Importance of Protecting Civilians during Armed Conflict Grows as Security Council Remains Active in Tackling Conflict-Related Crises Worldwide

7 January 2011

Importance of Protecting Civilians during Armed Conflict Grows as Security Council Remains Active in Tackling Conflict-Related Crises Worldwide

7 January 2011
Security Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

2010 Round-up

Importance of Protecting Civilians during Armed Conflict Grows as Security Council

Remains Active in Tackling Conflict-Related Crises Worldwide


Total Number of Public Meetings for Year Rises

As 15-Nation Organ Adopts 59 Resolutions, Issues 30 Presidential Statements

The Security Council remained actively seized of a wide range of conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere during 2010, but the protection of civilians in armed conflict, particularly women vulnerable to sexual violence, continued to grow in importance as part of the 15-nation organ’s responsibility to maintain international peace and security.

In total, the Council convened 182 public meetings, up slightly from the 171 held in 2009, with 79 of them concerning Africa.  The 15-member body adopted 59 resolutions and issued 30 presidential statements.  Once again it strove for consensus, with only six resolutions requiring a vote and none occasioning a veto by a permanent Council member.

Among major decisions taken during 2010 were the lifting of restrictions on Iraq, imposed nearly 20 years ago, in a high-level event presided over by the Vice-President Joseph Biden of the United States.  The Council also terminated long-standing sanctions imposed on Sierra Leone during its civil war.

In addition, as the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia made headway on their completion strategies, despite some delays, and as Austria’s tenure as Chair of the Committee on International Tribunals neared its end, the Council agreed on the framework for residual mechanisms to take up the courts’ remaining tasks, preserve their records and help foster the rule of law.

Leading up to the presidential election stand-off that gripped Côte d’Ivoire at the end of 2010 and into 2011, most of the Council’s 12 meetings on the West African country were devoted to overcoming obstacles to holding the long-delayed vote, a critical part of the peace accord agreed by rival parties.  Following the November presidential run-off election, the Council strongly backed the results, certified by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, as well as efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to resolve the situation.

No new missions were established this year, but, in recognition of progress in Burundi, as well as the need to safeguard its gains of past years, the Council created the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) to transition from the previous integrated office know as BINUB to a significantly scaled-down United Nations presence.

The Council twice reinforced the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) following the devastating 12 January earthquake, as the Mission recovered from the destruction of its headquarters and the greatest loss of staff from a single event in the history of peacekeeping, to play a major role in facilitating aid, besides carrying out its mandated security tasks.

Following three short extensions, the Council also decided to terminate the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) as a lack of progress in the peace process was described in briefings.  The mammoth United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was transformed from the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) into the “Organization Stabilizing Mission” (MONUSCO), in the context of reviews aimed at the operation’s reconfiguration, drawdown and eventual exit.

The Government of Chad requested the termination of the United Nations in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which the Council carried out by the end of the year.  The major concern in that situation was ensuring the security of civilians, for which the Mission was first deployed in 2007, because of the threats to hundreds of thousands of people displaced from Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region and other areas.  Over the year, the Council monitored the ability of the Governments of the Central African Republic and Chad to take over responsibility for humanitarian protection, urging donors to help them build capacity.

In many conflicts – most notably those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan and Somalia but also elsewhere — the continued suffering of civilians, particularly the effects of sexual violence, was a cause for deep concern, expressed in seven meetings under the agenda items “Women and Peace and Security”, “Children and Armed Conflict” and “Protection of Civilians”.  Margot Wallström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, stressed in an April meeting that far from being a “niche” issue, protecting civilians from sexual violence and other conflict-related mayhem was integral to the Council’s work.

Boosting the effectiveness of United Nations protection strategies became a major focus after the world was horrified by the mass rape of hundreds of villagers in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in late July and early August, while the prime responsibilities of States and, most importantly, perpetrators, in stopping the violence was also stressed.

On 26 October, more than 90 speakers — a record for a single Council meeting — including high-ranking Government officials, addressed the Council on the tenth anniversary of its adoption of resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security.  Ending impunity for rights abusers became a focus of Council actions calling for more stringent monitoring and the listing of groups that abused women and children, with the Council declaring its readiness to impose sanctions on persistent violators.

Boosting protection capabilities was a major topic during the 23 September Summit on strengthening the Council’s peace-maintenance activities.  Attended by nine Heads of State and Government, as well as six ministers, the meeting emphasized preventive diplomacy and the integration of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

The highest number of open meetings - a total of 14 — was devoted to the question of Palestine as the prospects of peace talks in the Middle East waxed and waned.  Two emergency sessions were held in the aftermath of the fatal denouement of the “ Gaza flotilla” incident.

In Africa, the focus remained on Sudan, with the Council holding 13 open meetings as the 9 January 2011 date of a referendum on the status of Southern Sudan approached and Darfur was wracked by mounting violence.  Another 11 meetings were devoted to Somalia, with discussions focusing on support for the still-besieged Transitional Federal Government, and as terror attacks increased and piracy continued off-shore, despite some political advances.

At the same time, nuclear proliferation remained a concern, as in past years, particularly in respect of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, with the Council tightening sanctions against the former.  Security-sector reform remained a priority in such post-conflict countries as Timor-Leste and Sierra Leone.

The Council condemned seven major terrorist attacks while continuing to monitor compliance with previous counter-terrorism resolutions through its subsidiary bodies.

Continuing its practice of undertaking missions to gather first-hand information on key situations, the Security Council visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo in mid-May, in addition to Sudan and Uganda in early October.  They examined preparations for the Southern Sudan referendum, the overall peace process, and the situation of displaced persons in Darfur.

The General Assembly elected the following non-permanent members to serve two-year terms starting on 1 January 2011:  Colombia; Germany; India; Portugal; and South Africa.  They replaced Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda, which concluded their terms on 31 December 2010.  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria remain on the 15-member body through the end of 2011.  China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States are permanent members.

Following are summaries of major actions taken by the Council in the past year:



Remaining seized of the situation in Burundi, the Council heard a briefing on 10 May by Charles Petrie, Executive Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), in which he expressed optimism about multiple upcoming democratic elections.  Burundi could become an “extraordinary example of political maturity”, he said, calling for international support as the country faced electoral processes amid socio-economic challenges.  (See Press Release SC/9921.)

On 9 December, however, Mr. Petrie told the Council that, despite progress, Burundi’s transition to stability was still fragile and reversible.  In the same meeting, Paul Seger ( Switzerland), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific configuration on Burundi, reviewed that body’s support for a range of peacebuilding activities carried out during the configuration’s fourth year.  (See Press Release SC/10106.)

The Council unanimously adopted resolution 1959 (2010) on 16 December, requesting the Secretary-General to establish the United Nations Office in Burundi (BNUB) as a significantly scaled-down presence for an initial period of 12 months, beginning on 1 January 2011.  (See Press Release SC/10120.)

It also welcomed his recommendation that BNUB should be headed by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General, assisted by a Deputy Special Representative who would also serve as United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, as well as Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Underscoring the importance of a smooth transition from BINUB to BNUB, the Council also underlined the importance of establishing a fully integrated office with effective coordination of strategy and programmes among the Organization’s various agencies, funds and programmes in the country.  It also underscoredthe importance of security-sector reform and urgedall international partners, together with BNUB, to continue supporting the Government’s efforts to professionalize and enhance the capacity of the national security services and the police, particularly in training on human rights and sexual and gender-based violence, and with a view to consolidating security-sector governance.

Chad and Central African Republic

In seven meetings, the Council focused on the withdrawal of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) — established in 2007 to protect refugees fleeing Sudan’s western Darfur region, other displaced persons and humanitarian workers — following a request by the President of Chad, who said his Government was in a better position to provide security in light of agreements on border security reached with Sudan.  MINURCAT’s mandate was, therefore, extended for only two months on 12 March (see Press Release SC/9880) and again for two weeks on 12 May (see Press Release SC/9926) as consultations continued with the Chadian Government and other stakeholders.

On 25 May, the Council further extended the Mission’s mandate until 31 December 2010, calling on the Secretary-General to complete its withdrawal by that date.  Taking note of the commitment by the Government of Chad to take full responsibility for the security of civilians in eastern Chad, it decided that a priority for MINURCAT during the remainder of the year would be the continued organization and training of Chad’s Détachement intégré de sécurité for that purpose.  The Council also requested the formation of a joint high-level working group with the Government to make monthly assessments of civilian-protection issues on the ground.  (See Press Release SC/9935.)

In follow-up meetings — on 10 August, 20 October and 14 December (see Press Releases SC/10008, SC/10061, SC/10116, respectively) – the Council heard that the drawdown had been carried out in an orderly fashion as Chad’s representative outlined plans for the sustainability of the Détachement intégré de sécurité and called for international support.  The Central African Republic’s representatives also requested aid to strengthen his county’s Armed Forces so as to enable them to maintain security in its troubled north-eastern region.

Issuing a presidential statement on 20 December, the Council paid tribute to MINURCAT as it neared completion, and called on Member States to ensure that the necessary donor funds were made available for both the Détachement intégré de sécurité and the Armed Forces of the Central African Republic, “in support of wider security-sector reform”, in the latter case.  (See Press Release SC/10134.)

Central African Republic

Besides the Council’s consideration of MINURCAT, the Central African Republic featured in three meetings devoted to its peace process and the activities of the new United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), successor to the United Nations Peace-Building Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA).

In two meetings (see Press Releases SC/10104 and SC/10134), Sahle-Work Zede, Special Representative and Head of BINUCA, briefed on progress towards elections planned for 23 January 2011, as well as the challenges of reintegrating ex-combatants, tackling security-sector reform and ensuring security in the north-east.  International support was critical to avoid a return to violence, she stressed.

On 14 December, the Council issued a presidential statement by which it supported the extension of BINUCA’s mandate until 31 December 2011, taking into consideration the withdrawal of MINURCAT and condemning recent attacks by armed groups in the north-east.  It called on the Government to expedite its strategy for reintegrating former combatants, reviving security-sector reform and increasing respect for human rights.  (See Press Release SC/10111.)

C ôte d’Ivoire

Leading up to the election stand-off that gripped Côte d’Ivoire at the end of 2010, most of the 12 Council meetings held on the West African country were devoted to overcoming obstacles to holding the presidential poll, a crucial element of the Ouagadougou Agreement that ended the civil war which had divided the country in two in 2002 and which had been repeatedly delayed since 2005.  In three briefings (see Press Releases SC/9850 of 21 January, SC/9881 of 17 March and SC/9942 of 3 June), Y.J. Choi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), said the continuing failure to hold the election was heightening tensions and hampering constitutional, political, economic and social normalization.

Much discussion through September was devoted to strengthening UNOCI so it could better support the holding of elections and shore up the implementation of peace accords.  As the Council considered the Operation’s reconfiguration, it renewed UNOCI’s mandate for short periods — alongside its authorization of the French Licorne forces supporting it — first by four months, then one month and finally until the end of the year (see Press Releases SC/9856, SC/9938 and SC/9969, respectively).  As a result of those considerations, the Council authorized, on 29 September, a temporary increase of 500 personnel for UNOCI’s military and police contingents so they could contribute to security before, during and after the elections (see Press Release SC/10045).

Ahead of the run-off vote, on 24 November, the Council authorized a temporary redeployment from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to UNOCI of a maximum of three infantry companies and an aviation unit comprising two military utility helicopters, for a period of up to four weeks (see Press Release SC/10094).  At the end of the year, following the outbreak of the electoral crisis, the Council again renewed the Operation until 30 June 2011, maintaining the 500 additional personnel until 31 March and the redeployment of UNMIL troops until 31 January (see Press Release SC/10132).

Following the presidential elections, eventually held on 31 October with the run-off on 28 November, the Council issued press statements welcoming the “massive and peaceful participation” of voters in a “historic step towards the restoration of sustainable peace”.  It urged all candidates to accept the results, to be certified through established mechanisms (see Press Releases SC/10076 and SC/10100).  However, the Council was soon seized of the crisis resulting from the refusal by incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo to cede power to opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara, whose victory was certified by Special Representative Choi.  Briefing the Council by videoconference on 7 December, Mr. Choi described Mr. Ouattara’s victory as “irrefutable” by a clear margin and stressed the need to safeguard the election results (see Press Release SC/10102).

In its latest renewal of UNOCI’s mandate, on 20 December, the Council strongly condemned “attempts to usurp the will of the people” and urged all Ivorian stakeholders to respect the election outcome in view of Mr. Ouattara’s recognition by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union as the newly elected President (see Press Release SC/10132).  The Council also requested UNOCI to support security for the Government and key political stakeholders.  It reaffirmed its readiness to impose targeted sanctions against persons who threatened the peace process by seeking to undermine the outcome of the electoral process, whether by obstructing the work of UNOCI and other international actors or by committing serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Concerned about the persistence of human rights violations in Côte d’Ivoire, including sexual violence, the Council renewed its arms embargo and its ban on the country’s diamond trade, in addition to extending targeted sanctions restricting travel by individuals deemed to be threatening the peace process (see Press Release SC/10057).

Djibouti and Eritrea

On 20 July, B. Lynne Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, commended steps by the Governments of Eritrea and Djibouti to negotiate, with Qatar as mediator, a settlement of the border dispute that had erupted into conflict in March 2008.  He urged all States in the region, in addition to the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations to work together in tackling that and other regional conflicts (see Press Release SC/9987).  The Council welcomed Qatar’s mediation efforts in an 11 June press statement (see Press Release SC/9951).

