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3 May 2021

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

The Security Council will hold two open debates and more than 20 meetings, in virtual format in May, despite members’ preference for in-person gatherings amid the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in New York, its President for the month said today at a Headquarters press conference announcing its programme of work.

Zhang Jun (China) said four priorities will drive the Council’s agenda in May:  upholding multilateralism; addressing conflict and post-pandemic recovery in Africa; settling political “hotspot” issues; and examining how the United Nations can better tackle increasingly complex challenges.  China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi will chair a briefing on 7 May on multilateralism and a high-level open debate on 19 May to examine how to best help African nations’ post-pandemic recovery and address conflict.

The Council will also hold more than 20 open and closed meetings focusing on nations affected by conflict or tensions, from Bosnia and Herzegovina on 4 May to Yemen on 12 May.  Briefings will be held on the following United Nations operations:  Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL (UNITAD), United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in the Sudan (UNITAMS), United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

The 15-member organ will hold several meetings to examine how the United Nations can better tackle complex challenges.  An Arria‑formula meeting on 17 May will focus on the impact of emerging technologies, and on 24 May, the Council will convene a meeting on the safety and security of peacekeepers to encourage relevant parties to coordinate better on related issues.

Members, who met earlier today to approve a programme of work, largely expressed a desire to open the Council Chambers for in-person meetings following the Secretariat’s recent indication that Headquarters will further ease pandemic‑related restrictions by July, the organ’s President said.  Recalling the General Assembly’s meeting on the issue earlier today, he shared his intention to hold as many as three in-person meetings in May, with guidance coming from the United Nations Medical Unit and the City of New York.

During the month, the Council aims at addressing issues not on its agenda, responding on the basis of the situation on the ground, the Council President continued.  China will aim at maintaining the Council’s openness, transparency and inclusiveness, including outreach to listen to various representatives and their concerns, holding interactive dialogues with civil society and working towards a gender balance among briefers.  The Council will also examine issues relating to women and children when discussing conflicts in all parts of the world, including such concerns as sexual violence, civilian protection and female participation in all processes.

Responding to questions about Myanmar, he said the Council has been following the situation since February, having held meetings each month and issued statements on the matter.  The latest meeting had focused on the diplomatic efforts led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), welcoming its five-point statement.  This represents a new starting point, with hopes for further de-escalation of tensions and less violence, he said, adding that the Council will continue to support the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar and ongoing diplomatic efforts.  Finding a political solution is key, he said.

Regarding queries about recent developments surrounding the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, he said the Council must have more information about the results of a recent review of the situation, which may likely give more importance to diplomatic efforts over the use of extreme pressure.  Based on past years, diplomatic efforts represent the right direction, he stressed, expressing hope that the parties will refrain from taking any actions that could jeopardize dialogue.  In terms of sanctions, he referred to relevant Council resolutions containing such provisions and elements related to the adjustment and lifting of embargoes.

For the full programme of work, please see:  www.un.org/securitycouncil/events/calendar.

For information media. Not an official record.