Press Conference by Security Council President on Programme of Work for March

The Security Council is beginning a new month “at a time of immense global turbulence”, its President for March told a Headquarters press conference today, while outlining a programme of work that leaves space for additional meetings on the evolving situation in Ukraine, as needed.

Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates) described the 15-member Council’s agreed programme for March, which includes three signature events, as well as meetings on many situations on the Council’s regular agenda, ranging from Libya and Somalia to Yemen, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Sessions will also be held on the question of Palestine and non-proliferation in the context of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, among other topics.

She emphasized that, as Council President, her delegation has left room for the flexibility “that the current moment demands”, in anticipation of what will potentially be several additional meetings on the crisis in Ukraine.  “This is a place where diplomacy and dialogue need to happen,” she stressed.

Turning to the Council’s three scheduled signature events, she said that, on 8 March — which is International Women’s Day — it will hold a high-level open debate on women, peace and security, which will focus on women’s economic inclusion and partnerships as a critical tool for ending and recovering from conflicts.  A senior official from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and several civil society representatives are expected to participate.

A second signature event will be an Arria-formula meeting on climate security to be held on 9 March, she said, spotlighting the most recent report released this week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Presiding over the meeting will be Sultan Ahmed al Jaber, Special Envoy for Climate Change and Minister for Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates.  She noted that, while the issue of climate has sometimes been a contentious one in the Council, it remains “too important to ignore”, adding that conversations among Council members should continue.

On 23 March, she said, members will hold a debate on cooperation between the Council and the League of Arab States, to be chaired by Khalifa Shaheen al Marar, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates.  Secretary-General António Guterres and the Secretary-General of the Arab League will provide briefings, she added, noting that a youth representative is also expected to speak.  A presidential statement is a likely outcome, she predicted.

Concerning procedural matters, the President highlighted efforts to make the Council’s work throughout the month transparent and accessible to the media and the public, while striking a balance between open and closed sessions.  Among other measures, the United Arab Emirates presidency will make available an updated calendar of all meetings — both open and closed — on its website, and the programme of work has been made available in Arabic for the first time, she pointed out.

Asked about the possible timing of a vote on the humanitarian draft resolution on Ukraine, recently submitted by France, she noted that the issue of Ukraine in all its facets is likely to remain on the Council’s agenda for some time.  Noting that her delegation’s presidency intends strictly to follow the Council’s rules of procedure, she said members currently appear to desire more time to examine that humanitarian text.  Experts from around the table are likely to meet to discuss it further in the coming days, she added.

Responding to a question about the possible concrete impacts of a draft resolution adopted by the Council on 28 February — which renewed an arms embargo on Yemen and for the first time designated the Ansar Allah group (Houthis) as a “terrorist organization” — she described that text as “ground‑breaking” and a first step towards cutting off all weapons transfers to the group.  The resolution sent a clear signal that the Council stands united against terrorist attacks, including the recent cross-border attacks committed by the Houthis in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Asked about a recent report by the United Nations Special Envoy on Myanmar indicating that several States are selling weapons to that country’s military junta, the delegation’s Deputy Permanent Representative replied that the Council is clearly concerned about the situation in Myanmar, as demonstrated by its February press statement.  Members stand united in support of de-escalation and in their support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the regional body currently leading diplomatic efforts on Myanmar.  Emphasizing the need to provide space for those efforts to bear fruit, she said any further position by the Council would require significant discussion among members.

To a question about the newly announced transitional Government in Libya and the prospects of two rival administrations facing off in that country, Deputy Permanent Representative Mohamed Issa Hamad Abu Shahab said the Council is prepared to do everything in its power to assist the United Nations-led peace process, on which its focus will remain.

For the full programme of work, please see: events/calendar.

For information media. Not an official record.