Those developments followed a 19 May meeting in which President Ismail Guelleh of Djibouti told the Council that Eritrea had not complied with demands to withdraw its troops from positions they had occupied since the 2008 military action against Djibouti’s Ras Doumeira region, and had also trained infiltrators for sabotage in the neighbouring country (see Press Release SC/9930).

Many speakers in that meeting praised Djibouti for complying with Council resolutions, with many calling on Eritrea to follow through on its commitments and some emphasizing the importance of dialogue in resolving the dispute.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Over the course of eight meetings, the Council oversaw the transformation of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) into the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) — as part of the planning for an eventual drawdown — while further intensifying its focus on the protection of civilians, from sexual violence in particular, following the mass rape of some 242 civilians in the country’s volatile eastern region last August.

Briefing the Council in April (see Press Release SC/9905), Alan Doss, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MONUC, noted that President Joseph Kabila had presented a timetable for drawing down the Mission by June 2011, while also stressing the country’s need for assistance in a range of social and economic areas critical to stability, as well as the priority of protecting civilians, particularly in the east, where the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) remained active, among other armed groups.

According to a 19 May briefing (see Press Release SC/9931), a Security Council mission to the country from 13 to 15 May had discussed with Congolese authorities the means for attaining the common objective of stability and State sovereignty over all national territory, through a MONUC reconfigured in consultation with the Government.  On 28 May, the Council extended the mandate of MONUC until 30 June 2010, authorizing a withdrawal of 2,000 troops before that date, after which the Mission’s name would change to MONUSCO.  Its forces would be concentrated in the eastern provinces.  (See Press Release SC/9939.)

In a 7 September briefing to the Council on the mass rapes perpetrated in North Kivu Province between 20 July and 2 August, Atul Khare, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Affairs, noted the State’s primary responsibility to protect civilians but acknowledged shortcomings in the Mission’s protection strategy (see Press Release SC/10021).  Margot Wallström, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, stressed the importance of prosecuting the perpetrators, a priority echoed in a 17 September presidential statement, in which the Council urged the Government to take “swift and fair” action (see Press Release SC/10033).

Briefing the Council further on the protection of civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ms. Wallström informed in mid-October about the arrests of suspects in the mass rape, urging the body to increase the focus of the relevant sanctions committee to crimes of sexual violence (see Press Releases SC/10055 and SC/10058).  Roger Meece, the new Head of MONUSCO, pledged a major review of the Mission’s protection activities as part of the effort to make them more effective.  On 29 November, the Council renewed the arms embargo and related sanctions imposed on the Democratic Republic of the Congo for one year, calling on the national authorities to continue their fight against impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses, including sexual violence (see Press Release SC/10096).


On 16 February, the Council issued a presidential statement welcoming the appointment of Guinea’s new Transitional Government and urging all Guinean stakeholders to work together in steering the West African nation towards democratic elections by July 2010.  The statement came a month after leaders in Guinea signed a deal to end the political crisis sparked by the killing by Government forces of at least 150 unarmed protesters at a rally in September 2009.

In the statement, the Council further welcomed the 15 January Joint Ouagadougou Declaration — providing for the establishment of a National Unity Government — and the appointment of Jean-Marie Doré as Prime Minister.  It called on all stakeholders to implement the Joint Declaration in full, and to engage actively in the transition towards restoring the normal constitutional order through the holding of elections within six months.  In addition, the Council called on the international community to support the Guinean authorities, led by interim President Sékouba Konaté and Prime Minister Doré, “including with regard to comprehensive security- and justice-sector reform, upon request from the Guinean authorities”.  (See Press Release SC/9863.)


The Council remained deeply concerned about the stability of Guinea-Bissau as it held five meetings on the West African country following the events of 1 April, during which military elements had briefly detained the Prime Minister and invaded United Nations premises.  In one meeting before that event, on 5 March, Joseph Mutaboba, Head of the new United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), told the Council that relative stability and growing international attention — including that of the Peacebuilding Commission — offered the country an unprecedented window of opportunity, even after the 2009 assassinations of the President and other high-ranking officials (see Press Release SC/9874).

Following 1 April, the Council issued a press statement urging all parties to avoid acts of violence and to uphold constitutional order (see Press Release SC/9900).  On 15 July, Mr. Mutaboba said the events underlined the extreme fragility of the peacebuilding process, and cited such key challenges as institutional weakness, military insubordination to civilian leadership, critical development gaps, illicit drug trafficking and cross-border organized crime (see Press Release SC/9982).  In a presidential statement on 22 July, the Council expressed serious concern over those challenges and about threats to the constitutional order.  It called for the immediate release or prosecution of all those detained in the 1 April event, and for genuine security-sector reform.  (See Press Release SC/9991.)

In a 5 November meeting, Mr. Mutaboba described a road map drawn up by ECOWAS to address challenges in Guinea-Bissau, underscoring the importance of partnership with regional and international stakeholders in its implementation, as well as the need for timelines and benchmarks to measure progress (see Press Release SC/10078).  Extending the mandate of UNIOGBIS from 23 November until the end of 2011, the Council urged members of the Guinea-Bissau Armed Forces fully to respect the constitutional order and to participate fully in reforming the security sector, while urging the international community to cooperate in fighting illicit drug trafficking and organized crime in the country (see Press Release SC/10091).


Having experienced seven years of unbroken peace since the end of its civil conflict, Liberia had made “tremendous progress”, Ellen Margrethe Løj, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) told the Security Council on 8 September.  “However, these positive developments are tempered by the fragile peace that relies heavily on the presence of UNMIL military and police,” she added, calling on donors to be generous and to keep their expectations realistic.  (See Press Release SC/10022.)

In that light, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1938 (2010), extending UNMIL’s mandate for one year, until 30 September 2011.  It encouraged the Mission and the Government of Liberia to continue planning the transition to UNMIL’s completion Mission, requesting the Secretary-General to provide updates and monitor the benchmarks for measuring progress.  In particular, it requested the Secretary-General and the Government to draw up a plan for transferring responsibility for internal security to national authorities, and authorized UNMIL to perform facilitative functions related to the upcoming elections.  (See Press Release SC/10028.)

Unanimously adopting resolution 1961 (2010) on 17 December, the Council renewed for 12 months the arms embargo imposed on Liberia, as well as the travel ban on persons deemed threatening to the peace process.  Among other actions, the Council urged the Government to implement the recommendations of the 2009 review team on the Kimberly Process, which certifies the exploitation of diamonds in a manner benefiting the country and not fuelling conflict.  (See Press Release SC/10128.)

Sierra Leone

Briefing the Council on 22 March, Michael von der Schulenberg, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Political Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), warned that the magnitude and political significance of youth unemployment in the country posed a “latent threat” to stability.  Following a visit by the Peacebuilding Commission, however, Government ministers and development partners had agreed to develop an integrated national programme in support of creating employment opportunities for youth, he added.  Also briefing Council members during that meeting was John McNee ( Canada), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific configuration on Sierra Leone.  (See Press Release SC/9890.)

Mr. von der Schulenberg addressed the Council again on 28 September, saying:  “ Sierra Leone may today no longer be one of your most critical concerns.”  He nonetheless urged members not to abandon the country completely.  “It is a potential success story, not only for Sierra Leone but for the Security Council,” he said, highlighting three developments that could have a major impact on Sierra Leone’s future:  efforts to better exploit natural resources; preparations for the 2012 elections; and developments in neighbouring Guinea.  (See Press Release SC/10041.)

Unanimously adopting resolution 1940 (2010) on 29 September, the Council ended an arms embargo and other sanctions imposed on Sierra Leone during its civil war, and decided to terminate the Committee established to monitor those measures.  By a separate text, resolution 1941 (2010), it extended the mandate of UNIPSIL for one year, until 15 September 2011, emphasizing that the Office should focus on helping the Government prepare for the elections, prevent and mitigate conflict, tackle youth unemployment, and promote good governance, the rule of law and human rights, among other issues.  (See Press Release SC/10044.)


The Council met 10 times on Somalia, hearing briefings about continuing insurgent violence, massive displacement and piracy off the coast, despite efforts by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to help the Transitional Federal Government build its institutions and security forces, and to convince various factions to join the Djibouti Peace Process.  The Council re-authorized the Mission twice, in January and December (see Press Releases SC/9855 and SC/10139), with the latter meeting extending its authorization until 30 September 2011 and increasing its mandated troop strength from 8,000 to 12,000 personnel.

In briefings on 14 January and 12 May, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Political Office in Somalia, urged the international community to act resolutely in support of the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM, including through a high-level conference held in Istanbul in May (see Press Releases SC/9844 and SC/9927).

Mr. Ould-Abdallah’s successor, Augustine Mahiga, delivering his first briefing to the Council on 16 September, called for quick and comprehensive action to assist the Transitional Federal Government, saying terrorism was taking firm root in Somalia, as witnessed by last July’s suicide attacks in Kampala, Uganda, the attack on the Muna Hotel during the holy month of Ramadan and continuing attacks in Mogadishu (see Press Release SC/10032).

Following up on the high-level meeting on Somalia held in New York on 23 September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the Council on 21 October alongside Ramtane Lamamra, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, and Yusuf Hassan Ibrahim, Somalia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs (see Press Release SC/10063).  He called on the Council to take “bold and courageous decisions” to support the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM.

On 23 November, the Council re-authorized anti-piracy efforts by States and regional groups, stressing the need for comprehensive efforts to tackle that menace, as well as the instability on the Somali mainland (see Press Release SC/10092).  The action followed a 25 August presidential statement that stressed the need for a long-term solution to the problem of prosecuting and imprisoning pirates, while taking note of the Secretary-General’s legal recommendations in that regard (see Press Release SC/10014).

Additionally, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Council on 9 November that the pirates were outpacing international efforts to stem their activities off the coast of Somalia.  “Warships alone will not solve the problem,” he emphasized, urging a simultaneous focus on deterrence, security, the rule of law and economic alternatives for Somali youth.  (See Press Release SC/10079.)

On 19 March, the Council condemned the continuing flow of weapons violating its arms embargoes against Somalia and Eritrea and extended the mandate of the Committee monitoring those measures for 12 months, expanding its mandate and giving it three additional experts (see Press Release SC/9888).


The Council met 12 times on Sudan as the country moved closer to the referendum scheduled for 9 January 2011 with the intention of determining whether the South would remain part of Sudan or choose independence.  Extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) until 30 April 2011, the Council requested it to play a leading role in international support for the referendum (see Press Release SC/9916).

On 25 October, Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said there had been palpable progress in preparing for the referendum, but very little time remained (see Press Release SC/10069).  On 16 November, the Secretary-General told the Council it was crucial that the parties build confidence with each other through negotiations over outstanding issues (see Press Release SC/10087).

Welcoming the conclusion of a peaceful registration process for the referendum, the Council issued a presidential statement on 16 December urging the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement — the ruling National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement — to calm tensions by fulfilling their remaining commitments, quickly reaching agreement on outstanding issues and renouncing a return to arms no matter what the outcome of the referendum (see Press Release SC/10121).  Agreement on the disputed Abyei area was seen as particularly important, as was agreement on borders, security, citizenship, debts, assets, currency and natural resources.  The Council welcomed in that regard the mediation by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Featuring in all discussions on Sudan was the conflict in Darfur, with its continuing violence pitting Government and associated militia against rebel groups, lack of progress in the peace process and continuing wide-scale displacement and attacks on civilians and peacekeepers.  On 11 February, Dmitry Titov, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, stressed the need to deal with all Sudan’s conflicts in a national context (see Press Release SC/9859).  Similarly, on 14 June, United Nations and African Union officials briefing on Sudan called for an integrated approach to stability in the entire country, linking peace in Darfur to preparations for the upcoming referendum (see Press Release SC/9952).

Extending for one year the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) on 30 July, Council resolution 1935 (2010) demanded that the parties end their attacks on civilians and peacekeepers, and join the peace process (see Press Release SC/9997).  It requested the Mission to formulate a strategy for the full achievement of its civilian-protection objective, as well as that of ensuring access for humanitarian personnel, in conjunction with the United Nations country team.

In two briefings on Darfur in May and July (see Press Releases SC/9932 and SC/9994), Ibrahim Gambari, Joint Special Representative for UNAMID, said the Operation was focused on its protection mandate despite considerable challenges.  While there had been some political progress, important rebel factions remained outside the peace process.  He also warned that keeping some 2.3 million people in internal displacement camps constituted a time bomb, and urged the establishment of conditions and programmes for voluntary return.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, addressed the Council in June and December (see Press Releases SC/9950 and SC/10107) following a decision by the Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber I to refer to the Council the failure by the Government of the Sudan to comply with its obligations to enforce the arrest warrants of prominent citizens Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb for serious crimes in Darfur.  He reminded the Council that the two officials reported to President Omer al-Bashir, who had also been charged with serious crimes, including genocide.  It was ultimately up to the Council to enforce the Court’s decisions, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said, adding that the judicial body had also investigated the worst crimes committed by rebel forces against peacekeepers.  A trial was forthcoming in 2011.

Finally, on 14 October, the Council noted with deep concern the increasing violence in Darfur, and extended for one year ending 19 October 2011, the mandate of the Panel of Experts monitoring the arms embargo on Sudan, as well as the sanctions on those impeding peace in the country (see Press Release SC/10056).

