In June, Estonia is the President of the UN Security Council. Traditionally, June has been the busiest month in the Security Council calendar when it comes to adopting resolutions and extending peacekeeping operations. The organisation of the Estonian Presidency continues to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and holding physical meetings at the UN headquarters, including in the Security Council Chamber, depends on the epidemiological situation in New York City.
UN SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY?
Every month, one of the 15 states in the UN Security Council holds the presidency. It is the task of the president to be a professional partner in organising Council meetings and excel at transparent and smooth administration.
The president composes a work programme that is adopted by the members of the Council on the first day of the presidency. While many meetings and mandate extensions are automatically included in the programme, every president has a chance to shape the agenda with their priorities. This is usually done by holding meetings on important issues.
PRIORITIES OF THE ESTONIAN PRESIDENCY
We base our actions on five priorities:
- We will bring high-level attention to the issue of emerging security threats. Our goal is to hold an open meeting of the UN Security Council on cybersecurity for the first time in history. As the President of the Council, we will continue raising awareness of emerging threats. Particularly now, when cyber incidents have increased during the pandemic, it is time to discuss the common rules for a stable and peaceful cyberspace.
- We will highlight how peace, security and conflict prevention are inextricably linked. Our Presidency will hold a high-level open meeting on the protection of children's rights in armed conflict. Additionally, our goal is to include as many civil society representatives as possible to brief the Council, as they would provide a broader view of the impact of conflicts.
- Estonia and Norway are the penholders for Afghanistan at the UN Security Council. Our task is to help improve the situation in Afghanistan. In light of the very dynamic political developments at a critical moment for Afghanistan’s future, we will keep Afghanistan actively on the agenda.
- Estonia considers the security of our region crucial. We would like to contribute to the increased visibility and influence of the European Union in the UN. To this end, we will invite the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell to brief the Council on EU-UN cooperation on peace and security.
- Estonia will also contribute to increasing the transparency of the UN Security Council and shaping its working methods by organising a Council meeting on the subject. It is a follow-up to the event on working methods held in May 2020 during Estonia’s previous presidency.
SPECIAL EVENTS IN JUNE
Thursday 10 June
Discussion on the UN’s cooperation with regional organisations (European Union)
The meeting will focus on the cooperation possibilities of the EU and the UN on issues of international peace and security and look at ongoing crises where both organisations are participating in resolution efforts. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will brief the Council.
Wednesday 16 June
Open debate on the working methods of the UN Security Council
This is an annual discussion of the Security Council aimed at increasing the transparency and efficiency of the Council’s work. Holding the open meeting offers the broader UN membership with a chance to have a say in issues such as how the Security Council coped with COVID-19-era working methods at a time when physical meetings were limited, and which innovative solutions could find continued use by the Council. As deputy chair of the Security Council’s working group on working methods, Estonia will hold a joint session with the chair of the working group, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Tuesday 22 June
High-level discussion on Afghanistan
This is a regular UN Security Council meeting where the UN’s special representative in Afghanistan will brief the Council on the developments of the last three months. Estonia and Norway are the penholders for Afghanistan and considering the concerning security situation and the fraught peace negotiations there, we consider it crucial to keep events in Afghanistan in particular focus.
The meeting is chaired by Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets. Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons will brief the Council. A representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will also attend the meeting.
Monday 28 June
High-level open meeting on the protection of children in armed conflict
The main aim of the meeting is to chart the situation in serious violations against children in conflicts in the past year, including highlighting specific issues. It is crucial to underline the close link between peace, security and conflict prevention, which has been among Estonia’s priorities throughout its UN Security Council membership. The debate is based on the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict.
The meeting is chaired by President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid. Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres will brief the Council, and we will invite representatives of UNICEF and the civil society as additional briefers.
Tuesday 29 June
High-level open meeting on cybersecurity
The meeting aims at an improved understanding of the increased risks emanating from malicious activities in cyberspace and their impact on international peace and security. The meeting helps raise awareness of existing international rules and demonstrate that the Security Council is serious about what is happening in cyberspace. It is important to underline that existing international law also applies in cyberspace and the UN has agreed on rules for responsible state behaviour. The meeting is chaired by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. UN High Representative for Disarmament Izumi Nakamitsu will brief the Council.
OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS ON THE AGENDA OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL:
- a discussion on the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestine conflict;
- discussions on Syria’s political and humanitarian situation and chemical weapons;
- a meeting on Myanmar;
- monthly discussion on Yemen;
- a regular meeting on Mali;
- a discussion on the developments with the Iran nuclear agreement;
- a meeting on the Central African Republic;
- a regular overview by the chair of the Sudan Sanctions Committee (Estonia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jürgenson) on the activities of the past 90 days;
- a discussion on the situation in Haiti, held every four months;
- a regular discussion on South Sudan.
On 11 June, elections of non-permanent members of the Security Council are held at the UN General Assembly.
DOCUMENTS AWAITING ADOPTION:
- Extension of the mandate of the European Union’s operation IRINI
- Adopting the resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Integrated Transitional Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS)
- Renewing the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the at the Golan Heights
- Renewing the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)
- Adopting the resolution on renewing the mandate of the sanctions regime and experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo