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Security Council

5985th Meeting (AM)




The Security Council today decided to extend the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for one more year, until 30 September 2009, while adjusting its authorized deployment.

Through its unanimous adoption of resolution 1836 (2008), the body endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendation of a reduction of 1,460 military personnel and the streamlining of the current four sectors into two, to be carried out between October 2008 and March 2009.

It also endorsed the immediate increase of 240 police, in order to provide expertise in specialized fields, operational support to regular policing and reaction to urgent incidents.  Within the overall ceiling, it agreed with the Secretary-General’s plans for internal adjustments in the composition of police components, including an increase in the number of formed police units.

The Council requested the Secretary-General to continue to monitor progress in the peacebuilding benchmarks detailed in his last reports.  On the basis of that progress, it asked him to recommend by 15 February 2009 any further adjustments in UNMIL’s deployment, and to include in his report, in consultation with the Government of Liberia, long-range scenarios for a phased drawdown and withdrawal of the Mission’s troops.

In his reports, the Secretary-General was asked to pay particular attention to the building of the Liberian security sector and to make recommendations on adjustments needed to UNMIL’s operations and training in that regard.

Prior to the adoption of the resolution, the President of the Council welcomed the new Permanent Representative of China, who pledged his cooperation with other members and looked forward to China’s presidency next month.

The meeting, which opened at 10:10 a.m., closed at 10:15 a.m.

The full text of resolution 1836 (2008) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its resolutions and statements by its President concerning the situations in Liberia and the subregion, in particular its resolutions 1777 (2007), 1750 (2007), 1626 (2005), and 1509 (2003),

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s report of 15 August 2008 (S/2008/553) and taking note of his recommendations,

Further welcoming the continuing efforts of the Government of Liberia to improve governance and security and combat corruption, as well as the important measures taken by the Government to consolidate its control over Liberia’s natural resources and build a stronger economy,

Commending the Government of Liberia for the adoption of its first national poverty reduction strategy for 2008-2011 and calling on the international community to collaborate with the Government in implementation of this strategy,

Noting with appreciation the steps being taken to facilitate national reconciliation and conflict management, with the support of the Peacebuilding Fund,

Noting the progress made in rebuilding, equipping, and deploying the Liberian National Police and restructuring the Armed Forces of Liberia, and in developing a national security architecture, acknowledging the challenges that remain, and encouraging the Government of Liberia, in cooperation with the international community, to expedite its efforts in these fields,

Further noting the continuing need for support from United Nations police advisers to the Liberian National Police as reflected in the report of the Secretary-General,

Expressing its appreciation for the continuing support of the international community, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU),

Commending the work of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for its continuing and significant contribution to maintaining peace and stability in Liberia, and welcoming the close cooperation between UNMIL and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), as well as with neighbouring Governments, in coordinating security activities in the border areas in the subregion,

Noting with appreciation the progress made to date in the reintegration of ex-combatants, welcoming the contribution being made by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNMIL, international partners and the National Commission on Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Rehabilitation, and recognizing that there continues to be a need for formal sector employment,

Recognizing the significant challenges that remain in the consolidation of Liberia’s post-conflict transition, including consolidation of State authority, massive development and reconstruction needs, the reform of the judiciary, extension of the rule of law throughout the country, and the further development of the Liberian security forces and security architecture, in particular the Liberian National Police, and noting that crimes of corruption and violence, in particular with regard to exploitation of Liberia’s natural resources, threaten to undermine progress towards those ends,

Welcoming the progress achieved on the broad benchmarks laid out in the Secretary-General’s report of 12 September 2006 and core benchmarks presented in the Secretary-General’s reports of 9 August 2007 and 19 March 2008, welcoming UNMIL’s continuing efforts to promote and protect, in cooperation with the Government of Liberia, the rights of civilians, in particular children and women, calling on Liberian authorities to continue to cooperate with the United Nations country team and civil society in order to achieve further progress in these areas and in particular to combat violence against children and women, including gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, and recalling its resolutions 1674 (2006) and 1612 (2005), as well as resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security.