West Africa

In two briefings delivered on 13 July and 12 January, the top United Nations official in West Africa painted a picture of complex dichotomies in the steadily recovering but still troubled subregion (see Press Releases SC/9981 and SC/9837).  “West Africa continues to show a mixed picture of hope and concern,” according to Said Djinnit, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA).  He stressed that, while there had been improvements in the areas of conflict prevention, recovery and peacebuilding since the latter half of 2009, that progress was threatened by weak national institutions in many countries.

He said UNOWA had been working with other United Nations entities to address that situation with a focus on recovery in areas beset by crisis, consolidating good governance and the rule of law, promoting human rights and gender mainstreaming in stable but at-risk countries, and raising awareness of the need for economic growth and fair distribution of wealth.  “By strengthening its political institutions and seeking better prospects for economic growth and development, West Africa should be able to improve the quality of life of the majority of its population and thereby minimize the possibility of frustration, social tension and, ultimately, violence.”

Describing the struggle against drug trafficking as a priority area in which UNOWA had been working closely with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), he cited the seizure of two tons of cocaine in Gambia, with the support of the United Kingdom, as well as the arrest in the United States of suspects who had been planning to smuggle four tons of the drug through Liberia, as evidence of the increasing commitment of West African States to fighting the scourge.

Turning to economic issues, he said the global recovery had supported growth in the region which had yet to be translated into effective and sustainable poverty reduction, and the prospects for realizing the Millennium Development Goals remained weak.  In addition, the ongoing food crisis affected millions of people in the Sahel, particularly Niger, where some 60 per cent of the population faced famine amid a serious food, nutrition and pastoral crisis.  Those challenges, as well as the need for security-sector reform, continued electoral assistance, the promotion of human rights and cooperation in combating drug traffickers, required the continued support of the international community, including the United Nations, to maintain the momentum for peace and stability in West Africa.

Western Sahara

In a 30 April meeting on the situation in the Western Sahara, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1920 (2010), by which it decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 April 2011.  It welcomed commitments by Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) — the parties to the dispute over the North African territory — to continue small, informal talks.  (See Press Release SC/9917.)

The Council called upon the parties to continue negotiations, under the auspices of the Secretary-General, without preconditions, in good faith and with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution that would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.  In the subsequent debate, delegates noted that Western Sahara was the only fully fledged member of the African Union still awaiting decolonization, and expressed support for MINURSO’s mandate to monitor the ceasefire and help hold the referendum.  Other speakers expressed concern about the lack of MINURSO staff to monitor human rights questions on the ground.



Recognizing the dire humanitarian and security circumstances, threats and challenges arising from the massive earthquake that levelled Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, last 12 January, the Council twice boosted force levels for the military and police components of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).  Unanimously adopting resolution 1908 (2010) on 19 January, it raised the ceiling for the military component from 6,940 to 8,940 troops, and the police component from 2,211 to 3,711.  Then on 4 June, under resolution 1927 (2010), it unanimously authorized the deployment of 680 more police, mainly to help the Haitian authorities throughout the November presidential and legislative elections and the subsequent transfer of power in early 2011.  (See Press Releases SC/9847 and SC/9944.)

On 19 February, the Council heard briefings by John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, who rallied global support for the country’s long-term recovery (see Press Release SC/9865).

Having just returned from Haiti, Mr. Holmes said the humanitarian situation there was improving daily, but it was crucial that the international community bolster Government efforts to remove mountains of rubble and provide adequate shelter and sanitation to the estimated 1.2 million people left homeless by the earthquake before the start of the rainy season.  Noting that the “worst of the medical emergency is behind us”, he added that about 3 million people, or one third of Haiti’s population, had received food rations, and clean water was available for most of those in need.  More than 70 humanitarian organizations were on the ground providing relief assistance.

Mr. Le Roy said the earthquake had fundamentally changed the context in which MINUSTAH was operating, causing the Mission to focus on supporting and assisting relief operations, ensuring security and public order and restoring its own capacity.  By mid-March, it would have an additional 1,500 troops and up to 500 more police.  The security situation was stable but potentially fragile, he said, suggesting that the Council consider training new members of the Haitian National Police.

Also addressing the Council, Léo Mérorès (Haiti) cited Government figures saying that the earthquake had left more than 270,000 people dead, destroyed over 250,000 buildings, rendered more than 1 million people homeless, and freed over 4,000 dangerous criminals to roam the streets.

Briefing the Council on 28 April, Edmond Mulet, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSTAH, said that, given the necessary support to weather risks, Haiti could return to a path of relative stability and economic growth within the next 18 months, and the Organization could then start planning to consolidate and drawdown the Mission (see Press Release SC/9915).

During the same meeting, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive of Haiti encouraged Member States to deploy more engineers, given the major challenges of reconstruction and setting up camps for the displaced.  The Mission’s presence would remain necessary as Haiti faced new risks during the recovery period, and its support would be crucial for free and fair elections in November, he added.

Briefing the Council again on 13 September, Mr. Mulet said MINUSTAH’s current strength should be maintained at least through the elections and the formation of a new Government early in 2011 (see Press Release SC/10026).  The overall situation was still fragile, and the Haitian State was facing numerous challenges, such as maintaining order in the camps, which were still plagued by sexual violence, managing debris and reconstruction, and resettling some 1.3 million displaced persons.  He said that, while immediate humanitarian needs had largely been met, MINUSTAH was updating its contingency plans to prepare for the risks of the hurricane season.  However, many efforts had been hampered by the slow dispersal of pledged funds.

On 14 October, the Council extended the Mission’s mandate for one year, until 15 October 2011, with the intention of further renewal.  It maintained MINUSTAH’s force levels, and requested the Secretary-General to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the security environment following the elections and the transfer of power to a new Government.  (See Press Release SC/10054.)



The Security Council began the first of seven meetings on Afghanistan with a 6 January debate opened by the Secretary-General, who rejected the assertion that fraud had marred the first round of the disputed presidential elections of 2009, and the withdrawal of President Hamid Karzai’s main opponent in the second round (see Press Release SC/9834).  Instead, the factors responsible were weaknesses in the State-building process, including the ongoing culture of impunity; the still-inadequate security forces; as well as corruption and the insufficient pace of institution-building.

Opening the meeting, the Secretary-General said Afghanistan had reached a “critical juncture”.  Insecurity remained the single biggest impediment to progress, with great implications for the standing of the Government and its partners in steering the country towards stability and peace.  At the same time, he welcomed the new approach by President Barack Obama of the United States, which sought an optimal balance between military and civilian efforts, and would strengthen cooperation with the United Nations.

Citing negative trends as he delivered his last briefing as Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, Kai Eide said they included growing impatience among donors and troop contributors, as well as difficulties in putting the insurgency on the defensive.  He outlined a political strategy that would prioritize a systematic approach to building civilian institutions.  “If we do not take these civilian components of the transition strategy as seriously as the military component, then we will fail,” he warned.

As the Council considered the realignment of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on 18 March, it heard several interventions, including that of Afghanistan’s representative, who recalled that nine years ago, his country had been a “broken” nation for which international support had been a “crucial crutch in its slow healing”.  The first step of the transition was to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and improve security, he said.

Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, described Afghanistan’s political calendar as “crowded”, citing the military surge, heightened military tempo, the planned National Assembly elections in September, the Peace Jirga announced by President Karzai and the Kabul Conference.  However, the focus must “remain firmly on ensuring that ‘Afghanization’ actually becomes more than the slogan it has been thus far”, he emphasized.  (See Press Release SC/9885.)

On 22 March, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1917 (2010) by which it extended UNAMA’s mandate until 23 March 2011, adjusting it to assist the Government in the transition to national leadership of recovery efforts, including by supporting preparations for the conference to be held in Kabul later in the year (see Press Release SC/9889).

At the year’s midpoint, on 30 June, Staffan de Mistura, the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General, stressed the importance of maintaining resilience in the year ahead.  Events in the first half of 2010 — the consultative Peace Jirga, a follow-up conference in Kabul and progress on elections — had provided reassurance that major political aims were broadly on track despite increased insurgent attacks on civilians (see Press Release SC/9970).

Reporting to the Council on 29 September on the recent parliamentary elections, Mr. de Mistura said the fact that elections had taken place at all in a country still in conflict, and amid deteriorating security, was an accomplishment in itself (see Press Release SC/10046).  Once the final results were announced on 30 October, he hoped all partners would return their attention to the so-called Kabul Process and, in parallel, refocus on a political solution.

Zalmai Rassoul, Afghanistan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the elections, in which millions of Afghans from all segments of society had participated, represented a major victory for democracy.

On 13 October, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1943 (2010) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, extending the authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for one year, ending on 13 October 2011.  It simultaneously stressed the importance of comprehensively building the Afghan security sector to ensure the rule of law throughout the country (see Press Release SC/10049).

Meeting on Afghanistan for the last time in 2010, the Council held a debate on 22 December, in which by Mr. de Mistura said the country’s transition to responsibility for its own security, governance and development would result in a realignment of aid, but not abandonment (see Press Release SC/10142).  The message was to “help the Afghan authorities to stand on their own but not to stand alone”, he added.

According to the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2010/630), as the transition to full Afghan leadership and ownership advanced, both the Government and the international community should be guided by realities rather than schedules.  Only if based on tangible improvements in governance, security and development would the process be convincing to the Afghan people, who were its primary stakeholders.


The Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) three times, the first a three-month extension on 21 January under resolution 1909 (2010), the second on 12 May for a further four months under resolution 1921 (2010), and finally on 15 September for another four months under resolution 1939 (2010).  Council members repeatedly urged the Government of Nepal and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to take advantage of UNMIN’s expertise and readiness to advance the protracted peace process.  (See Press Releases SC/9850, SC/9925 and SC/10030.)

Briefing the Council on 15 January, Karin Landgren, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIN, said that, despite recent encouraging developments, the process, which had stalled in 2009 over a breakdown in trust between the Nepalese parties following the 2008 election of the Constitutional Assembly, would be at risk until outstanding tasks were resolved, including the swift integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, followed by the drafting of a new Constitution by 28 May and fresh elections.  (See Press Release SC/9845.)

On 5 May, Ms. Landgren told the Council that tensions had worsened since January as a five-day Maoist-led general strike over demands that the Prime Minister step down and pave the way for a National Unity Government threatened to derail the four-year effort to hammer out a power-sharing agreement.  The stand-off had stoked public unease over a possible return to conflict, she said, adding that negotiators working to resolve it were focused on critical constitutional questions about Nepal’s proposed federal structure and form of government, the integration of Maoist combatants and other long-standing concerns, such as ending the paramilitary function and activities of the Maoist Youth Communist League.  (See Press Release SC/9919.)

Presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2010/453) on 7 September, Ms. Landgren said it painted a “discouraging picture” of a stalled peace process, with few signs of a consensual way forward.  The Prime Minister had stepped down on 30 June, but continued to head a caretaker Government, pending the election of a new Prime Minister.  She said the subsequent parliamentary negotiations on the formation of a national consensus Government had failed, due primarily to the decision by a third party, the Unified Marxist-Leninist Party (UML), to remain neutral in the balloting.

Moreover, calls that UNMIN should no longer monitor the Nepal and Maoist armies were a cause for concern, she continued, warning that, without a fresh agreement between the parties, UNMIN could not continue to monitor only one side or make the fundamental changes to the monitoring regime that the Nepal Army was demanding.  UNMIN’s aim was to improve the effectiveness of its monitoring role and wind up its presence with minimal disruption to the peace process, she said, adding that the Secretary-General proposed discussions on its mandate with the new Government when it was formed.  (See Press Release SC/10020.)

In a 14 October briefing to the Council on his visit to Nepal on 6 and 7 October, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that, despite the continuing political impasse, UNMIN’s arms monitoring and other substantive functions would cease after 15 January 2011, and the purpose of any remaining staff would be to liquidate the Mission.  He urged all concerned in Nepal to use the time remaining to complete outstanding tasks.

Mr. Pascoe said the United Nations did not support repeated mandate extensions in a climate that undermined the Mission’s ability to function effectively.  UNMIN had been subjected to controversies due to the deteriorating the political climate, misrepresentations of its mandate and the ensuing mismatch between the parties’ high expectations and the reality of the Mission’s limited responsibilities.

In their 13 September agreement, the Government and the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) committed to move towards “the logical conclusion of the peace process” by reaching consensus on integration and rehabilitation, bringing Maoist combatants under the Special Committee on Integration and Rehabilitation, and completing remaining tasks, including constitution-drafting and power-sharing, by 14 January 2011.

Pointing to achievements in those areas, Mr. Pascoe said the Special Committee had been reactivated but was yet to achieve progress on core issues.  He said he had advised the parties to switch their focus from creating an elaborate supervision and monitoring system in order to assume UNMIN’s responsibilities, to giving prioritizing the integration and rehabilitation of combatants, which would facilitate the closing of military cantonments.  The parties were considering three options for Maoist personnel:  integration into the security forces; reintegration into civilian life through vocational training and support; and “voluntary exit” involving a single cash payment.  Many leaders across Nepal’s political fault lines had expressed their hopes for a political breakthrough in early November, he said.  (See Press Release SC/10053.)


Remaining seized of the situation in Timor-Leste over the course of the year, the Council held three meetings on the matter, hearing a briefing on 23 February by Ameerah Haq, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), as well as an address by Deputy Prime Minister José Luis Guterres.  (See Press Release SC/9866.)

