Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for November

1 November 2017

Press Conference by Security Council President on Work Programme for November

Refugees, trafficking in persons and other effects of current conflicts would be a thematic focus of the Security Council in November, Sebastiano Cardi (Italy), Council President for the month, said at a press briefing today at Headquarters.

Presenting the programme of work for November, Mr. Cardi stressed:  “Movements of population, the causes and the security implications are of great concern to the Council.”  He highlighted the continuity of concerns between a ministerial‑level briefing on security challenges in the Mediterranean, to be held on 17 November, and an open debate on trafficking in persons in conflict situations, planned for 21 November.

He also underscored that the Council saw trafficking in persons and kidnapping for ransom as both results and causes of conflict; often the profits funded terrorist activities and other violence.  There were discussions being held on a resolution or other possible outcome of that meeting.

In addition, he announced that on 2 November, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, would brief the 15‑member organ on the global refugee crisis.  While he noted that it had been a long time since the High Commissioner had appeared in the Chamber, he emphasized that the current importance of the refugee issue made it imperative to focus on the overall picture of international displacement caused by conflict.

Trafficking of cultural heritage by terrorist groups in situations of armed conflict would be discussed on 30 November, he continued, noting that a resolution or other outcome might result from that meeting as well.

He also said that a meeting on the work of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee would be held 16 November and would focus on the political process aiming to unify the country.  Although trafficking in persons and migration through the country might come up, that was not the focus, he said, in response to correspondents’ questions.  As well, the semi‑annual briefing on Libyan cases referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) would be presented on 8 November.

Mr. Cardi highlighted other events this month, including election of judges to the International Court of Justice, a briefing on police contingents in United Nations peacekeeping — which he said would occur during the annual police week that brought commissioners to Headquarters — and briefings on the humanitarian and political situation in Syria, the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict, and developments in Iraq and terrorism.

No visiting missions by Council members had been planned for November due to what he called a very packed schedule of issues to discuss, he said.

Asked about the Iraq meeting, Mr. Cardi said that the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission (UNAMI) would be discussing the situation in the country following the latest developments; it would not be specifically focused on the Kurds or other minorities.

Answering questions on Syria, he said that the common feeling among Council members was that every initiative that could help broker a political resolution was useful, and that all the processes should be connected.  In that light, the Council remained united in its support for the efforts of Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Asked about the renewal of the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Syria, he said that there was not yet a draft of a resolution.  Members were examining the Mechanism’s latest report and discussing the issue.  Consensus on the issue was important, as it was in all areas, and he would encourage it as Council President. “If we’re not able to keep unity, the Council will be less strong”, he said.

Asked if there could be action on Myanmar and the plight of the Rohingya minority there, Mr. Cardi said that the Council was watching the situation closely and also following regional efforts.  He added that High Commissioner Grandi had been in Bangladesh recently and he might address that situation specifically, although his briefing would be on the situation of refugees worldwide.

In response to other questions, he said the Council was also keeping a close eye on Yemen and had agreed that an update on the humanitarian situation and possibly the political one could be useful.  The Secretary‑General’s Special Envoy for Burundi, Michel Kafando, would be briefing on his efforts to encourage the parties there to find a solution; in a meeting on the Central African Republic the appropriate capacities for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country would be discussed.

Replying to additional questions, he said that there were no plans to discuss the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration in relationship to the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict.  All members hoped that the monthly briefing would bring news of some progress in improvement on the ground or reinvigoration of the peace process.

When asked about meetings on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said that the Council would be briefed by the Chairman of the 1718 Sanctions Committee and would follow the security situation closely.  The Committee was monitoring the situation to ensure that sanctions did not have an adverse humanitarian effect in the country.

He said he did not think that the Council or its Committees were refusing to hear from representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea because of a concern for unity.  There were multiple opportunities for contact between those representatives and the Council, he stated.

For the full programme of work, please see www.un.org/en/sc/programme/.

For information media. Not an official record.