Joint Virtual Press Briefing by Security Council Presidents on Programmes of Work for June and July

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01-Jun-2020 01:01:13
Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of June, and Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of July, hold a press conference on the Council's programmes of work for June and July 2020.

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The Security Council will embrace a wide-ranging approach to security matters in June and July — tackling issues ranging from peacekeeping mandates to human rights to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic — as it continues its virtual work under the presidencies of France and Germany, said those countries’ permanent representatives during a video press conference today.

Nicolas de Rivière (France) and Christoph Heusgen (Germany), who will preside over the 15-member Council in June and July, respectively, outlined their priorities and took turns responding to questions posed virtually by members of the media. Mr. de Rivière said the two delegations worked together to define their presidencies and drive forward common issues of concern — part of a “European spring” that also included the presidencies of Belgium and Estonia earlier this year. Spotlighting the extraordinary circumstances in which the Council is operating amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the virus is impacting all the organ’s agenda items, even as it embarks on its typically busy month of June.

Noting that the Council will continue its remote working methods — as the necessary health conditions for returning to on-site meetings have not yet been met in New York — he pointed out that eight resolutions have already been successfully adopted under the new written procedure. However, multilingualism has been a concern as the Council was forced to work exclusively in English, and efforts are needed to ensure that other languages do not become “collateral damage” of the pandemic. As such, he said he will chair the Council’s deliberations in French throughout the month of June while also providing colleagues with English translations.

Turning to the programme of work for June, he said almost all the Council’s mandated peacekeeping missions in Africa — as well as a range of other issues — are slated for consideration. Among the June agenda items are a ministerial-level meeting on the situation in Mali and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), as well meetings on the Central African Republic, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and the Sahel region. Security and non-proliferation in the Middle East will form a second block of work, with meetings planned on Syria, Yemen and the Palestinian question, as well as a review of resolution 2231 (2015) and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

He said that, on 18 June, the Council will hear a briefing by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. On 23 June, it will hold a meeting on children in armed conflict, seeking to drive forward the implementation of resolution 1612 (2005), which established a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the use of child soldiers. In addition, members may opt to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations Charter with a possible ministerial-level meeting.

Christoph Heusgen (Germany), Council President for July, said the joint presidency is a symbol of unity intended to send a message to the rest of the Council. The European members have worked closely together during their presidencies in the first half of 2020 and share the common objectives of strengthening the Council and bolstering multilateralism. He pointed out that the beginning of July marks the start not only of Germany’s Council presidency, but also its term at the helm of the Council of the European Union.

While the programme of work for July is not yet finalized, he said the month will be used to present a comprehensive view of the Council’s work, tackling not only “hard” security and conflict but also its root causes and drivers. Among the topics likely to be considered are security and health, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; security and climate change; threats to human rights; women, peace and security, including sexual violence in conflict; and humanitarian matters. A range of civil society briefers, especially women, will be invited to attend.

With regard to the organ’s working methods and a potential return to the Council chamber, he said members are being led by conditions on the ground. “In-person diplomacy cannot be replaced by virtual meetings,” he said. However, the health situation in New York must be considered and all public health protocol must be strictly observed.

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