Security Council Grants Mandate Extension for United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo, while Reducing Troop Ceiling

SC/12772
31 March 2017
7910th Meeting (PM)

Security Council Grants Mandate Extension for United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo, while Reducing Troop Ceiling

Key Tasks Omitted from Text, Says Permanent Representative, as Some Delegations Cite ‘Penny-Pinching’ Motives in ‘Rush’ to Adoption

The Security Council renewed the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) this morning, extending it until 31 March 2018 while reducing the operation’s troop ceiling by some 3,600 military personnel.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2348 (2017) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15-member Council decided that MONUSCO would comprise 16,215 military personnel — down from 19,815 under its previous mandate (see Press Release SC/12307 of 30 March 2016) — as well as 391 police and 1,050 formed police units.

Taking into account a recommendation contained in the Secretary-General’s most recent related report (document S/2017/206), the Council also decided to reduce the number of MONUSCO’s military observers from 760 to 660.  In addition, it requested that the Secretary-General conduct a strategic review of MONUSCO and examine the continued relevance of its mandated tasks, in order to provide advice on a further troop-level reduction, as well as an exit strategy.

By other terms of the text, the Council called on all stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including President Joseph Kabila, the presidential majority and the opposition, to swiftly implement the political agreement signed on 31 December 2016.  Urging the Government and all relevant parties to ensure an environment conducive to free, fair, credible, inclusive, transparent and timely presidential and legislative elections — due before the end of 2017 — it also called on the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission to publish immediately a revised comprehensive electoral calendar and complete a credible update of the electoral register.

The Council further urged the Congolese Government to hold accountable those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law, or violations and abuses of human rights, in particular potential war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Condemning the recent violence in the Kasaï region, it expressed grave concern over serious violations of international humanitarian law by local militias, as well as the reported discovery of mass graves and reports of civilians killed by members of the national security forces.

At the meeting’s outset, the Council observed a moment of silence to honour Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan, the two members of the Group of Experts assisting the Sanctions Committee monitoring the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the bodies of whom had been found in Kasaï-Central Province on 24 March.

Council members speaking after the resolution was adopted also expressed condolences to the bereaved families, praising the experts’ courageous sacrifice in the pursuit of peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Several speakers welcomed the resolution’s adoption, commending a spirit of compromise that had emerged after lengthy negotiations on troop levels.  In that regard, some delegates expressed support for the mandated reductions, noting that they would help MONUSCO become more agile and accountable.  Others, however, raised concerns, with the Russian Federation’s representative expressing regret that “exclusively arithmetical considerations” had prevailed in the decision to downsize a peace operation in a highly complex and difficult environment.

France’s representative, the resolution’s main co-sponsor, said the text provided MONUSCO with an adapted and tailored mandate.  Drawing attention to the worrying security situation in the country — especially its Kasaï region in which the two United Nations experts had been killed — he said MONUSCO contingents would be used in a more thoughtful way, which would help the Mission better address challenges on the ground.  The replacement of certain troops with specialized units would result in a “more active, more agile, more mobile” Mission, he added.

The representative of the United States echoed those sentiments, stressing that “it’s not the number of people we have on the ground”, but the quality of their work.  Prioritizing the protection of civilians remained critical, she said, emphasizing that all troops deployed to that end must be held accountable for their actions.

Striking a different tone, Uruguay’s representative underlined that the resolution was “sharply divorced” from reality on the ground.  Indeed, the complex situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was characterized by bleak circumstances that showed no signs of improving.  The reduction of troop numbers should not affect MONUSCO’s civilian-protection tasks, he cautioned, pointing out that the Council had only ever cut operations and lifted sanctions where progress had been made.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, meanwhile, welcomed the mandate renewal, but voiced regret that, among the Mission’s strategic priorities, the text failed to take disarmament, demobilization and reintegration into account, as well as reform of the justice and security sectors.  Noting MONUSCO’s downsizing, he said the Government would continue to participate in the strategic dialogue aimed at defining the schedule leading to the Mission’s orderly withdrawal.

Speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Ministerial Committee, was the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, who warned that the Congolese Government must not use security concerns as a pretext to renege on or delay its political commitments under the 31 December 2016 agreement.  In the course of 2017, MONUSCO would bear special responsibility for securing political space for free, fair and peaceful elections, he said, emphasizing also that the international community must exert pressure on all political actors in the country to overcome the current political impasse.

Also speaking were the representatives of Egypt, Japan, Italy, China, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Sweden, Senegal and the United Kingdom.

The meeting began at 12:05 p.m. and ended at 1:16 p.m.

Action on Draft Resolution

The Council unanimously adopted resolution 2348 (2017).

Statements

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), welcoming the text’s adoption as significant and vital for both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Nations, said the Council had sent a message of unity in support for United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and for stability and democracy in that country.  Under the resolution, the Mission would have an adapted and tailored mandate focused on protecting civilians and implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement, he noted.  “The [Democratic Republic of the Congo] is in unchartered waters,” he cautioned, adding that the transition would continue until elections were held at the end of 2017.  Drawing attention to the worrying security situation — especially in the Kasaï region where two United Nations experts had lost their lives — he said the resolution would tailor MONUSCO’s troop contingents in a more thoughtful way, helping it better address challenges on the ground.  The replacement of certain troops with specialized units would result in a “more active, more agile, more mobile” Mission, he added.

MICHELE SISON (United States), emphasizing that “it’s not the number of people we have on the ground”, but the quality of their work, expressed satisfaction with the cuts to MONUSCO’s troop ceiling and echoed praise for the Mission’s more specialized actions.  Reminding the Council that prioritizing the protection of civilians remained critical, she underlined that all troops deployed to that end must be held accountable for their actions.  The United States welcomed the incorporation of measurable indicators, which would improve understanding of troop failures, she said, stressing that “we owe it” to Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan to make MONUSCO stronger, more effective and more accountable.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said the heinous killing of Mr. Sharp and Ms. Catalan reminded the Council of the threats facing civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the sacrifices made by all United Nations personnel in the field.  Calling for intensified efforts to break the deadlock in talks on the country’s “special arrangement”, he urged the parties concerned to resume negotiations, and commended the mediation efforts of the African Union in that regard.  Pointing out that MONUSCO required human and financial resources in order to fulfil its mandate, he emphasized that there should be no reconsidering the volume and resources of peacekeeping forces “because of savings alone”.  Indeed, the Council should also conduct comprehensive studies and evaluations of various situations on the ground in order to ensure that peacekeeping missions did not face shortcomings that could affect their performance, he said.

KORO BESSHO (Japan) expressed condolences to the bereaved families and friends of the brave and dedicated members of the Group of Experts, emphasizing that those responsible for their killing must be held accountable.  Welcoming the resolution’s unanimous adoption, he said a common goal was to stabilize the situation and ensure a progressive exit of MONUSCO.  Noting that the Council had reaffirmed its strong support for the 31 December 2016 political agreement, he called on the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to implement it swiftly and to accelerate efforts to hold elections by the end of 2017.  Japan welcomed the Council’s reaffirmation of its commitment to making MONUSCO more efficient by issuing a better organized mandate and reaffirming its full support for the Mission, he said.

SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), expressing condolences to the families of the dead expert group members, and to the United States, Sweden and Chile, welcomed today’s unanimous adoption, saying the mandate renewal sent a signal of support to the people and Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Emphasizing that the commitment of troop- and police-contributing countries was crucial, he said Italy trusted that specialized resources would be found to support efficiency.  Urging improved performance, he suggested that inter-Mission cooperation could help to bolster MONUSCO’s effectiveness.  Italy called for political compromise and the conduct of peaceful, credible elections, he added.

SHEN BO (China) said he was disturbed by the deaths of the two experts killed, extending condolences to their families and countries, and emphasizing that the safety of peacekeepers must be guaranteed.  China supported the resolution and welcomed the Government’s efforts to promote stability, he said, urging all parties to implement the political agreement and resolve differences through dialogue.  African issues should be resolved in the African way, he added.  MONUSCO should continue to play a constructive role in combating armed groups and facilitating humanitarian access, among other tasks, he said.  China hoped the Secretariat would engage the Government in dialogue on the implementation of MONUSCO’s mandate and drawdown, while taking the Government’s views into account, he said, pointing out that 200 peacekeepers from his country were deployed within the Mission.

