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.