening a meeting on the situation.