Press Conference by Security Council President on Programme of Work for October
The Security Council will focus on women, peacebuilding and security in October, alongside briefings on small arms and the Great Lakes region, its President for the month told a Headquarters press conference today.
Martin Kimani (Kenya) said the Council will hold two high-level events chaired by the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. The first of these, on 12 October, will explore the theme of diversity, State-building and sustainable peace, while the second, held via videoconference on 28 October, will spotlight cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, including the African Union.
Further, renewing solidarity between the United Nations and the African Union will be a particular focus, he emphasized, noting that this was inspired by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ call to be more strategic and ambitious in his report Our Common Agenda.
On 20 October, a debate will be held regarding the Great Lakes region, spotlighting and tackling the root causes and drivers of conflict, and the productive use of natural resources, he continued. The next day, 21 October, an open debate will focus on women, peace and security, paying particular attention to investing in women and peacekeeping, in consonance with Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). He expressed hope that discussions will touch upon mission transition settings and post-peace operations. Presidential statements will be the expected outcome for both these events, he said, adding that usual active negotiation will be engaged.
From 22 to 26 October, the Security Council will undertake a mission to Mali and Niger, marking its first field visits since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. In Mali, meetings will be held with stakeholders and leadership, as well as representatives of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). In Niger, the Council will meet the United Nations country team to assess the impact of the Libyan conflict and climate change on the security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel region. Quoting another Permanent Representative, he said: “We will attempt to touch reality.”
Turning to other activities scheduled for the month, he noted that consultations will be held on the implementation of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) mandate, as well as on a disengagement and observer force in Yemen. In addition, a briefing will be held on the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia.
Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, also addressed the press conference, touching on challenges experienced by the African continent in an increasingly inclement world in which the COVID-19 pandemic “garishly exposed” divisions and inequities. Noting that the scourge of insurgents, external interference and climate change made the Security Council’s work critical for maintaining international peace, she stressed that countries must work together to tackle transnational threats.
Kenya’s overarching goal in the Council is to forge strong partnerships, she emphasized, adding that the sovereignty of States must be respected without remaining indifferent to flagrant violations of human rights.
Mr. Kimani responded to numerous questions on the situation in Ethiopia, where seven United Nations staff members were declared personae non gratae and expected to be expelled, noting that it was a continuing matter of concern for both sides. A number of Council members had “the appetite to push and negotiate positive outcomes”. The safety of humanitarian workers must be safeguarded. As well, active depoliticization of the humanitarian space must be ensured in highly politically charged situations, he stressed.
Turning to a question on the situation in Libya, including its upcoming elections, he recalled the Council’s technical rollover of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) the previous day, adding that it was not reflective of a number of crucial issues, including keeping the Libyan people at the heart of the process, listening to regional neighbors and taking their issues into consideration.
Ms. Omamo, also answering correspondents on a variety of subjects, including on the question of Palestine, underlined her country’s support for a two-State solution and called for more active discussion on the process to facilitate a peaceful resolution.
Asked about Somalian refugee camps in Kenya, she said that, while people naturally seek refuge in neighbouring countries in times of conflict, such camps should not be a permanent feature. It is an egregious violation of humanitarian rights to force people to live in a state of limbo indefinitely, she emphasized. Such situations call for broad thinking and third-party solutions, ranging from integrating refugees to returning them to their homes without violating the principle of non-refoulement.
For the full programme of work, please see: http://www.un.org/securitycouncil/events/calendar.