MAN VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said , noting that the resolution would pave the way for further stabilization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, pointed out that the Council had – for the first time – approved –— for the first time –— a document aimed at privatizing some of MONUSCO’s functions and e.  Expresseding hope that such an actions would help to address the situation on the ground.  He expressed hope that  , he said 2017 could prove to be the year in which when the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s long-awaited peace and security emerged on the horizon, in particularly as a result of the holding of free, fair and transparent elections.  He said that, iIn the deaths of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalan, the world and the United Nations had lost two brave and decent peoplepersons, he said, emphasizing that calling for no effort must to be spared in bringing their killers to justice.

MAN PETR ILIICHEV (Russian Federation), emphasizedunderscoring  MONUSCO’s continuinged importance at the present difficult time, while also underlining emphasized the need to ensure fully respect for the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  However, the Russian Federation However, he expressed regretted that “exclusively arithmetical considerations” had prevailed in the decision to downsize the Mission, he said, voicing and voiced concern over the plan to put in place two parallel reporting cycles in place on for a single mission.  Warning that sSuch a strategy could create problems in MONUSCO’s work, he warned, expresseding hope that the submission of the Secretary-General’s reports would not mean an automatically trigger holding of Security Council consultations.

TAKEDA MAN ALEMU (Ethiopia) said noted that, while negotiations over the resolution had been difficult, the Council had been able to reach a compromise, emphasizing that m.  Maintaining a spirit of unity on that and other matters was absolutely vital.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo was at a crucial juncture, he said, noting that with the 31 December 2016 agreement had averted a major political crisis over the 31  December  2016 agreement having been averted.  Going forward, mobilizinging the necessary resources necessary to carry out the electoral process would be critical would be critical, as would cooperation between among the United Nations, the African Union and neighbouring countries of the region to ensure a smooth transition ensure a smooth transition.  Expressing concern about over the resurgence of negative forces, especially in eastern in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in the east, he warned that they posed a threat not only to that country, but to the entire Great Lakes region, underlining i.  In that context the importance of providing , MONUSCO must be provided with the necessary resources to carry out its mandate.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) thanked delegates for their expressions of condolences over the death of Zaida Catalan, expressing his shared sense of loss, sorrow and despair.  Ms. Catalan had dedicated her life to peace and justice, and had risked it to save others, he said, adding that she had worked to foster understanding of the causes behind insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Sweden would continue to support the Group of Experts, “and the whole UN family”, in that country, he pledged, emphasizing that the circumstances surrounding the attacks must be investigated and the four people unaccounted for found.  He expressed support for an investigation by the United Nations and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to establish the facts and hold people to account.  He went on to underline the fragile situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, describing the Council’s agreement on a prioritized mandate for MONUSCO as crucial.  Indeed, the Mission had received a robust mandate to protect civilians and provide support to the political process, he said, stressing the need for full implementation of the political agreement as the basis for moving towards free democratic elections.  The country’s future was in the hands of its leaders and people, he said, voicing hope that today’s action would move it one step closer to the stability and prosperity its citizens deserved.

FODÉ SECK (Senegal), conveying condolences to the families of Ms. Catalan and Mr. Sharp, and to the Governments of Sweden and the United States, said his thoughts were also with the four Congolese nationals whose fate remained unknown.  The murderers must be found and brought to justice, he stressed.  Noting that today’s mandate renewal marked a new phase of the United Nations presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said that his delegation’s support for the resolution had been guided by a desire for enhanced coordination among the partners concerned, which was needed to achieve the greatest possible impact of United Nations and African Union activities, as well as those of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region.  The resolution reaffirmed support for the 31 December 2016 political agreement, as well as for MONUSCO, which had been rendered more agile and now enjoyed better equipment to ensure that it could more effectively protect civilians, he said, adding that, as a troop contributor, Senegal awaited the Mission’s strategic review.