Ms. Haq said that since 2006, when a dispute over discrimination among military forces had sparked protests and widespread violence, Timor-Leste had reached a “new stage” in which there was an intensified focus on measures needed to sustain stability, deepen democracy and the rule of law, reduce poverty and strengthen institutions.  Perhaps the greatest long-term challenge would now be socio-economic, she added.

Council members and other delegates agreed with the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend the Mission’s mandate for 12 more months while also planning “the downsizing of UNMIT during the period through 2012 and the transition of functions, where appropriate, to the Government, the United Nations country team and bilateral partners”.  In a subsequent meeting, on 26 February, the Council extended the mandate until 26 February 2011, while endorsing the drawdown process.  (See Press Release SC/9870.)

Briefing the Council again on 19 October, Ms. Haq said UNMIT and the Timor-Leste National Police deserved much of the credit for the country’s security and stability, noting that the latter had resumed primary policing responsibilities in all but three districts and six units.  Progress had also been made in strengthening the justice sector, gender mainstreaming and national reconciliation.  (See Press Release SC/10060.)


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Valentin Inzko, High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, told the Council on 11 November that, with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s institutional and socio-economic evolution stalled in a climate of “obstruction and bickering”, the international community must urge its new leaders to kick-start the political reforms needed to unify the country and speed up its integration into the European Union.  Among other things, the briefing highlighted increasingly divisive rhetoric during elections on 3 October, and actions challenging the competency of the State on the part of the Republika Srpska, one of the Federation’s two constituent entities.  (See Press Release SC/10082.)

Mr. Inzko said that the elections — which set up a three-tiered leadership among Bosniak, Croat and Serb officials — had been deemed efficient and generally in accordance with international standards, with a relatively high turnout.  Yet there had been no progress over the past year on the key reforms required for Euro-Atlantic integration, and some reforms had actually been rolled back.  “Sadly, national agendas inside the country have continued to prevail over cooperation and compromise,” he added.

Consequently, he continued, in light of persisting “stagnation and internal disagreements”, the Peace Implementation Council had been unable to decide on the closure of the Office of High Representative and its transformation into the Office of the European Union Special Representative.  So 15 years after the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement which had ended hostilities in the country, there was now a real need for political leaders to recreate the momentum for change and reform.  “Zero-sum politics will need to be replaced by politics based on compromise and a readiness to meet each other half way,” Mr. Inzko stressed.

Overall, those comments reflected an earlier briefing in May, in which the High Representative told Council members that, while regional prospects for reconciliation had improved, “the language and logic of politics inside Bosnia and Herzegovina appears to have rather deteriorated”.  Indeed, in domestic affairs “[the country] remains afflicted by a lack of a basic — and fundamental — consensus about what sort of country it should be, or could be”, he said.  It did not know whether it wished to be a more centralized State, a decentralized one, or how to achieve either option.  (See Press Release SC/9933.)

On 18 November, the Council authorized, for another year, the European Union Stabilization Force (EUFOR) mandated to ensure continuing compliance with the Dayton Peace Agreement.  Unanimously adopting resolution 1948 (2010), it called on all political leaders to refrain from divisive rhetoric and to make further concrete and tangible progress towards integration into the European Union.  The Council reiterated the primary responsibility of the Bosnian authorities for the further implementation of Dayton and reminded the parties that they had committed themselves to full cooperation with all entities involved in implementing the peace settlement.  (See Press Release SC/10088.)


The Council twice extended the mandate of the 46-year-old United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), both times by votes of 14 in favour to 1 against ( Turkey).  Council members called on both sides in the disputed island nation to continue to work with both UNFICYP and the Secretary-General’s “good offices” on the demarcation of the buffer zone separating the two rival communities, and to reach agreement on outstanding issues.  In explanation of his negative vote for both extensions, Turkey’s representative said they implied a joint Government was in place representing all people on the island.  (See Press Releases SC/9953 and SC/10112.)


The Council held five meetings on developments in Kosovo, including an outbreak of ethnic violence in the northern region of Mitrovica and the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legality of the Serbian province’s 2008 unilateral declaration of independence.

In an impromptu Council meeting called by Serbia on 6 July, President Boris Tadić blamed the ethnic clash — during which a bomb had exploded as some 3,000 Kosovo Serbs had assembled to protest the establishment of a Kosovo government office in Mitrovica — on Kosovo’s 2008 unilateral declaration of independence.  No democratic leadership in Serbia would ever, under any circumstances, recognize that declaration, he vowed.  “That principled position is set in stone, and will not change — come what may.”  (See Press Release SC/9972.)

During the same meeting, Lambert Zannier, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) affirmed that the United Nations would remain engaged with all sides, and reiterated the Secretary-General’s call for the parties to commit to dialogue on the matter of northern Kosovo.

On 22 January, in the first of five briefings for 2010, Mr. Zannier foretold conflict in northern Kosovo, saying that, while the territory was largely peaceful, remaining ethnic tensions might lead to violent flare-ups.  Presenting the Secretary-General’s first report of the year on the situation, he called on the authorities in Kosovo and Serbia to work together to create a “multi-ethnic society”, to preserve cultural heritages, and to ensure regional prosperity.  (See Press Release SC/9851.)

In a meeting on 17 May, Mr. Zannier told the Council that, among other activities, UNMIK continued to devote close attention to relations between the Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serb communities.  While some progress had been made in resolving inter-ethnic tensions, other progress depended on an upcoming advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice on the legality of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.  (See Press Release SC/9928.)  The Court issued the ruling in July, just weeks after the violent clash in Mitrovica.

As the Council met on 3 August to consider the implications of the ruling, which found that the unilateral declaration of independence did not violate international law, Mr. Zannier announced that the Secretary-General and the European Union had agreed to coordinate a dialogue — later called for by the General Assembly — on the situation in the region.  He emphasized that “the opinion does not affect the status of UNMIK, or our status-neutral policy”, but in fact confirmed the applicability of Council resolution 1244 (1999), under which the Mission had been established.  UNMIK would, therefore, continue to implement its mandate, and would also work with the European Union to support the facilitated dialogue (see Press Release SC/10000).

In the Council’s final meeting on Kosovo, on 12 November, Mr. Zannier said that, since the issuance of the advisory opinion, a growing “unease” had developed in the cooperation between the Kosovo authorities and UNMIK on facilitating regional cooperation and the administration of northern Mitrovica.  Delegates reaffirmed the need for dialogue to resolve outstanding issues and reduce tensions among various communities, but differed over whether Kosovo’s status should be discussed during the dialogue called for by the General Assembly.  (See Press Release SC/10083.)

Middle East

Question of Palestine

In a region the Secretary-General described in a mid-year report as “complex, fragile and dangerous as it has ever been” there were still “opportunities for reconciliation to be grasped”.  Notwithstanding broad recognition that “deep distrust between Palestinians and Israelis has forestalled a meaningful peace process”, he emphasized:  “We must press for a two-State solution that allows both sides to live in peace”.  It was in that light that Council members considered the situation in the beleaguered Middle East, including the question of Palestine, in monthly briefings by senior United Nations officials.

The briefings provided a window into intensifying diplomatic efforts outside the Council to achieve a settlement, capitalizing on momentum that had emerged early in 2010 to revive negotiations and reach agreement on core issues within a year.  The latter months were devoted to salvaging yet-again derailed prospects for peace, as direct talks — resurrected in September for the first time since December 2008 — were interrupted by a series of events on the ground, not least Israel’s resumption of settlement construction, following the September expiry of its partial moratorium.  Despite the setbacks, the Council’s last briefing of 2010 included a robust appeal for a shift in diplomatic strategy, and a fresh call upon the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to focus urgently in the coming year on peace rather than perpetual conflict.

Simmering tensions and frequent protests in East Jerusalem underpinned remarks made by Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, in the year’s first regular briefing, on 27 January (see Press Release SC/9854).  Pointing to ongoing deprivation in the Gaza Strip and an increase in militant rocket fire into Israel, he warned that the effort to forge a viable peace was seriously at risk.  Expressing “deep concern at the current stalemate”, he emphasized:  “If we cannot move forward decisively towards a final status agreement, we risk sliding backwards, with potentially profound and negative implications.”

On 18 February, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, similarly expressed concern over the deadlock and urged both sides to embrace a proposal to begin indirect talks mediated by the United States (see Press Release SC/9864).  “We call for the resumption of talks on final status issues, implementation of Road Map commitments, continued efforts to improve economic and security conditions, and a different and more positive approach to Gaza.”  He urged Israel to extend its 10-month freeze on settlement building in the West Bank to a comprehensive freeze there and in East Jerusalem, expressing hope that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would also move forward on the basis of the practical proposal to begin talks.  He reminded members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated commitment to a two-State solution, but said that “confusion as to the Government’s intentions arises from statements by various Government officials”.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, briefing on 24 March following a trip to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, reaffirmed that there was no alternative to negotiations and emphasized the need to avoid provocations (see Press Release SC/9891).  “No doubt there will be tests,” he told the Council, but “the parties themselves must take steps to meet obligations and build trust.  Extremists and spoilers must see that the parties are determined to press ahead.”  He said there had been “too many negative facts being created on the ground, and these need to stop”.  Urging calm and restraint, reconstruction in Gaza and transformative change in the West Bank, he also stressed the urgent need for regional support for renewed Middle East peace efforts.

Mr. Pascoe told the Council on 14 April that there was no alternative to the “urgent resumption” of negotiations on all core issues (see Press Release SC/9906).  While peace was in the hands of the parties themselves, the international community “must continue to play a crucial role”, he said, warning that the situation on the ground “remains fragile and a crisis of confidence between the parties has so far prevented the resumption of talks”.  Israel’s easing of its blockade on Gaza fell short of what was required to address the enclave’s immense reconstruction and development needs, he said, reiterating also that, while the partial restraint on settlement construction was welcome, it was insufficient and fuelled a crisis of confidence that prevented the resumption of talks.  Moreover, the policy fell short of Israel’s Road Map obligation fully to freeze settlement activity, he said.

Following the briefing, the Permanent Observer for Palestine said Israel’s illegal policies called into question its credibility as a peace partner, its commitment to a two-State solution, and its standing as a member of the Organization to which it owed its very existence.  It was time, he added, for the international community to act decisively in order finally to bring an end to the Israeli occupation and enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.

Israel’s representative said, however, that the pursuit of peace in the Middle East required that all parties realize that they had not only rights, but also obligations.  The Palestinians and the Arab nations, must take tangible steps to combat terrorism, put an end to incitement, engage in direct negotiations and begin a process of normalization with Israel.  The Government was hopeful that the proximity talks would serve as a stepping stone towards the resumption of direct, bilateral peace negotiations, the delegate said.

Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Council on 18 May that Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks had officially begun under United States mediation, but they faced “powerful elements who will seek to derail progress” (see Press Release SC/9929).  Emphasizing that progress on core issues could not be allowed to stagnate, he said the courage displayed by both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders would be tested at the negotiating table.  “But let us realize that we do not have the luxury of time,” cautioned Mr. Serry, who is also Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, and his Envoy to the Quartet.

Barely two weeks later, on 31 May, the Council met in emergency session following the Israeli military’s seizure of the Mavi Marmara, a vessel that had formed part of the “Gaza aid flotilla” (see Press Release SC/9940).  The action had resulted in the deaths of nine civilians and injuries to at least 30 others, including seven Israeli military personnel.  Having heard a briefing on the incident by Mr. Fernandez-Taranco, the Council issued a presidential statement calling for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation, conforming to international standards (document S/PRST/2010/9).  It stressed that the situation in Gaza was unsustainable.

During the Council’s regular monthly briefing, on 15 June, Mr. Serry said the Gaza crisis must be turned into an opportunity for real change on the ground while proximity talks were sustained, with a view to holding direct talks as soon as possible (see Press Release SC/9954).  Reiterating the Council’s view that the situation in Gaza was not sustainable, he underlined how “delicate and urgent” the proximity talks were, noting that Israel’s settlement restraint policy would expire in three months, while the Arab League’s support for President Abbas continuing negotiations had a similar time frame.

On 21 July, Mr. Pascoe beseeched the Israelis and Palestinians to remove obstacles to direct negotiations, and called for the extension and expansion of Israel’s 10-month moratorium on settlement activity, as well as an end to demolitions and expulsions in Jerusalem, in order to advance the talks at a “critical juncture” (see Press Release SC/9990).  He also urged reconciliation among Palestinian factions, an exchange of prisoners that would involve Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit and some of the 9,000 Palestinians detained in Israel’s jails, as well as further improvement in West Bank conditions.  He reported that the Secretary-General continued his attempts to gain agreement for his proposal to appoint an international panel of inquiry into the 31 May attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla.

“We are nearing a turning point in the efforts to promote direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” Mr. Fernandez-Taranco told the Council on 17 October (see Press Release SC/10009).  He reported that since May, the parties had been engaged in seven rounds of proximity talks, mapping out areas of mutual interest and laying out their respective priorities.  The parties were now holding internal discussions with a view to deciding whether to enter into direct talks, he said, urging leaders on both sides to seize the opportunity and engage on a path to decisive progress at the negotiating table.

