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1 February 2021

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

The Security Council’s agenda for February will feature two major meetings — one on climate security risks and the other on equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in conflict-affected areas, its President for the month said during a video press conference today.

Briefing on the organ’s February programme of work, Council President Barbara Woodward (United Kingdom) said her delegation will focus on three “Cs” — climate, COVID-19 and conflict — and bring in the perspectives of youth as many global challenges are intergenerational.  Her delegation also aims to make the organ’s work as transparent as possible.

The high-level open meeting on security risks in climate–vulnerable contexts, scheduled for 23 February, will be chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and explore the linkages between climate and security, she said, citing the Secretary-General of the United Nations as saying “making peace with nature is the defining task of the twenty-first century”.

On 18 February, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair a briefing on equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.  “No one is safe until everyone is safe,” she said, explaining that the meeting will consider the security implications of COVID‑19 vaccines not rolled out in conflict-affected areas.

On conflict, she said the Council will hold meetings on Syria’s chemical weapons programmes, political and humanitarian situations, respectively, on 3, 9 and 25 February.  On Myanmar, the Council will convene closed consultations on 2 February, given the developments in that country over the weekend.

On 10 February, the Council will hear a biannual briefing on terrorist threats, particularly those posed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh).  The issue of prosecuting foreign terrorist fighters will be addressed in the meeting.

Also on the agenda are a monthly update on Yemen on 16 February and a quarterly update on the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) on 17 February.  Several meetings are scheduled on Somalia, including for renewing the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  Briefings on Haiti and the Central African Republic will be held, respectively, on 22 and 24 February.  A quarterly update on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will be addressed in a closed meeting on 25 February.

Responding to questions about the Council’s consideration of Myanmar, she said that the meeting will be closed to allow for frank discussion and the agenda is yet to be finalized.  Asked if sanctions are being considered, she said that the Council will discuss a range of measures that could help efforts to release civilian and civil society leaders, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and bring that country back to democracy.  As opposed to what individual countries might do bilaterally, the Council will discuss measures at its disposal, she added.  Even prior to the coup d’état, the United Kingdom was planning to put Myanmar on the agenda as there had been allegations related to elections and other developments since the last Council meeting on that country in September 2020.  In the end, Council members agreed to move up the meeting from 4 to 2 February due to developments over the weekend.

On a question about the detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny by the Russian Federation’s authorities, she said the issue is not on the agenda, but drew attention to the statement issued by the Group of Seven industrialized countries.

On Somalia, she said that, with the 8 February deadline for holding elections approaching, not holding the polls will increase the risks to security and stability there.  In addition, peacekeepers will be under additional pressure, she added.

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

For information media. Not an official record.