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UNSC Unanimously Extends UNAMA Mandate Until 2024, Prepares for Mandate Renewal in 2023

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted two resolutions concerning the situation in Afghanistan, both extending the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) until March 17, 2024, and requesting an independent assessment with forward-looking recommendations from UN chief Antonio Guterres.[0]

The first resolution, Resolution 2678, stresses the critical importance of the mission's continued presence and calls upon all relevant Afghan political actors and stakeholders, including relevant authorities and international actors, to coordinate with UNAMA in the implementation of its mandate and to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel throughout the country.[1] The second resolution, Resolution 2679, requests an independent assessment of recommendations for the efforts to address Afghanistan's current challenges, including those relating to the humanitarian situation, human rights, security and terrorism.[2]

The UNSC is expected to renew UNAMA’s mandate in March 2023.[3] The negotiations will take place amid a worsening economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with Security Council members divided over the appropriate level of political engagement between the UN and de facto authorities, especially after the lack of progress in getting the Taliban to change course on its policies restricting the rights of Afghan women and girls.[4] Questions surrounding political engagement, sanctions, risk management and aid diversion, development assistance, the threat of terrorism, and ongoing human rights violations also impact the latest conversations around Afghanistan and UNAMA’s role in the country.[5]

In preparation for the upcoming mandate renewal, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted a roundtable discussion on February 14, 2023.[5] At this roundtable, member states, UN personnel, civil society representatives, and independent specialists had the opportunity to openly and cooperatively discuss their evaluations of the circumstances in Afghanistan.[5] The purpose of the discussion was to enable the Security Council to make decisions based on more comprehensive information regarding the order of importance and sequence of UNAMA's mandate, as well as the mission's strategic focus and implementation of its initiatives on the ground.[4] Most of those attending the event were in agreement that the objectives set out by UNAMA remain pertinent to the UN's involvement in Afghanistan, even in the face of the worsening conditions in the country.[4] The issues likely to shape the council's negotiations on UNAMA's mandate renewal include political engagement, sanctions, risk management and aid diversion, development assistance, the threat of terrorism, and ongoing human rights violations.[5]

0. “UN extends Afghanistan mission by another year” Al Jazeera English, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/17/un-extends-afghanistan-mission-by-another-year

1. “UNSC Extends Mandate Of Special Political Mission In Afghan…” MENAFN.COM, 17 Mar. 2023, https://menafn.com/1105799221/UNSC-Extends-Mandate-Of-Special-Political-Mission-In-Afghanistan

2. “UNAMA Mandate Renewed by Security Council” TOLOnews, 16 Mar. 2023, https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-182537

3. “UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan extended for one year” Global Village space, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.globalvillagespace.com/un-assistance-mission-in-afghanistan-extended-for-one-year

4. “Prioritization and Sequencing of Security Council Mandates: The Case of UNAMA – Afghanistan” ReliefWeb, 10 Mar. 2023, https://reliefweb.int/report/afghanistan/prioritization-and-sequencing-security-council-mandates-case-unama

5. “Prioritizing and Sequencing of Security Council Mandates in 2023: The Case of UNAMA” International Peace Institute, 9 Mar. 2023, https://www.ipinst.org/2023/03/prioritizing-and-sequencing-of-security-council-mandates-in-2023-the-case-of-unama

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