Following direct talks in Washington, D.C., on 1 and 2 September, Mr. Serry called on the Security Council and the international community, in his briefing of 17 September, to maintain strong support for the talks, saying:  “Our collective task is to support these negotiations and maximize prospects for success” (see Press Release SC/10034).  He also encouraged concrete steps of support from countries in the region, cautioned Hamas that non-violence and unity was the only route to the attainment of Palestinian aspirations, and reiterated the call for an extension of Israel’s restraint on settlement construction.

Notwithstanding calls for Israel to extend its settlement moratorium in the West Bank, the partial freeze expired on 26 September, after which the Council held a public debate on 18 October, hearing from some 40 speakers (see Press Release SC/10059).  Just prior to that, Mr. Fernandez-Taranco briefed Council members, saying the Secretary-General had been stressing the illegality of settlement activity and had been in direct and frequent contact with regional leaders, including President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu, whom he urged to find a way forward.  Despite the impasse in direct peace talks, the international community should remain committed to the goal of agreement on core issues within a year, he said.

During the ensuing debate, the Observer for Palestine said Israel’s breaches — via colonization, aggression, collective punishment and contempt for the will of the international community — must be confronted and firmly rejected.  He emphasized that the end of settlement activity was not a Palestinian condition, but rather a matter of international law to which Israel must be held accountable.

Israel’s representative, on the other hand, said settlements were one of many issues that needed to be resolved in final status negotiations.  History had shown that Israel did not stand in the way of peace, as it had proven with Egypt and Jordan.  However, its dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip had been rewarded with terrorism and rocket fire, he said, stressing that any peace agreement must clearly address Israel’s security concerns with strong arrangements in the field since the diverse and dangerous threats it faced remained significant.

“We are in the midst of a delicate period which will determine whether a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is possible,” Mr. Pascoe told the Council on 23 November (see Press Release SC/10093).  The parties must work to bring about a return to direct talks and support an atmosphere conducive to quick and concrete progress, including a freeze on settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  He reported, meanwhile, a significant increase in the number of settlements since the expiry of the moratorium, as well as announcements of plans to construct more than 1,500 settlement units in parts of East Jerusalem, and 800 units in the Ariel settlement deep inside the West Bank.  As for Gaza, there had been an increase in the number of truckloads entering the enclave every week, from 940 to 1,026, but the total number still fell short of the 2,800 entering Gaza every week in June 2007.

Calling on the leadership of both sides to focus with urgency on the essential elements of a “negotiated two-State endgame, for the benefit of both peoples”, Mr. Serry said, in the last briefing of 2010, on 14 December, that the parties had set important timelines for themselves which had received strong international endorsement, and 2011 was the year in which they were to be met.  “It is vital that both parties are now fully forthcoming on substance in talks with the United States, and that further measures are taken on the ground without delay to strengthen and enable the agenda of Palestinian State-building,” he emphasized.  (See Press Release SC/10115.)


Once again, the Security Council considered the situation in Lebanon mainly in the context of its monthly briefings on the Middle East.  On 30 August it unanimously adopted resolution 1937 (2010), extending the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year (see Press Release SC/10017).

Created in March 1978 to confirm Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and help the Government of Lebanon restore its effective authority, UNIFIL had its mandate adjusted twice due to the developments of 1982 and 2000.  Following the crisis in July/August 2006, the Council enhanced the Force, deciding that it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese Armed Forces as they deployed throughout south Lebanon; and help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations, as well as the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.

Providing the last of three comprehensive assessments of the implementation of resolution 1701 (2006), which envisions a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon, the Secretary-General reported a deterioration in the situation on 1 November (document S/2010/565).  He cited an exchange of fire between the Lebanese and Israeli forces on 3 August, in which lives were lost on both sides.  Notwithstanding the new strategic environment and the relative stability prevailing in southern Lebanon, the situation remained “volatile”, he said.  Sustained long-term efforts were required to ensure that the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River was free of armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Lebanese Government and UNIFIL, he said, urging Israelimmediately to withdraw its forces from the northern part of Ghajar and the adjacent area north ofthe Blue Line.  He alsocalled on Israel to stop its “almost daily” overflights of Lebanese territory, saying they exacerbated tensions.

Among other concerns were the marked rise of political tension in Lebanon and the recent challenges to State authority by representatives of Hizbullah and some of its allies, the Secretary-General said.  In that vein, he called on Lebanese leaders to prevent a political crisis that some in Lebanon feared could erupt into violence.  He also expressed deep concern at the widespread proliferation of weapons in Lebanon, warning that the presence of armed groups operating outside State control challenged the Government’s ability to exercise full control over its territory and violated resolution 1701 (2006).  Encouraging Lebanon to control its borders, he called on all Member States to prevent arms transfers to entities or individuals inside the country without State consent.

Briefing the Council on 24 March, the Secretary-General recalled that his Israeli interlocutors had expressed frustration with the situation in Lebanon, where, they believed, Hizbullah was “rearming at an alarming rate” (see Press Release SC/9891).  He reaffirmed his own belief that a genuine and viable peace process, leading to the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, was the key to long-term stability in the region.

The year began with a briefing on 27 January by Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who said the situation in UNIFIL’s area of operations remained “quiet but fragile” (see Press Release SC/9854).  In the ensuing debate, however, Israel’s representative warned that the supply of arms to Hizbullah across the Syrian-Lebanese border was a gross violation of the arms embargo and of Security Council resolutions.  Lebanon’s representative pointed out that Israel continued its assault against Lebanon and other occupied territories by land, sea and air, and urged the Security Council to stand by its obligations — and its own resolutions — to ensure a lasting settlement.

The monthly briefings that followed throughout the rest of 2010 painted a picture of relative calm throughout UNIFIL’s area of operations, although Israeli air violations reportedly took place on an almost daily basis.  During the Council’s open debates, Israel charged that Hizbullah was rearming with sophisticated weaponry, including missiles from its Iranian and Syrian patrons.  It was building its military infrastructure throughout villages in southern Lebanon, adjacent to schools, hospitals, houses of worship and residential buildings, as evidenced by exploding weapons caches.

Increased political tension, linked to speculation about possible indictments by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, was reported to the Council throughout the latter part of the year.  Speakers in a debate on 18 October stressed the need to avoid a politicization of the Tribunal, saying it must continue without interference towards ending impunity (see Press Release SC/10059).  As the year drew to a close, donors were urged to assist with the reconstruction of the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, as the first 2,000 refugees were due to return by January 2011.  They were also urged to contribute to the General Fund of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

[In addition to the press releases cited above, the following briefing summaries also contain references to the situation in Lebanon:  SC/9864, SC/9929, SC/9954, SC/9990, SC/10009 and SC/10034.]

Israel and Syria

The Council twice unanimously renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the first time on 30 June and the second on 22 December.  The resolutions extending the mandate were accompanied by presidential statements in which the Council identified itself with the Secretary-General’s view that “… the situation is very tense and is likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive agreement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached”.  (See Press Release SC/9971 and SC/10140.)


“ Iraq remains the whole world’s problem,” the Secretary-General said in outlining his priorities at the helm of the Organization.  “We are all aware of the road that brought us to this point, but the UN can be instrumental in developing an inclusive political process to promote national reconciliation, in cultivating a regional environment that is more stable and in providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians, including the almost 4 million refugees and internally displaced Iraqis.”

Doing its part, the Security Council held 10 formal meetings on Iraq, culminating in a ministerial-level event on 15 December, over which Vice-President Joseph Biden of the United States presided in light of his country’s Council presidency for that month (see Press Release SC/10118).  In sweeping changes made that day, the Council unanimously adopted three resolutions — 1956 (2010), 1957 (2010) and 1958 (2010) — terminating arrangements for the Development Fund for Iraq, lifting restrictions imposed by resolutions 687 (1991) and 707 (1991) relating to weapons of mass destruction and civilian nuclear activities, and ending the residual activities of the “oil-for-food” programme.

In a statement read out by Mr. Biden (document S/PRST/2010/27), the Council welcomed Iraq’s “important progress” in regaining the international standing it had enjoyed prior to its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and recognized that the situation now prevailing in the country was “significantly different” from that existing at the time of the Council’s adoption of resolution 661 (1990).

Speaking in his national capacity, Mr. Biden said Iraq was on the cusp of “something remarkable”, and all had an interest in its becoming a stable and self-reliant nation.  Though terrorism and other challenges persisted, the country’s best days lay ahead, and the United States would continue to forge an enduring partnership with it across all sectors.

“Today we recognize how far the country has come in key aspects of its journey to normalize its status in the community of nations,” Secretary-General Ban said during the same meeting.  He urged Iraqi leaders to follow through on their power-sharing agreements, to make further domestic progress and to normalize international relations.

Leading up to those long-awaited steps, the Council had underlined its readiness to consider lifting trade sanctions.  Issuing a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2010/5) on 26 February, it welcomed the steps by the Iraqi Government to support the international non-proliferation regime and adhere to global disarmament standards (see Press Release SC/9871).

The Council’s consideration of the situation had begun on 16 February with one of several briefings by Ad Melkert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).  Cautioning against the “persistent scepticism and impatience” that characterized much of the discourse, he outlined preparations under way for the legislative elections in March, saying “the determination of the Iraqi people to resist the return to the perils of the past is real and strong — stronger than the heinous forces behind the attacks”.  (See Press Release SC/9862.)

Indeed, national elections for the Council of Representatives were held on 7 March, Mr. Melkert said on 25 May (see Press Release SC/9934).  While serious dangers still threatened Iraq, the successful elections were an opportunity to strengthen the country’s sovereignty and reconciliation, he added.  “It is difficult to overstate the importance of this milestone,” he said, describing it as a “firm rejection” by the vast majority of the Iraqi electorate of the violent forces and their objectives.

Barely two weeks later, on 4 August, Mr. Melkert called on Iraq’s leaders to show a “higher sense of urgency” in forming a new Government following certification of the election results on 2 June (see Press Release SC/10002).  Disagreements over who had the right to form the next Government posed a “real test for Iraq’s transition to democracy and the commitment of Iraqi leaders to adhere to the country’s Constitution”, he warned.

On 5 August, the Council extended UNAMI’s mandate, unchanged, until 31 July 2011 by unanimously adopting resolution 1936 (2010).  The Secretary-General, in his report before the Council (document S/2010/406), emphasized the Mission’s continuing importance in assisting the political process and development efforts, and acknowledged that its operational environment was “extremely complex”.  In that context, UNAMI must inevitably deal with the impact of the planned drawdown of United States forces in the country, he said.  (See Press Release SC/10004.)

On 12 November, the Council issued a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2010/23) welcoming the 11 November agreement to form a national partnership Government in Iraq (see Press Release SC/10084).  However, the Secretary-General cautioned on 26 November, in his report to the Council (document S/2010/606), that “the formation of a new Government will mean very little to ordinary Iraqis unless they begin to see tangible improvements in their lives, particularly in the delivery of essential services and the creation of new job opportunities”.

Prior to the Council’s December actions on the Development Fund for Iraq and the oil-for-food programme, it had heard three briefings on the matter by United Nations Controller Jun Yamazaki, respectively, on 6 April (see Press Release SC/9901), 12 July (Press Release SC/9978), and 10 November (Press Release SC/10080).

In the last briefing, Mr. Yamazaki reviewed legal issues and options regarding implementation of successor arrangements.  He had previously expressed concern that an oil-metering system was behind schedule, thus delaying the termination of the total amount of oil subjected to a 5 per cent contribution to the mechanism intended to replace the Development Fund for Iraq.  He had strongly urged “full and timely” implementation of the comprehensive oil-metering system initially envisaged by the Iraqi Government, noting that it was to become fully operational by the end of 2011, except for one State company, the metering of which would be completed by 2012.

[The Fund was established by the Council in May 2003 to funnel Iraq’s export revenues towards development needs and international obligations.  It replaced the “oil-for-food” programme, which had allowed the country’s previous sanctions-bound Government to spend some oil revenues on the monitored purchase of humanitarian supplies.]

Thematic Debates

Maintenance of International Peace and Security

As per its usual practice, the Council held a raft of thematic debates in 2010, perhaps none more central to its mandate than the summit meeting of 23 September, attended by nine Heads of State and Government, as well as six ministers.  They pledged to continue strengthening the Council’s activities in the maintenance of international peace and security, and to adapt them to ever-changing circumstances (see Press Release SC/10036).

Secretary-General Ban said in opening the meeting that the world needed the Security Council to uphold its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security — fully, fairly, without delay.  “We must do more — and be equipped to do more — to fulfil this cardinal mission,” he stressed.  Though the United Nations had become more nimble in responding to brewing trouble, he said, more must be done in all areas and all available tools of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding must be employed in an integrated fashion.

In a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2010/18), the Council pledged to strengthen those tools through a range of efforts, and reaffirmed its commitment, among other things, to protect civilians in situations of armed conflict, battle impunity for human rights crimes, empower women and strengthen national ownership of peace processes.

Children and Armed Conflict

Throughout the 1990s, triggered by the World Summit for Children at the start of the decade, the situation of children and armed conflict drew increasing international attention.  Following several General Assembly debates on the suffering of children in war-torn societies, the Secretary-General’s 1997 appointment of a Special Representative and a subsequent briefing by the latter the following year, the Council held its first debate on the subject.  As its engagement grew, so did the relevance of child-protection issues on the global peace and security agenda.  That paved the way for actions to improve protection.  The Council adopted several milestone texts, not least resolution 1882 (2009), which designated the killing and maiming of children, as well as rape and other sexual violence, as critical priorities.  It called on parties to armed conflict to prepare and implement action plans to address those violations.