Reiterating the continuing need for UNMIL’s support for the security of the Special Court for Sierra Leone,

Determining that the situation in Liberia continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1.   Decides that the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) shall be extended until 30 September 2009;

“2.   Reaffirms its intention to authorize the Secretary-General to redeploy troops, as may be needed, between UNMIL and UNOCI on a temporary basis in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1609 (2005);

“3.   Endorses the Secretary-General’s recommendation for a reduction of an additional 1,460 personnel deployed as part of UNMIL’s military component and for the streamlining of the current four sectors into two, and authorizes the Secretary-General to implement this recommendation during the period October 2008 to March 2009;

“4.   Further endorses, with immediate effect, the Secretary-General’s recommendation for an increase of 240 in the authorized number of personnel deployed as part of UNMIL’s police component in order to provide strategic advice and expertise in specialized fields, provide operational support to regular policing activities and react to urgent security incidents, as well as his plans for internal adjustments in the composition of the police component within the overall ceiling, including an increase in the number of formed police units;

“5.   Requests the Secretary-General to continue to monitor progress on the core benchmarks detailed in paragraph 66 of his report of 8 August 2007 (S/2007/479) and in his report of 19 March 2008 (S/2008/183), and any subsequent refinements of the benchmarks that may be recommended by the Secretary-General or his Special Representative, to report on that progress to the Security Council by 15 February 2009 and, in view of the extent of that progress, to recommend to the Security Council no later than 15 February 2009 any further adjustments in UNMIL’s military and police components as appropriate, and to include in his report, in consultation with the Government of Liberia, long-range scenarios for a phased drawdown and withdrawal of UNMIL’s troop contingent, as the situation permits and without compromising the security of Liberia;

“6.   Further requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Government of Liberia, to develop further detailed benchmarks to measure and track progress towards the achievement of security in Liberia, and in that context to include in his 15 February 2009 report and in subsequent reports thereafter a comprehensive assessment both of the progress made towards building the capacity of the Liberian National Police and of the contribution of UNMIL towards that goal, and to make recommendations on possible adjustments needed to UNMIL police training or concept of operations as appropriate;

“7.   Expresses its intention to review by 31 March 2009 the Secretary-General’s recommendations described in paragraph 5 above;

“8.   Further requests the Secretary-General to provide by 15 August 2009 a report covering progress made on the issues addressed in paragraphs 5 and 6 during the period February 2009-August 2009;

“9.   Decides to remain seized of the matter.”


The Council had before it the seventeenth progress report of the Secretary-General on UNMIL (document S/2008/553), which recommends extension of UNMIL’s mandate for one year, until 30 September 2009, taking into account adjustments to the Mission’s drawdown plan, as set out in the report.

The report notes that significant progress has been made in several important areas, as the political situation in the country has remained generally stable, while key economic and social indicators continue to improve.  Liberia has reached the decision point under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.  The growth rate has increased to 9.4 per cent.  The overall situation remains fragile, however, as the country faces interlinked challenges in the areas of security, rule of law, governance, economic development and unemployment among youth and ex-combatants.  Despite progress made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Liberia is still plagued by ethnic tensions.

The slow progress towards meeting the security and rule of law benchmarks remains a source of serious concern, according to the Secretary-General.  The capacities of both the police and the army need to be strengthened urgently.  It is important that support for police reforms are matched by progress in strengthening the justice system and the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation.  The Secretary-General calls on Liberia’s international partners to provide additional assistance within those key areas.  He urges the Government and its international partners to develop a national strategy for the rule of law sector as soon as possible.

According to the report, the drawdown plan proposed in the August 2007 report provided for a three-year time frame with assessments of the security situation and core benchmarks in order to make troop and police adjustments.  Assessment teams have identified threat factors to peace and stability, including weak operational capacity of the security and rule of law institutions; competition over natural resources and illegal exploitation of those resources; potential regional instability; and food insecurity.  None of the assessment teams recommended total withdrawal of UNMIL military and police personnel.

The Secretary-General, therefore, recommends that phase 2 of the drawdown of the military component, which runs from October 2008 to September 2009, involve repatriation of a further 1,460 military personnel, reducing UNMIL troop strength to 10,231.  During phase 3 (October 2009 to December 2010), the preliminary plan envisages a further reduction of 2,100 troops, which would bring the UNMIL force to 8,131.

The drawdown plan had originally envisaged that the police component increasingly focus on providing strategic advice and expertise in specialized fields and, over time, reduce operational support for the regular policing activities.  Assumptions that the capacity of the national police would have been strengthened and that the establishment of an emergency response unit would have progressed fairly well have not been fulfilled.

The inability to fulfil the core assumptions means that more support will be needed during the next mandate period than envisaged.  In view of those developments, the Secretary-General proposes an increase in the number of formed police units from five to seven (from 605 to 845 personnel) in September 2008, with no reductions made from the period September 2008 to September 2009.  He also intends to accommodate eight additional correction officers.  That would bring the police component strength to 1,375 personnel.  For the next phase (October 2009 to December 2010), the preliminary plan envisages a reduction of 132 police advisers.  That would bring the strength to 1,243 personnel.

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For information media. Not an official record.