Ahead of its regular meeting on Guinea-Bissau, the UN Security Council visited the country on 16 February, within the framework of Council resolution 2404 (February 2018) and the SC press statements dated 21 February, 7 September and 27 December 2018, the visit aimed to (a) Engage with key stakeholders involved in the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau and advocate strongly for: (i) political dialogue towards the implementation of the Conakry Agreement and the ECOWAS road map within the agreed timelines; (ii) preparing for and conducting free and fair elections; (iii) holding the legislative elections on 10 March and presidential elections thereafter in 2019, in line with the legal framework.
Security Council also to analyzed the consequences of political tensions for the living conditions of the population in Guinea-Bissau; and evaluate the compliance of UNIOGBIS with its mandate, in support of the Guinea-Bissau authorities, to contribute to lasting peace and stability in the country, including through support for strengthening democratic institutions and assistance to national authorities and stakeholders to promote and protect human rights.
On 28 February the Security Council considered the report of the independent strategic review mission and adopted resolution 2458 extending the mandate of UNIOGBIS until 28 February 2020. The council stressed that the reconfiguration of UNIOGBIS should take place after the completion of the electoral cycle in 2019, the Council reaffirmed that the electoral process remains a priority.
In resolution 2458, Security Council requests UNIOGBIS, including through the use of the good offices and political support of the Special Representative, to focus, in particular, on the following priorities:
- Support, through good offices the electoral process to ensure inclusive, free and credible legislative elections on 10 March 2019 and presidential election in 2019 within the legally mandated time frame;
- Support the full implementation of the Conakry Agreement and the ECOWAS Roadmap, and facilitate an inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation process, strengthening democratic governance, particularly with
regards to the implementation of necessary urgent reforms;
- Provide support, including by technical assistance, to national authorities in expediting and completing the review of Guinea-Bissau’s Constitution;
In addition to these priorities, UNIOGBIS and the Special Representative will continue to assist, coordinate and lead international efforts to ensure lasting peace and stability in Guinea Bissau. They would achieve this by providing support to the Government of Guinea-Bissau in strengthening democratic institutions and enhancing the capacity of state organs to function effectively and constitutionally; Assisting national authorities and stakeholders in the promotion and protection of human rights as well as undertake human rights monitoring and reporting activities;
Uniogbis will also continue providing strategic and technical advice and support to the Government of Guinea-Bissau to combat drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, in close cooperation with UNODC.
With regard to the reconfiguration of UNIOGBIS, the 15-members body has decided that from June 2019, the Mission should operate as a streamlined good offices special political mission, led by a Special Representative at the Assistant Secretary-General level. UNIOGBIS will then reprioritize its tasks according to three main phases.
In phase III (transition phase) UNIOGBIS will implement the transition plan for the gradual drawing down and transfer of tasks to UN Country Team (UNCT), the United Nations Office for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS) and international partners, with a view toward prospective completion by December 31, 2020.
The Secretary-General’s special report on a strategic assessment of UNIOGBIS was release on 5 December 2018. According to the report, a lack of national political will has hindered the mission’s ability to implement its mandate over the nearly twenty years that UNIOGBIS and UNOGBIS have been present. It proposed a reconfiguration and exit plan for UNIOGBIS, recommending three phases for the mission’s future engagement.
On 7 February this year, the Secretary-General’s latest report on Guinea-Bissau asked the Council to endorse the recommendations of the special report. Which it did.
Finally, the Security Council has decided to review the sanctions measures established in 2012 seven months from the adoption of the new resolution, especially in the light of expectations regarding the conduct of the electoral process.