In an open meeting on 16 June 2010, the Council had before it the Secretary-General’s annual report on the topic (document S/2010/181), including two annexes initially requested as a crucial step in Council resolution 1379 (2001), the first of which lists parties that recruit or use children, kill or maim them, and/or commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against them in situations of armed conflict on the Council’s agenda.  Annex II expands on that list to include those actions against children committed in situations of armed conflict not on the Council agenda.  The report encourages the Council to insist that listed parties prepare and implement concrete, time-bound action plans to halt violations and abuses, and to take measures against any parties that fail to comply.  It also encourages the Council to call upon all such parties to engage with United Nations peacekeeping and/or political missions and country teams in undertaking specific measures to address violations against children for which they are cited.  (See Press Release SC/9956.)

Following a day-long meeting that heard from more than 60 speakers, the Council issued a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2010/10) asserting its strong condemnation of the recruitment, killing, maiming, raping and other abuse of children during armed conflict, and expressed its readiness to take targeted measures against persistent perpetrators of those crimes.  In considering such targeted measures, the Council invited its Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict to cooperate with relevant sanctions committees and their experts.  “The collective voice of the Security Council, guided by the common and moral compunction of humanity to protect its children must be used to make outcasts of those who commit acts against children in war,” Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, stressed during the meeting.

Atul Khare, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said the inclusion of child-protection provisions in peacekeeping mandates had helped the Department of Peacekeeping Operations strengthen its child-protection activities in countries where its missions were deployed.  Child protection advisers were attached to nine peacekeeping operations and extensive training on child-protection issues was under way, he added.

Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

In his report to the Security Council dated 11 November on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (document S/2010/579), the first in 18 months, the Secretary-General drew attention to the devastating consequences for civilians of the continued prevalence of non-international armed conflicts, often marked by the proliferation and fragmentation of non-State armed groups.  That has contributed to the asymmetric nature of conflict in such places such as Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

According to the report, the strategies employed by armed groups seeking to overcome their military inferiority, range from deliberate attacks against civilians, including sexual violence, to attacks on civilian objects, such as schools, to abduction, forced recruitment and using civilians to shield military objectives.  The risks for civilians are further increased as militarily superior parties, in fighting an enemy that is often difficult to identify, respond with means and methods of warfare that may violate the principles of distinction and proportionality, giving rise to further civilian casualties.

The report, the eighth on the subject, was issued in response to Security Council resolution 1894 (2009), whose adoption, the Secretary-General recalls, was a “fitting commemoration of 10 years of thematic Council action on the protection of civilians and a welcome manifestation of its ongoing commitment to that critical issue.  The resolution marked a significant step towards responding to some of the five core challenges of enhancing compliance with international law by parties to conflict; enhancing compliance by non-State armed groups; enhancing protection by United Nations peacekeeping and other relevant missions; enhancing humanitarian access; and enhancing accountability for violations.

Barely two weeks after the report was issued, on 22 November, the Council expressed its deep regret that civilians continued to account for the vast majority of casualties in conflict situations, including as a result of deliberate targeting, indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks and sexual and gender-based violence (see Press Release SC/10089).  Demanding in a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2010/25) that all relevant parties immediately end such practices, the Council recognized that States bore the primary responsibility to protect and ensure the human rights of all individuals within their territories, and reaffirmed its own commitment to addressing the impacts of armed conflict on civilians.

Briefing the Council, Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, said any positive developments in the broader effort to protect civilians had been heavily outweighed by the frequent failures of parties to conflict to abide by their international legal obligation to protect individuals within their territory.  “Where we are unable to promote and encourage compliance with the law, the Council must do more to enforce it,” she said, including by following through on the willingness to respond to conflict in which civilians were targeted or humanitarian assistance deliberately obstructed.

In an open discussion that day, nearly 55 speakers focused on the Secretary-General’s five core challenges, with attention drawn to a particular quandary:  enhancing compliance with international law of non-State armed groups.  The point was made that such interaction could confer unintended legitimacy on violent perpetrators of terrorism.  Debate also centred on the impacts of armed conflict on displacement and on building civilian protection into peacekeeping mandates.

On 7 July, in another day-long debate on the topic, Secretary-General Ban told the Council that it must broaden its focus to include both causative and normative factors of the problem in order to address the “huge common challenge” (see Press Release SC/9973).  While the conduct of hostilities and their immediate consequences must remain a major focus, “that alone would mean treating symptoms rather than causes”, he said, calling for greater attention to such root causes as lack of good governance, competition for resources, and other factors such as ethnicity and the absence of effective security and the rule of law.

John Holmes, then Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefed the Council for the last time in that capacity, saying strides had been made during his tenure in institutionalizing the protection of civilians.  “Nevertheless, I fear all too little has changed for the better on the ground in recent years,” he said, pointing out that civilians accounted for most casualties in armed conflict.  In 2009 alone, thousands of civilian deaths had resulted from conflicts in Gaza, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and elsewhere in 2009 alone, he added.

Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, asserted that, in order to make a real difference on the ground, human rights and humanitarian actors must work together to give effect to the United Nations policy framework.  Monitoring human rights conditions could help “sound an alarm bell” when situations were at risk of degenerating into violence, she said, adding that information gathered by her Office and United Nations human rights mechanisms could be helpful to the Council in that context.

One suggestion emanating from the ensuing discussion was for the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission, created under the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, to investigate alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, whatever the context and whoever the alleged perpetrator.

Women and Peace and Security

With gender-based and sexual violence increasingly recognized as a defining characteristic of contemporary armed conflict, the subject drew the Council’s focused attention in the context of its landmark resolution 1325 (2000), which underlined women’s vital role in conflict solution and mandated a review of the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peacebuilding, and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolution.

On 26 October, the Council marked the tenth anniversary of that historic text and, in a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2010/22) that followed some 90 interventions in a public meeting that day, expressed support for “taking forward” a set of indicators to measure progress in filling urgent gaps in the protection and empowerment of women (see Press Release SC/10071).  The Council noted with grave concern that, despite the normative framework and a wide range of activities spurred by the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000), women and girls were still ravaged by violence, and the participation of women at all stages of peace processes remained too low.  It supported a set of monitoring indicators presented by the Secretary-General and underlined the need for timely and systematic reporting by all actors to make them effective.  It also expressed its intention to convene a high-level review in five years to assess implementation of 1325 (2000).

Addressing that meeting via video message, Secretary-General Ban noted the wide-ranging activities spurred by resolution 1325 (2000), but also pointed out that the decade had been marred by widespread rape, physical abuse and other violations of the rights and physical security of women and children, during and after conflict.

“Women now are watching and waiting,” Margot Wallström, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, told the Council on 17 December as it concluded a two-day open debate on the subject.  She added that, with the Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 1960 (2010) the previous day, the tools to end the menace were available.  (See Press Release SC/10126 and SC/10122.)

In that text, the Council requested the Secretary-General to supply it with detailed information on parties credibly suspected of patterns of sexual violence during armed conflict.  Deeply concerned that the patterns continued, and in some situations were “systematic and widespread, reaching appalling levels of brutality”, it expressed its intention to use such a list of perpetrators as a basis for action, including the consideration of sanctions and other targeted measures.  The Secretary-General thanked Council members for adopting the resolution, saying:  “You are putting in place a vital building block for holding perpetrators accountable,” pointing out that “even now”, armed elements were targeting civilians, raping women, as well as men, and terrorizing entire populations.

The Council also took up the issue earlier in the year, on 27 April, when Ms. Wallström said in a briefing that, far from being a “niche” issue, sexual violence was part of a larger pattern, adding that political and military leaders used rape to achieve their goals (see Press Release SC/9914).  The first gap in United Nations efforts was an analytical one, she said, noting that the Organization had traditionally analysed sexual violence through a gender, reproductive-health and development lens, which often overlooked security factors and actors.  She said her Office planned to launch an analytical inventory of peacekeeping practice to address conflict-related violence.

In a presidential statement issued during that meeting (document S/PRST/2010/8), the Council expressed its intention to take action on a comprehensive set of indicators for use at the global level in tracking implementation of 1325 (2000).

Non-proliferation — Iran

Against a backdrop of some positive momentum in efforts to stabilize international security and head off the potentially catastrophic consequences of the deliberate or accidental use of nuclear weapons, the Security Council met several times under its item on non-proliferation, particularly in the context of Iran’s ongoing programme to enrich uranium — potentially to weapons grade.

Yukio Takusu (Japan), Chairman of the Council’s “1737 Committee” on sanctions against Iran said in a 4 March meeting that the Committee was continuing to explore options for an effective response to a “pattern of repeated violations” of the sanctions, contrary to resolution 1737 (2006).  That text, adopted on 23 December 2006, imposed sanctions on Iran, blocking the import or export of sensitive nuclear materiel and equipment, and freezing the financial assets of persons or entities supporting its proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or the development of nuclear-weapon delivery systems.

Mr. Takasu described the follow-up to an incident involving arms-related materiel from Iran, saying the Committee had issued a second implementation notice urging all States to be alert for similar violations.  It had also stressed that entities involved in evading sanctions would themselves be subject to targeted financial measures.

Following the briefing, the five permanent Council members took the floor to express varying degrees of concern over what some felt were efforts by Iran to circumvent the sanctions and pursue an enrichment programme beyond its energy needs.  Amid calls for additional targeted sanctions, the need to continue political and diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation was also stressed.  (See Press Release SC/9873.)

By 9 June, deeply concerned about Iran’s lack of compliance with its previous resolutions on ensuring the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, the Council adopted resolution 1929 (2010) by 12 in favour to 2 against (Brazil, Turkey), with 1 abstention (Lebanon) to impose additional sanctions, expanding the arms embargo and tightening restrictions on financial and shipping enterprises related to proliferation-sensitive activities (see Press Release SC/9948).  By other terms of the text, the Secretary-General was asked to create an expert panel to monitor implementation of the sanctions.  (He appointed the panel in early November).

The representatives of Brazil and Turkey voiced opposition to the text, saying it contradicted their efforts to realize a negotiated solution through the agreement on the Tehran Research Reactor and the related Tehran Declaration of 17 May, which provided a new opportunity for diplomacy.  Lebanon’s delegate, emphasizing Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, as well as its obligation to adhere to the safeguards regime, said a fuel-swap deal such as the one negotiated with Brazil and Turkey was a way towards a resolution.

The Chairman of the Sanctions Committee briefed three more times in 2010, on 28 June (see Press Release SC/9961), 15 September (Press Release SC/10029), and 10 December (Press Release SC/10109).  In the final briefing, Tsuneo Nishida ( Japan), whose country concluded its two-year term on the Council at the end of the year, stressed the critical need to engage all Member States in implementing the measures intended to encourage Iran’s compliance with Council resolutions.  In his 90-day report, covering the period from 16 September to December, he expressed grave concern that an apparent pattern of violating the arms ban, first highlighted by the Committee a year ago, was continuing.

Following the briefing, the five permanent members welcomed the Secretary-General’s appointment of the expert panel requested in resolution 1929 (2010) and urged stronger compliance with the sanctions, while expressing hopes for resumed dialogue with Iran to resolve the nuclear question.  Delegates of the United Kingdom, France and the United States expressed deep concern about Iran’s continuing nuclear activities and its denial of access to its facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Non-proliferation — Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

On 7 June, the Council extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts monitoring the sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea until 12 June 2011 (see Press Release SC/9946).  Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, it unanimously adopted resolution 1928 (2010), maintaining the current mandate of the Group, which the Council established on 12 June 2009, when the 15-member body condemned a nuclear-weapons test conducted by the East Asian country and toughened the sanctions regime (see Press Release SC/9634).

In a presidential statement on 9 July 2010, (document S/PRST/2010/13), the Council condemned an attack which led to the sinking of the Republic of Korea naval ship Cheonan off the Korean peninsula on 26 March, with the loss of 46 lives (see Press Release SC/9975).  It underscored the importance of preventing further such attacks or other hostilities against that country or in the region, calling for full adherence to the Korean Armistice Agreement and encouraging the settlement of outstanding issues through resumed dialogue.

International Criminal Tribunals

Continuing its support for the battle against impunity and the broader global effort to bolster the development and codification of international law, the Council convened eight times to consider the work of the United Nations war crimes tribunals trying cases stemming, respectively, from the 1994 Rwanda genocide and the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  It also met four times to elect judges to the International Court of Justice.

Capping that work was a 22 December meeting in which the Council decided that the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda should wrap up their cases by December 2014.  The text also established an International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals to handle all remaining legal procedures after that date, and to preserve the respective legacies of those Tribunals.  (See Press Release SC/10141.)

Adopting resolution 1966 (2010) by a vote of 14 in favour, with 1 abstention (Russian Federation), the Council decided that the Mechanism would continue the jurisdiction, rights, obligations and essential functions of the Tribunals, subject to the Statute of the Mechanism and other provisions, as annexed to the text.  The determination of the location of the two branches of the Mechanism would be subject to the conclusion of appropriate arrangements between the United Nations and host countries, and to acceptance by the Security Council.

By other terms, the resolution requested the Secretary-General to prepare, in consultation with the Security Council, procedures for the Tribunals’ archives regarding information security and access, and asked all relevant stakeholders to facilitate the establishment of information and documentation centres.

Explaining his abstention, the Russian Federation’s representative said the Tribunals had had every opportunity to complete their work by the dates already agreed.  The resolution must represent the Council’s “last decision on the matter” and the courts’ work must be fully wound up by 2014, he emphasized.  [Under the Tribunal’s original “completion strategy”, they were supposed to complete investigations by the end of 2004, all trial activities of first instance by the end of 2008, and all work in 2010.]

Just two weeks before that action, as the Council heard a briefing in which Patrick Robinson, President of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, described the pressures under which his staff and judges worked (see Press Release SC/10101).  Frank in his assessment, he said the Tribunal was taking all possible measures to expedite trials without sacrificing due process, but judges were feeling extreme pressure to expedite their work.  “This troubles me,” he said, adding:  “Judges are entitled to work in an environment free from all external pressures, so that their independence is not compromised, or appear to be compromised.”  Despite “Herculean efforts”, some time estimates for the completion strategies had to be pushed back due to such factors as witness intimidation, the non-appearance of witnesses, the complexities associated with self-represented accused, the discovery of new evidence and staff attrition, he explained.

In a similar vein, Dennis Byron, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, stressed that the courts’ significant contribution to international law, and the acceptance of justice as an indispensable element of international peace and stability, must not be forgotten in focusing on completion strategies.  Emphasizing that judgement delivery dates could only be estimated, he maintained that the goal of completing all first-instance trials within the next year could be achieved, but warned that completing a new trial, due to commence in January, by the end of 2011 would be an “ambitious” goal.

During the same meeting, Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor of the former Yugoslavia Tribunal, and Hassan Bubacar Jallow, Chief Prosecutor of the Rwanda Tribunal, presented their sections of the respective reports.

When the Council heard from the four court officials at mid-year, Judge Robinson had declared:  “We at the [former Yugoslavia] Tribunal are dedicated to completing the work entrusted to us so that peace, justice and reconciliation may prevail.  However, we need more support from our parent organ, you, the Security Council […] we are hanging by a thread and we need you to throw us a lifeline.”  Judge Byron appealed for assistance to alleviate staffing shortages and asked that judges’ terms be extended as appropriate.  He said the biggest task ahead was apprehending 11 fugitives who remained at large, which depended on State cooperation in tracking and arresting them.  (See Press Release SC/9957.)

For the balance of the year, the Council set out to facilitate the Tribunals’ work and ease their respective caseloads.  In two meetings held on 14 December, the Council adopted resolutions deciding in the case of the former Yugoslavia Tribunal that, respectively, Judges Kevin Parker and Uldis Kinis could complete the Đorđević case, scheduled for conclusion by the end of February 2011 and the Gotovina et al. case, scheduled for completion by the end of March 2011; and that Rwanda Tribunal Judges Joseph Asoka de Silva and Taghrid Hikmet could complete the Ndindiliyimana et al. case, scheduled to wrap up by March 2011.

It also decided that Rwanda Tribunal Judge Joseph Masanche could complete that Hategekimana case, scheduled to be concluded by the end of January 2011.  The Council further decided that the total number of ad litem judges serving on the Rwanda Tribunal might, from time to time, temporarily exceed the maximum of nine provided for to a maximum of 12, returning to a maximum of nine by 31 December 2011.  (See Press Releases SC/10113 and SC/10114.)

In two meetings on 29 June, the Council extended the terms of office of various Tribunal officials, allowing them time to complete their respective functions.  Unanimously adopting resolution 1931 (2010), it extended the terms of 23 judges at the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, taking note of the court’s own assessment that it was not in a position to complete all work in 2010, and of its President’s concern about the loss of experienced staff.  Unanimously adopting resolution 1932 (2010), the Council extended the terms of 16 judges at the Rwanda Tribunal.  (See Press Release SC/9966 and SC/9967.)

Unanimously adopting resolution 1915 (2010), the Council decided that the total number of ad litem judges at the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia could temporarily exceed the maximum of 12 allowed under Article 12 of the Tribunal’s Statute, to a maximum of 13 at any one time, returning to 12 by 30 June, or upon completion of the Popović case if sooner (see Press Release SC/9884).

As for the International Court of Justice, the Council elected, in a secret ballot held simultaneously with the General Assembly on 9 September, Joan E. Donoghue ( United States) to fill the remainder of the term left vacant by the resignation of Judge Thomas Buergenthal, also of the United States.  She would serve until 5 February 2015.  The Council had set the date of that election with its adoption of resolution 1926 (2010) on 2 June.  (See Press Releases SC/9941 and SC/10023.)

In a vote held simultaneously with the General Assembly on 29 June, the Security Council elected Xue Hanqin of China, by secret ballot, to the International Court of Justice, filling the remainder of the term left vacant by the resignation of Shi Jiuyong ( China), Judge, Vice-President and former President of the Court.  The Council had adopted resolution 1940 (2010) on 18 March, setting the date for the action.  (See Press Releases SC/9883 and SC/9964.)

Regional Cooperation

Current crises facing the United Nations could only be met through strong partnership at all levels, the Secretary-General asserted at a 13 January meeting of the Security Council (see Press Release SC/9840).  For two days prior, he said, he and the heads of 11 regional and subregional organizations had held a very fruitful retreat, but were only just beginning to realize what cooperation among them all could accomplish.  “We can and must go farther still,” he told the Council with the heads of those organizations present.

Following presentations, in which the officials described their respective activities in the area of peace and security, their past and current cooperation with the United Nations, and their commitment to enhancing that cooperation, the Council issued a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2010/1) expressing its intention to consider further steps to promote closer and more operational cooperation between the world body and regional organizations in the fields of early warning, prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding in addition to ensuring the coherence, synergy and collective effectiveness of their efforts.

The Council welcomed the existing strong cooperation initiatives between the United Nations and regional bodies and commended ongoing efforts by the Secretariat to consolidate those partnerships, including through the Secretary-General’s January retreat.  Reaffirming its commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes, the Council acknowledged the important contribution of regional organizations in that regard, saying they were “well positioned to understand the root causes of many conflicts and other security challenges”.

Council members heard statements delivered on behalf of the League of Arab States, the African Union Commission, the Association of South-East Asian Nations, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization of American States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Pacific Islands Forum and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Less than a month later, on 5 February, the Council heard a briefing by Kanat Saudabayev, Secretary of State/Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, speaking as Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  He said that strengthening that organization’s role in the European security architecture and improving its partnership with the United Nations in tackling threats to global peace and security would be key priorities for his Government in 2010, as the country assumed the regional body’s leadership.

“The OSCE should become a meaningful platform for common security,” he continued, highlighting that vital objective of his country’s term at the head of the organization.  Noting that Kazakhstan was the first Central Asian and post-Soviet nation to chair the OSCE, he touched on a host of other priorities, among them, bolstering security in the South Caucasus and Afghanistan, combating terrorism, curbing weapons proliferation, promoting human rights goals, and pressing for broader implementation of United Nations resolutions.  (See Press Release SC/9857.)

Small Arms

Having remained seized of the destabilizing effects of small arms and light weapons since its first debate on the subject, in 1999, the Council capped an open debate on 19 March with a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2010/6) expressing its grave concern over the trafficking of small arms and light weapons, particularly in Central Africa — the focus of the meeting under Gabon’s Presidency — and encouraging States in that subregion to join forces in order fully to implement measures to curb the illicit trade and create mechanisms and regional networks for sharing information on their circulation and trafficking.

Alarmed about illicit transfers of small arms in contravention of export bans, the Council encouraged the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to help countries in that subregion to implement arms embargoes, and encouraged committees charged with monitoring such measures in Central Africa, and in neighbouring countries, to create channels of communication with the subregional body and the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa.  Council members underscored the vital importance of effective regulations and controls to prevent the diversion or re-export of arms.  They called for the creation of a Central African subregional register of arms dealers, as well as a legally binding instrument to control small arms and light weapons, their ammunition and the equipment for their manufacture.  (See Press Release SC/9886.)


Determined to send a unified, clear, principled and immutable message that terrorism is unacceptable no matter the perpetrator or justification, the Security Council was seized of the matter throughout the year, responding to the series of attacks that once again pockmarked the calendar.  It did so mainly in statements to the press, the first on 29 March in response to the deadly Moscow bombings (see Press Release SC/9895); on 12 July in the aftermath of the Kampala bombings (Press Release SC/9980); on 16 July following the terrorist attacks in Iran (Press Release SC/9986); on 13 September after the deadly Vladikavkaz bombing (Press Release SC/10025); on 4 October to the Abuja bombings (Press Release SC/10048); on 25 October in reaction to the terrorist attack in Herat (Press Release SC/10070); and on 10 November in the wake of the spate of terrorist attacks in Iraq (Press Release SC/10081).

Perhaps the centrepiece of the Council’s 2010 public counter-terrorism effort was its ministerial-level meeting on 27 September, in which it noted in a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2010/19) that the terrorist threat had become more diffuse and that terrorist acts motivated by intolerance or extremism had increased (see Press Release SC/10038).  At the same time, it recognized that the scourge would not be defeated by military force, law-enforcement measures or intelligence operations alone.

The Council underlined instead, the need to address conditions conducive to terrorism’s spread, including by strengthening efforts for the successful prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts; promoting the rule of law; protecting human rights; and ensuring good governance, tolerance and inclusiveness in order to offer a viable alternative to those potentially susceptible to radicalization and recruitment as terrorists.  It stressed that all Member States must cooperate fully in order to find, deny safe haven for, and bring to justice any person supporting, facilitating, participating or attempting to participate in the financing, planning, preparation or commission of terrorist acts or provision of safe haven.

On 20 December, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1963 (2010) directing the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) to continue to operate as a special political mission under the policy guidance of the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee for another three years, through 31 December 2013 (see Press Release SC/10133).  It urged the CTED to strengthen its role in facilitating technical assistance for the implementation of resolution 1373 (2001) — which, among other things, obliges all States to criminalize assistance for terrorist activities, and which established the Counter-Terrorism Committee — and to intensify cooperation with relevant international, regional and subregional organizations, with a view to enhancing Member States’ capacity to implement fully resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005).

Earlier, on 15 November, the Council held its regular six-month open briefing with the Chairpersons of its three counter-terrorism committees, who stressed the continued need for multilateral cooperation in the fight against the global scourge and assessed efforts to make the subsidiary bodies more effective, coordinated and transparent (see Press Release SC/10085).

During a similar open meeting on 11 May, participants stressed the continuing need for a unified, global fight against terrorism, and welcomed efforts to make the three counter-terrorism committees more effective, coordinated and transparent (see Press Release SC/9923).

In 2010, as in all years since the creation of the Security Council list designating individuals, groups and entities for measures under sanctions applied against the Taliban, Al-Qaida and their associates, the Council approved adjustments to its entries, reviewed its list, and made available new standard forms for listing.

The adjustments were issued in the following Press Releases:  SC/10144; SC/10127; SC/10125; SC/10103; SC/10098; SC/10077; SC/10066; SC/10047; SC/10042; SC/10027; SC/10024; SC/10013; SC/10007; SC/9999; SC/9998; SC/9996; SC/9993; SC/9989; SC/9983; SC/9979; SC/9977; SC/9960; SC/9945; SC/9924; SC/9912; SC/9911; SC/9909; SC/9903; SC/9896; SC/9894; SC/9893; SC/9879; SC/9878; SC/9877; SC/9872; SC/9852; SC/9853; SC/9848; and SC/9838.

Peace and Security in Africa

In a meeting on 22 October, Council members reaffirmed the need to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for regional organizations when they took on peacekeeping under a United Nations mandate.  They considered, in particular, that the African Union was contributing to the maintenance of international peace and security by undertaking peacekeeping operations authorized by the Security Council.  (See Press Release SC/10067.)

The meeting culminated in the issuance of a presidential statement (document S/PRST/21), by which Council reaffirmed the importance of, and its commitment to, strengthening its partnership with the African Union Peace and Security Council, by reviewing the degree of cooperation between them on conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, including the maintenance of constitutional order and the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Africa.  It underscored the importance of expedited implementation of the 2006 United Nations-African Union 10-year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union, in particular making the African Union Standby Force and the continental early-warning system operational.

Preventive Diplomacy in Africa

In a day-long debate on optimizing preventive diplomacy tools on the African continent, the Council heard Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro underline, on 16 July, the case for preventive diplomacy on moral, political and financial grounds.  Speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General, she said that in Africa — where the cost of war had cancelled out an estimated 15 years worth of development — recent years had seen the emergence of stronger policy frameworks favouring conflict prevention and operationally better equipped to respond.  The United Nations had set up regional diplomacy and peacemaking offices on the ground, and was helping Governments enact programmes to resolve disputes and tackle the structural causes of conflict.  (See Press Release SC/9984.)

During the debate, speakers surveyed the wide range of preventive measures and peacekeeping initiatives undertaken by the African Union and subregional organizations, and called for continued support for joint efforts between the regional body and the United Nations.  The meeting culminated in the issuance of a presidential statement (document S/PRST/14) in which the Council recognized the importance of a comprehensive strategy for preventing armed conflict, and encouraged the development of measures to address the root causes of conflict in order to ensure sustainable peace.  Reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in that effort, it reiterated its support for the conflict-prevention efforts of regional and subregional organizations and stressed the importance of continually engaging them, as well as national Governments, in preventive diplomacy.


