New York, 5 January 2022 (TDI): At the press conference of the President of the Security Council on January’s work program it was announced that the Council will address the threat of violence against women peacebuilders and explore ways to protect civilians from conflict in urban settings.

Mona Juul (Norway), who has just started her two-year non-permanent term, welcomed Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, and the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, her delegation is determined to ensure progress on global peace and security in 2022. “We are leaving 2021 behind, and we need to remain optimistic,” she said.

On January 18, the Council will hold an open discussion titled “Protecting women’s participation in peace and security processes.” The meeting will be chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt. Several civil society representatives will be briefed, as well as Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mona Juul
Press Conference by Security Council President on Programme of Work for January

During the Security Council’s January 25 meeting, an open debate is carefully planned on the adequate protection of innocent civilians in urban settings under the theme “War in cities: protecting civilians in urban settings.”

The Norwegian Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, will chair the debate, which will hear from the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President, Peter Maurer, as well as legitimate representatives from civil society.

“In order to draw greater attention to the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Juul says that the open debate on the Middle East on January 19 has been elevated to the ministerial level. Unilateral actions that undermine a two-state solution must be avoided,” she stressed

The Norwegian government also intends to host a retreat on “preventive diplomacy and mediation,” which will bring together mediators, negotiators, and other actors. Three sessions will focus on specific conflict situations: Afghanistan, Colombia, and the Sahel.

As the climate crisis has affected conflicts around the globe, the co-chairs on this topic, Norway and Kenya, will be leading discussions on the link between climate and security throughout the month. This month’s activities will include a resolution on piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea.

“Members closely monitor the situation in Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan, as well as Ethiopia, Myanmar, Sudan, and Ukraine, among others.”

In her remarks, she emphasized the importance of transparency in the work of the Council, expressing Norway’s commitment to engaging with the media, civil society, and members. She said all public meetings will be open to civil society representatives.

According to her, addressing the coronavirus pandemic restrictions is a priority for the council. However, to achieve the goals of the council, meetings must take place physically.

In response to questions, she said the Council noted that there were no elections in Libya on December 24, 2021. All the required components were missing, so elections could not be held. Nonetheless, the organ will ensure elections take place when they are due.

She replied to the question of whether a two-state solution was over: “Time is running out, but it’s not too late.” Both sides should refrain from unilateral actions in the future. The Council should go to Gaza, but it will require agreement.

Mona Juul replied that it is too early to assess the Council’s response to possible attacks by the Russian Federation on Ukraine, but it is prepared to handle any situation and is monitoring developments. Also, she cited Crimea’s 2014 situation, in which the council stepped up and acted comprehensively.

She said Norway considers it appropriate to renew the cross-border humanitarian delivery mechanism in Syria for another year with no changes. A Sudanese meeting could be convened to discuss violence against peaceful protesters.

About Mona Juul

Ambassador Mona Juul previously served as Ambassador to the United Kingdom (2014 2018), Director General for Security Policy and the High North in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011–2014), Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York (2005–2010), as well as Chairman of the 1st Committee of the United Nations General Assembly’s 61st session (2006).

During a similar period, she served as Ambassador to Israel (2001–2005) and had been accredited to Cyprus. As State Secretary/Deputy Foreign Minister at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2012 and Special Advisor/Ambassador/Middle East Coordinator at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2000, she chaired the AHLC (Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on Assistance to the Palestinians).

The Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv had appointed her as minister-counselor between 1994 and 1997. As part of her first posting, she was posted to the Norwegian Embassy in Cairo (1988–1990).

She has been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1986, during which time she has gained a broad range of diplomatic experience. During this time, she worked in the Cabinet of the Foreign Minister (1992–1993), and she was part of the small Norwegian team that facilitated the confidential negotiations between Israel and the PLO that eventually led to the Oslo Agreement.