Adopting Resolutions 2666 and 2667 (2022), Security Council Extends Mandate of Stabilization Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo for One Year
Advance Notification Requirement under Weapons Sanctions Regime Lifted
The Security Council decided today to extend the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) — alongside its Intervention Brigade — for one year, and to lift the advance notification requirement under the 1533 Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions regime.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2666 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2666), under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Council also decided MONUSCO’s authorized troop ceiling will comprise 13,500 military personnel, 660 military observers and staff officers, 591 police and 1,410 personnel of formed police units. It invited the Secretariat to consider further reducing MONUSCO’s level of military deployment in line with the joint strategy on the Mission’s progressive and phased drawdown.
The Council decided the Mission’s strategic priorities will be to contribute to protecting civilians and to support the stabilization and strengthening of State institutions, as well as key governance and security reform. Such tasks should be implemented in a manner consistent with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; protection of civilians shall be given priority in decisions about the use of available capacity and resources. The Council also encouraged the Mission to support the East African Community-led Nairobi and Luanda processes.
Expressing great concern over the humanitarian situation, which has left an estimated 27 million Congolese in need of aid, the Council demanded that all parties allow and facilitate the full, safe, immediate and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, equipment and supplies.
The Council also welcomed the Government’s efforts to respond to the needs of the Congolese people and strongly urged all Congolese political stakeholders to spare no efforts in implementing the critical governance, security and economic reforms contained in the Government’s programme of action 2021–2023.
Welcoming the extension of the Mission’s mandate, Council members expressed unanimous support for the Congolese Government’s efforts to stabilize the region, also voicing concern over the dire humanitarian situation. Some States, however, said that the Council’s increased attention to secondary issues such as human rights and sanctions monitoring dilute MONUSCO’s resources.
China’s representative spotlighted the room for reform and improvement in peacekeeping in Africa, stressing that the mandates of MONUSCO and other missions operating on the continent are too broad. Calling for comprehensive reviews of peacekeeping mandates, he stressed that tasks beyond capacity should be returned to the Governments of the countries concerned and United Nations country teams.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates expressed regret that the text did not include a proposal for the Secretary-General’s report to include reporting on climate security and urged the Council to use high-quality data and analysis on how climate impacts may exacerbate risk.
The speaker for the United States, the largest single-country financial contributor to MONUSCO, pointed to the Mission mandate’s stronger focus on countering misinformation and disinformation, while highlighting the importance of regional military actors in the East African Community regional force.
The Council also unanimously adopted resolution 2667 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2667), deciding that the requirement under Council resolution 1807 (2008) for all States to give the 1533 Sanctions Committee advance notice of any shipment of arms and related material — or any provision of assistance, advice or training related to military activities in the country — shall no longer apply.
By that text, the Council requested the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to provide a confidential report in May 2023 detailing its efforts to ensure safe and effective management, storage, marking, monitoring and security of the national stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, including efforts to fight arms trafficking and diversion.
After the adoption, Council members welcomed the consensus achieved on lifting the notification requirement and de-linking the sanctions issue from the Mission so that it is under the sole purview of the Council. Several speakers said that sanctions measures should be adjusted to reflect situations on the ground and stressed the importance of preventing weapons being acquired by armed groups.
Gabon’s representative said the move will eliminate obstacles for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to properly and effectively respond to armed groups who are pillaging resources and committing atrocities against civilians in the eastern part of the country. Restricting a democratically elected Government’s room for manoeuvre to tackle great security challenges, he observed, is not a good thing.
The United Kingdom’s delegate said that while notification processes do not inhibit Governments from building the requisite capacity to provide security, her delegation recognized the current security challenges facing the country. She encouraged the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to establish professional, accountable and sustainable security forces.
The representative of Ireland, expressing discomfort that the matter was being dealt with outside of the schedule for negotiating renewals of sanctions mandates, said matters related to the sanctions regimes should be addressed through the dedicated sanctions mandate renewal process and timeline.
Also speaking were representatives of Norway, the Russian Federation, Kenya and Ghana.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 10:33 a.m.
ROBERT A. WOOD (United States), speaking after the vote, said that his country voted in favour of the text. As the largest single-country financial contributor to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the United States welcomes the mandate’s stronger focus on strategic communications and countering misinformation and disinformation, he said, stressing that these tasks should be undertaken jointly with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Highlighting the importance of regional military actors in the East African Community regional force to coordinate and deconflict operations with MONUSCO, he pointed out the inter-State support for armed groups, including Rwanda’s support to the 23 March Movement (M23). Recognizing that the Mission cannot remain in the Democratic Republic of the Congo forever, he welcomed options for further adaption of its configurations, underscoring that any further steps for MONUSCO’s eventual drawdown should be agreed upon jointly by the United Nations and Congolese officials in liaison with civil society.
TRINE SKARBOEVIK HEIMERBACK (Norway) said that her delegation voted in favour of the resolution. However, she expressed regret that monitoring and reporting on human rights is moved down on the text’s list of priorities, noting that no current development in the country justifies this change. Reiterating support for regional initiatives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she encouraged MONUSCO to play a key role in coordinating and supporting the efforts to stabilize the region while promoting and protecting human rights on the ground.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) said that her country supported the mandate extension of MONUSCO. While commending the Council’s unanimous support of the Congolese Government’s efforts, she pointed out the increased attention of the Council on the secondary issues of peacekeeping operations, including monitoring of human rights, gender analysis and other non-specialized issues, amid armed conflict. While recognizing the importance of such issues, she said that sometimes Council discussions did not focus on their respective main tasks. Turning to the draft resolution on lifting the notification requirement, she reiterated that security sanctions should always reflect the situation on the ground, noting the need to regularly review and modify them to the point of lifting them completely. Pointing out that many of the sanctions regimes are not in line with the situation on the ground, she recalled that the Russian Federation was ready to vote for the adaptation of the regime and the lifting of the notification requirements in June, commending the Council for not “dragging out” the decision any longer.
