Press Conference: Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason (Ireland) and President of the Security Council in September 2021 on the programme of work for September

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01-Sep-2021 01:18:43
Press Conference by Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland and Security Council President, on the programme of work for September.

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The Security Council’s programme for September features a ministerial-level open debate on peacekeeping transitions and a briefing on the maintenance of international peace and security by The Elders, a non-governmental organization of distinguished public figures that promotes human rights and peace, its President for the month told a Headquarters press conference today.

Geraldine Byrne Nason (Ireland) said that Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, will chair the ministerial meeting on peacekeeping transitions on 8 September, with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Liberia’s former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and a civil society representative expected to brief the Council.

Noting that the meeting will explore the issue of sustaining peace when peacekeeping operations come to an end, she said Ireland will also negotiate a resolution to create a shared understanding of the issue.

An open debate on climate change and security will take place on 23 September, she continued, featuring briefings by the Secretary-General and a civil society representative. Climate change is both an existential issue and a peace and security question in places like the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Myanmar, she stressed.

Later, on 27 September, Ireland’s presidency will convene a briefing on disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The Council will hear presentations by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Chair of The Elders, and Lakhdar Brahimi, former United Nations Special Envoy and Elder Emeritus, on 7 September.

More broadly, she said Ireland’s presidency will focus on the women, peace and security agenda — the “golden thread” running through October and November, during which Kenya and Mexico will respectively assume Council Presidency.

On 9 September, the Council will debate the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), stressing that the situation remains uncertain in that country, and that the litmus test for the Taliban will be around how the group treats women and girls.

Responding to questions on the UNAMA mandate, which expires on 17 September, she said the important issues include humanitarian access, human rights and the full and equal participation of women. Regarding the adoption of resolution 2593 (2021) on 30 August by a vote of 13 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (see Press Release SC/14620), she expressed regret that the Council did not speak with one voice and that the core messages around humanitarian access and human rights could have been stronger, had there been a unanimous vote.

In negotiating the UNAMA mandate, Ireland’s presidency will listen to other Council members and Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries, taking stock of all views and not pre-empting the outcome. Underscoring the need to judge the Taliban by their actions, rather than their words, especially on the participation of women in a new Government, she said there is no sign that the Taliban are behaving differently than in the past. The group has not indicated its need for United Nations support.

Any discussion of sanctions is premature, she continued, as the impact of such measures on humanitarian and economic conditions must be carefully assessed. Talk of peacekeeping operations is also premature as this is a long-term issue. Ireland’s presidency is considering inviting an Afghan woman to brief the Council at some point during the month.

Asked about the role of the Security Council in addressing the situation in Tigray, Ethiopia, particularly in pushing for an immediate ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access and African Union-led dialogue, she said the 15-member organ must not turn away from the situation.

Taking a final question about the debate on climate change and security, she said Ireland’s presidency will not seek a resolution, but does intend to communicate a political message.
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