During a day-long debate on 16 April, the Council heard from some 48 speakers who emphasized that peacekeeping and peacebuilding were parallel processes.  Delegates urged the Council to involve the Peacebuilding Commission at the earliest stages of peacekeeping by seeking its advice while designing mandates for integrated peacekeeping missions.  “We must seize the crucial opportunity after the end of a major conflict,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the outset of the meeting.  “We must respond early and robustly.”

A presidential statement (S/PRST/2010/7), the Council highlighted the importance of the peaceful settlement of political disputes in post-conflict States, and of addressing the roots of violent conflict as essential elements for achieving sustainable peace.  It also underscored the need to end impunity; hold free, fair and transparent elections; and launch peacebuilding assistance at the earliest possible stage.  (See Press Release SC/9907.)

During a debate on post-conflict peacebuilding on 13 October, the Secretary-General noted that peacebuilding efforts had in recent years become more integrated, coherent and flexible, but still needed to show more significant results more quickly.  “We are making progress but let us remember that for people who have suffered through conflict, progress can’t come fast enough.”  He said United Nations leaders were now deployed quickly to crisis situations, but they needed the support of properly trained and equipped teams.  (See Press Release SC/10050.)

By a presidential statement issued at the same meeting (document S/PRST/2010/20), the Council reiterated its request to the Secretary-General to move forward with efforts to further clarify roles and responsibilities in core peacebuilding areas, to strengthen capacities and ensure greater accountability in the delivery of assistance.  It also reiterated the importance of national ownership, as well as early and predictable funding for those efforts.

On 29 October, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1947 (2010), by which it affirmed the importance of the Peacebuilding Commission in addressing the needs of States emerging from conflict (see Press Release SC/10074).  It requested the United Nations system to take forward wide-ranging recommendations contained in a review of the Organization’s peacebuilding support, spanning all levels of the peacebuilding architecture, from operations in the field to the composition of the Peacebuilding Support Office, to cooperation between partners and funding.  The review recommended a greater focus on capacity-building in the countries concerned, alongside closer coordination with critical partners such as international financial institutions.


“Peacekeeping activities must pave the way for what comes next,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council on 12 February, as the body met to discuss transition and exit strategies for United Nations peacekeeping operations (see Press Release SC/9860).  During that meeting, the Council issued a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2) stressing that the overall objective of those strategies must be to create the conditions for sustainable peace on the ground before drawing down a mission.

Also by the statement, the Council stressed the need for clear and achievable mandates, as well as precise Secretariat recommendations for adjustments at least a month before mandate renewals, taking into account developments on the ground, as well as the views of the host country, troop- and police-contributing countries, and other relevant parties.  Calling on all Member States and partners to promote coherence of their efforts with those of the United Nations on the ground, it vowed to enhance coordination with the Peacebuilding Commission and requested the Secretariat to plan peacebuilding tasks in phases with clear objectives.

Addressing the Council on 6 August, Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that the expansive “surge” in peacekeeping over the past years had reached a plateau, and the priority now was to consolidate existing missions and accelerate reforms.  More than 120,000 peacekeepers were deployed around the world and greater effectiveness was crucial to meeting the urgent challenges of protecting civilians, he stressed.  (See Press Release SC/10006.)

Also briefing the Council were the force commanders of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the United Nations missions in the Sudan, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).

Security Council Missions to Africa

Continuing its practice of undertaking missions to specific countries and regions to gather first-hand information about improved conditions or lingering challenges, the Security Council made two trips to Africa in 2010, visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo in mid-May and Sudan and Uganda in early October.

Reporting to the wider Council during a public meeting upon her return from the 4-10 October mission to Sudan, Susan Rice ( United States) said the 15-nation body must remain united in its support for the timely holding of the referendum on the political status of South Sudan - set for 9 January - and ensure compliance with all regional agreements.  She recalled that the Council mission had been met in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, by crowds lining the streets, “gripped with fever” over the vote.  However, that enthusiasm was balanced with trepidation that the North might be preparing for war, she cautioned.

For that reason, Ms. Rice said, officials of the Juba Government had expressed the desire for a buffer zone, as well as concerns about the slowness of negotiations over outstanding issues.  However, they had assured the Council that would not unilaterally declare independence if the referendum was delayed, but would hold their own referendum, to include the southern diaspora, as well as current residents.

Mark Lyall Grant ( United Kingdom), leader of the Sudan leg of the mission, reported on its visit to Darfur, where Council members had met with Ibrahim Gambari, Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative, and senior staff of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).  Those staff had pointed to a lack of access to some areas in their work to protect civilians due to restrictions and continued clashes.  While at UNAMID headquarters, the mission had received news of the kidnapping of a UNAMID staff member in Al Fasher, he reported.

During a visit to a camp for internally displaced persons, Council members had heard more serious concerns about restrictions on UNAMID and attacks on civilians and peacekeepers, he continued.  Meeting later with Government officials, Council members had urged support for UNAMID and development, and expressed concern about the upsurge in violence in Darfur.  They had urged all parties to join in the peace process and ensure progress.  In Khartoum, the mission had met with Vice-President Ali Osman Taha and Foreign Minister Ali Karti, who had confirmed the Government’s recognition of the need for the timely holding of the referendum, in line with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Reporting on the Kampala visit, Ruhakana Rugunda ( Uganda), who had led that portion of the mission, spoke in his national capacity, saying that Council’s purpose in his country had been to reiterate support for improved relations among countries in the region, as well as for action against armed groups there, including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).  He said the mission had also reiterated its support for the Sudanese peace processes, as well as for the Djibouti Peace Process and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  Council members had recognized the important contribution by the regional service centre in Entebbe to the work of United Nations missions in the region.

The mission had met with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who had affirmed the importance of full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and of a free, transparent and timely referendum in Sudan, warning that any attempt to disrupt the referendum was a recipe for renewed conflict.  (See Press Release SC/10052.)

As for its “intense but useful” visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 13-15 May, Gérard Araud (France), leader of that leg, said that since the Council would soon have to take a decision on the future of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), the mission had discussed with President Joseph Kabila, other Congolese leaders and members of civil society, the means by which to achieve the common objective of restoring State sovereignty and stability over the national territory.

The role that the United Nations could play in support of that objective could only be carried out through a stable relationship with the Congolese authorities, he emphasized.  One of the lessons that the mission had drawn from its numerous meetings was that conditions in the country had evolved in a positive way, though they remained fragile.  The humanitarian and human rights situations were particularly worrying, he said, underlining also the importance of addressing impunity on the part of the perpetrators of sexual violence.

Another lesson was that any decision on the United Nations presence in the country should take into account the situation on the ground, so as to prevent new instability, he said, going on to underline the crucial challenge of security-sector reform in that regard, because the country still lacked an effective army.  Taking responsibility for that situation, the Congolese authorities had confirmed their desire to professionalize the army through bilateral cooperation.  However, they still required United Nations support on other issues of security-sector reform, such as the training of police and reforming the judicial sector.  (See Press Release SC/9931.)

Organized Crime

Following a briefing by Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on threats to global peace and security posed by drug trafficking and other organized criminal activity, the Council issued a presidential statement (document S/2009/PRST/4) on 24 February, calling on Member States to increase global and regional cooperation to tackle the scourge.  (See Press Release SC/9867.)

Describing transnational threats as a “growing concern” that could threaten the security of countries on the Council’s agenda, including those attempting to recover from conflict, the Council noted with concern the increasing link between drug trafficking and the financing of terrorism, the emergence of cybercrime, and the increase in kidnapping and hostage-taking to raise funds or gain political concessions.

In his briefing, Mr. Costa urged the international community to shore up its legal defences against organized crime networks, warning that global mafias particularly exploited the instability caused by conflict, while Council members highlighted successful efforts to curb poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and to rout drug traffickers in West Africa.

Opening the meeting, the Secretary-General warned that cooperation among States was lagging behind that displayed by organized crime networks, and emphasized that Member States must unite for a comprehensive fight against organized crime.

Rule of Law

During a day-long debate on 29 June, the Council issued a presidential statement on promoting and strengthening the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security (document S/PRST/2010/11), by which it reaffirmed its strong opposition to impunity for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.  (See Press Release SC/9965.)

According to the statement, the Council considered sanctions an important tool in maintaining and restoring international peace and security, while reiterating the need to ensure that such measures were carefully targeted in support of clear objectives and designed to minimize possible adverse consequences.  It welcomed the establishment of the Rule of Law Coordination Resources Group in 2007, to bolster efforts to ensure a coherent, coordinated United Nations response to rule-of-law issues on the Council’s agenda.

Intercultural Dialogue

In a discussion convened by Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 26 May, Prime Minister Hariri described dialogue in culture, society and politics as the path to preserving unity and becoming enriched by plurality.  It could build confidence and new relationships in the context of Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands, and was necessary for solving crises and achieving genuine rapprochement between the Western and Muslim worlds, he said.  (See Press Release SC/9936.)

Secretary-General Ban said dialogue could promote reconciliation in the aftermath of conflict and introduce moderate voices in polarized debates, serving as an antidote “at a time when prejudice and hatred are all too common, when extremists seek new recruits through incitement and identity-based appeal, when politicians use divisiveness as a strategy to win elections”.

Council members described their national experiences of turning diversity into benefits through dialogue, though some emphasized that it could only be truly effective if it was frank and inclusive of all sectors of society, particularly women.

Working Methods

During the Council’s open debate on its working methods — only the third such meeting in the body’s nearly 65-year existence, the wider United Nations membership weighed in on the crucial necessity of making the Council’s activities more open and transparent, while maintaining effectiveness and efficiency.  Among the more than 50 speakers taking the floor on 22 April, representatives of elected Council members and non-Council States said the 15-nation organ’s deliberations on everything from the content of its resolutions, to sanctions and peacekeeping mandates should be open to genuine input from all Member States, “and not [take place] in the exclusive domain of a few”.  (See Press Release SC/9910.)

Turkey’s representative captured the general tenor of the day-long debate, declaring:  “The Council belongs to all of us, not only to the 15 but to the entire UN membership.”  He was among those who said that interacting better with the wider membership meant that the Council must hold more open meetings, as opposed to closed-door consultations; have a closer working relationship with troop- and police-contributing countries; and hold more interactive dialogue with countries on its agenda.

Germany’s representative said the question of working methods should not be de-linked from the overall reform debate, echoing the views of several delegates.  “To improve working methods without reforming Security Council structures would ultimately create a source of political frustration of the general membership and risk eroding the authority of the Council,” he declared.

To those points, Italy’s representative added:  “The search for innovations in the Council’s working methods had been promoted most enthusiastically by non-permanent Council members, and a key role in that was played, as well, by non-Council-member small States.  That was understandable as the current exclusionary practices make Council membership virtually off-limits for them.”

South Africa’s representative, while welcoming the “modest” improvements in the Council’s working methods since the last open debate on the topic, in 2008, reminded delegations that the Charter stated that the Council acted on behalf of the wider United Nations membership, which had the right to be kept informed.  Increasing the Council’s transparency, “which is not yet at a sufficient level”, would contribute to the body’s greater credibility, he said.

Many speakers also called for a closer relationship with the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, regular consultations with regional and subregional organizations such as the African Union, and more “Arria formula” meetings with the opportunity to hear the views of non-member stakeholders and civil society groups.

The meeting heard further calls for the Council to review and take more serious steps to actively implement the measures set out in its Presidential Note 507 (documents S/2006/507 and S/2010 507) on efforts to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the Council’s work, as well as interaction and dialogue with non-members.

Among the permanent Council members taking the floor, France’s representative said the working methods must allow the Council to act as effectively, transparently and credibly as possible.  “Effectiveness is by no means opposed to openness, quite the contrary,” he said, pointing out that communication was essential to formulating and implementing Council actions.  A good balance between public and private meetings must be maintained, he stressed, advocating a flexible approach suited to each situation, without the need to codify such an approach.

While welcoming the opportunity to hear the views of the wider membership, the Russian Federation’s representative emphasized that decisions on the matter could only be taken by Council members.

Many of the concerns raised during the meeting centred on the Security Council’s annual report to the General Assembly, which many delegations said should be a critical analysis of the 15-nation organ’s work rather than a mere listing of meetings and topics.  The Council unanimously adopted the report of its work for the period 1 August 2009 to 31 July 2010, in a meeting on 28 October.  (See Press Release SC/10073.)

At that time, the representative of Nigeria, a non-permanent Council member, recalled that an informal meeting with Member States on 21 October had not only been useful in fostering a closer relationship between members and non-members, but had also — in the view of participants — enhanced the Council’s openness and transparency.

The Council had subsequently presented its annual report to the General Assembly plenary on 11 November.  (See Press Release GA/11022.)

As for other procedural and administrative matters, on 20 December, outgoing members of the Security Council — Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda — delivered briefings on the work of subsidiary bodies they had chaired during their respective two-year terms.

Specifically, Austria’s representative reported on the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005), which had imposed sanctions on those “impeding the peace process” in Darfur, as well as the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals.  Japan’s representative described the activities of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), which had placed sanctions on Iran in connection to its nuclear programme, as well as those of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations and the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions.

In addition, Mexico’s representative briefed on the Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea, and on the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.  Turkey’s representative reported on the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006), which had imposed a set of sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the aftermath of that nation’s claimed nuclear weapons test, and on the Working Group established pursuant to resolution 1566 (2004), which aimed to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts.  Finally, Uganda’s representative described the activities of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa.  (See Press Release SC/10131.)

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.