FERGAL MYTHEN (Ireland) said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution and welcomed that the 1533 sanctions regime matter was decoupled from the text. However, he expressed discomfort that the matter was being dealt with outside of the schedule for negotiating renewals of sanctions mandates, adding that to ensure coherence and clarity in sanctions regimes, sanctions matters must be addressed through the dedicated sanctions mandate renewal process. Recognizing the need in this case to consider sanctions outside of the designated timeline, he said that this discussion should not be mixed up with other issues. Ireland decided to support the lifting of the notification requirement despite the complex and divergent views on, and the politicization of, the issue, he said, stressing that the sanctions regime is an important tool and his delegation voted in the way that best protects the integrity of the regime overall. He, however, recalled the value of the notification requirement — introduced as a part of weapons management efforts — and said that its lifting may have negative repercussions for the ability of the Group of Experts and the 1533 Committee to monitor arms flows.
ZHANG JUN (China), noting the dire situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that his country voted in favour of renewing MONUSCO’s mandate. Calling attention to the room for reform and improvement in peacekeeping in Africa, he said that the missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, South Sudan and the Central African Republic have been too broad and all-encompassing in their mandates, spreading their resources too thin. Some mandates caused discontent among the populations of the countries concerned, he added. In this regard, he expressed support for conducting comprehensive reviews of peacekeeping mandates in Africa and returning the tasks beyond capacity to the Governments of the countries concerned, including to the United Nations country teams. Pointing out that tasks related to human rights and sanctions monitoring distract from and dilute the resources of MONUSCO, overlapping with other monitoring mechanisms, he encouraged the Council to adjust the relevant mandates to correct this. Welcoming the lifting of the notification requirement, he recalled that China and African countries have been calling for lifting and adjusting the sanctions measures against such African countries and encouraged the Council to remain united on sanctions-related measures.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said the lifting of the notification requirement will remove all obstacles to the capacity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to give a proper and effective response to armed groups who are pillaging resources and committing atrocities against civilians in the eastern part of the country. Restricting the room for manoeuvre of a Government that is led by democratically elected authorities currently facing great security challenges is not a good thing, he said, encouraging Council members to continue to overcome their differences to support the peace process underway and preserve the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) voiced hope that resolution 2666 (2022) provides a solid basis for constructive dialogue between the Government and MONUSCO, including on the review of the joint transitional plan. On resolution 2667 (2022), she said the United Kingdom does not consider that notification processes inhibit Governments from building capabilities needed to provide security but recognizes the current security challenges facing the country. She voiced hope that the Council’s decision today contributes to enabling the Government to restore State authority in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as to ending the cycles of violence. She encouraged the Government to make progress in establishing professional, accountable and sustainable security forces through comprehensive security sector reform, and to capitalize on the support that MONUSCO, the wider United Nations family and partners can provide in this area.
AMEIRAH OBAID MOHAMED OBAID ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates) said her delegation voted in favour of the text because it believes in MONUSCO’s mandate. Expressing concern over the humanitarian situation and supporting the efforts of the Congolese and international actors, she recalled that this year the Democratic Republic of the Congo experienced the worst flooding since 2019. She thus urged the Council to consider how to deal with the negative effects of climate change, including by receiving high quality data and analysis on how climate impacts may exacerbate risks, stressing that doing so will facilitate finding effective ways to tackle climate-related challenges. Noting that her country proposed that the Secretary-General’s report include reporting on climate security, she expressed regret that the proposal was excluded from the MONUSCO resolution. Expressing support for lifting the advance notification requirement, she stressed the importance of preventing weapons being acquired by armed groups.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya) said that his country voted in favour of the resolution because it puts emphasis on the protection of civilians. Expressing hope that MONUSCO would gain the trust and confidence of the host communities, he outlined other priority tasks in support of disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and security sector reform. A renewed mandate — if robustly implemented — will accelerate the ongoing stabilization efforts, he said, encouraging strengthened collaboration between the Government and the Mission. He welcomed the incorporation into the Mission’s mandate of support for the East African Community regional force in line with the establishment of a joint coordination framework for all troops deployed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo under the Government’s direction. He reiterated that Kenya would continue to play an effective role as a troop contributor to MONUSCO, facilitator of the East African Community-led peace process and a key economic partner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
SOLOMON KORBIEH (Ghana) said that despite the lack of achievement of some of Ghana’s desires for more integrated coordination and support for the East African Community force, he encouraged the Council’s unified support for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and expressed hope that future reviews of MONUSCO’s mandate would reflect its collective wisdom. On the sanctions regime, he commended the consensus reached and emphasized that the Government should be freed from any “fetters” that hinder development of its capacity to fulfil its obligations. He called for full, effective participation in the military track of the Nairobi process and for sustained international support for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. He welcomed the Luanda Agreement and encouraged regional-led efforts aimed at resolving political and security challenges.