UNSC Rotating Presidency for July: Brazil

Security Council President Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho on Programme of Work for July

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Brazil holds the UN Security Council’s rotating presidency for July, 2022. During a Press Conference on July I, Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho, the rotating President of the UNSC said the Council will focus on issues including the crises in Ukraine and Syria, as well as renewals of a raft of peacekeeping or special political missions and sanctions regimes.

UNSC President emphasized his delegation’s intention to establish a balance between open and closed meetings. While journalists like open meetings for their transparency, he pointed out that closed sessions are more appropriate for delicate and challenging issues.

He also said his intention is to foster greater cooperation between the Council and other bodies of the United Nations, especially the Peacebuilding Commission, as it can make a comprehensive contribution to discussions on renewal of peacekeeping and political missions. Brazil’s priorities, include also incorporating a gender perspective as a cross-cutting issue throughout Brazil’s presidency and involving civil society briefers withing meetings whenever possible.

Among the signature events, he cited the adoption of a presidential statement, the renewal of four peacekeeping or special political missions, renewal of two sanctions regimes and one authorization of humanitarian assistance.

Mr. Filho then responded to several questions posed by media correspondents in person and virtually.

Ukraine: the most visible issue on the Council agenda

Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho affirmed that the Ukraine issue is the most visible item on Council agenda today. A meeting will focus on food security, which impacts not only the region’s populations but the whole world. The precise date would depend on thei evolution of ongoing negotiations.

Noting that the Council has “underperformed” in its mandate to maintain international peace and security, he said he aimed to have it focus on concrete discussions on the food security issue and how to alleviate it. To a follow-up question regarding a closed meeting on Ukraine, he said the format has not been agreed upon and that a private meeting is possible. Ukraine would be invited to participate.

Asked about plans to transcend Council divisions and how to reform it, he said it is clear that the Ukraine crisis has foreground rifts in the 15-member organ, but the only way towards solutions “is to get people around the table to talk — because finger-pointing is not helpful in any way”.  While there has been no progress on urgently required reform of the Council, emerging economies must play a more important role. Negotiations have been going on for 30 years, Ambassador said., Ambassado “We are still hopeful,” he added.

Syria: chemical weapons and humanitarian aid

Turning to Syria, he noted that, on 10 July, the Council will hold consultations on the chemical weapons file on that country, while on 13 July, it will address the political and humanitarian aspects of the Syrian crisis.

Another correspondent asked for an update on discussions towards a resolution on cross-border delivery of aid to north-west Syria and the prospect of renewing the current mandate on the one border crossing from Türkiye. Mr. Filho said that Ireland and Norway are co-sponsors of the cross-border draft, but as it is a sensitive and contentious issue, he was hesitant to comment on its terms. He also expressed hope that the draft will be accomplished “without too much suffering” and within the timelines.

A busy month

13 July will also include a meeting on troop- and police-contributing countries to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), discussions on the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) in Yemen and the sanctions regime in Libya

On 7 July, a Council briefing will be followed by consultations on the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) — and he had his “fingers crossed” for the adoption of a renewal of humanitarian assistance to Syria, both cross-border and cross-line, as the current mandate one expires on 10 July. The month will also feature the regular monthly meeting on Yemen on 11 July and a high-level open debate on strategic communications in peacekeeping operations on 12 July, as the issue of communication with local communities on goals and operations is crucial to their success.

Turning to other matters, he said the Council will also hold meetings on Colombia, children and armed conflict, Libya and Sudan.

Brazil will also showcase its culture and history with an event on 12 July, as 2022 marks the bicentennial of the country’s independence. His delegation will pay tribute to Ruy Barbosa, head of Brazil’s delegation to the Hague Peace Conference in 1907.

A correspondent, commenting on Mr. Filho’s mention of Mr. Barbosa, asked if there were any women behind Brazil’s diplomacy. He noted that the Council, on 24 June, adopted a resolution on women in diplomacy, citing three women in Brazilian diplomatic history. He included Maria José de Castro, the first female civil servant in 1918 whose appointment went all the way to the President’s desk because “having a female civil servant at that time was something quite extraordinary”.

North Korea’s nuclear testing

One correspondent, reporting that experts on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea expect a nuclear test this month, asked about the possibility of increased sanctions on that State. He responded that he cannot pre-judge what his Government may decide but that Brazil has unequivocally condemned every violation of non-proliferation to date.

Further asked about non-proliferation, he said that issue was not on the regular agenda but if anything happens, the Council would respond. He noted that his country’s President [Jair Bolsonaro] intends to attend the high-level general debate of the seventy-seventh session in September; that may be complicated as Brazil will hold general elections two weeks afterwards.


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