LUIS BERMÚDEZ (Uruguay) conveyed condolences to the bereaved families and countries of the expert group members “tragically struck down” alongside their Congolese interpreter.  Welcoming today’s unanimous adoption, he said most of Uruguay’s peacekeepers were deployed to MONUSCO, noting that the complex situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was characterized by contingents and civilians facing bleak circumstances that showed no signs of improving.  Expressing support for the Secretary-General’s recommendations not to reduce deployed Mission staff, he said the reduction outlined in today’s resolution was “sharply divorced” from reality on ground.  United Nations resources must be used most efficiently, yet “we are penny-pinching” over a peacekeeping operation in a complex situation.  Troop reductions should not affect MONUSCO’s civilian-protection tasks, he cautioned, pointing out that the Council had only ever cut operations and lifted sanctions in theatres where progress had been made.

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), Council President for March, spoke in his national capacity, describing the text as “a crucial resolution at a crucial time for the [Democratic Republic of the Congo]”.  The 31 December 2016 agreement had brought hope for a peaceful handover of power to the Congolese people, but the country had since suffered growing insecurity and witnessed a clear link between escalating local tensions and national politics, he said.  Vulnerable civilians continued to bear the brunt of that instability, and the resolution sent a clear message in response, he emphasized.  First, it established the protection of civilians and implementation of the political agreement as clear priorities; secondly, it reaffirmed the importance of human rights; and thirdly, it retained MONUSCO’s robust mandate to tackle armed groups, including through its Force Intervention Brigade.  “We all know that mandates are only as good as the people executing them,” he said, emphasizing that the troop reduction was not about cost, but about using the Mission’s vast resources in a more focused way.

IGNACE GATA MAVITA (Democratic Republic of the Congo) expressed condolences to the families of Mr. Sharp and Ms. Catalan, saying his country’s Government deeply regretted their deaths.  It would continue to support efforts to identify the perpetrators of that heinous act and hold them accountable, he vowed.  Welcoming the renewal of MONUSCO’s mandate, as well as efforts to enhance the Mission’s effectiveness, nevertheless voiced regret that the resolution failed to take disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, as well as justice and security sector reform, into account, among the Mission’s strategic priorities.  Taking note of the downsizing of MONUSCO’s troop ceiling by 3,600 personnel, he said the Government would continue to participate in the strategic dialogue aimed at defining the schedule leading to the Mission’s orderly withdrawal.

He recalled that the Conférence épiscopale nationale du Congo had received a mandate to undertake a good-offices function with actors in the country, with a view to ensuring peaceful elections, he said the parties concerned had nevertheless reached stalemate on a number of “political arrangements”, including the appointment of a Prime Minister.  However, such stumbling blocks should in no way be viewed as a definitive break in the dialogue process, he said, emphasizing that talks would continue.  Another key issue was that of combatant members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), he said, pointing out that they remained inside his country, which had not been responsible for creating that group, but was now dealing with the outcome.  The Government was taking steps to move the combatants back to their home countries or two third-party States, he said, adding that the resolution should have placed the United Nations — not the Congolese Government — at the forefront in addressing that issue.

AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, spoke in his capacity as Chair of the Ministerial Committee of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).  Recalling the creation of MONUSCO’s Force Intervention Brigade as a “unique innovation to the doctrine of United Nations peacekeeping and peace support” — particularly in the context of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s extraordinary and complex security and political situation — he said new security threats were nevertheless confronting that country.  New asymmetrical strategies and tactics had emerged, including terrorism, low-intensity guerrilla-type insurgency, fetish violence and the ideology of genocide.  “These developments are changing the nature of combat operations and requirements for the [Force Intervention Brigade],” he stressed, pointing out that “politically motivated agendas” were among the additional threats facing civilians.

Against that backdrop, he continued, the Council, alongside the SADC, the African Union, the Great Lakes Conference and the Francophone countries, should seize upon the political situation prevailing inside the Democratic Republic of the Congo to find a lasting solution.  “Security concerns shouldn’t again be used by the Government and other political actors in Kinshasa to renege or delay the political commitment arrived at on 31 December last year.”  MONUSCO would bear special responsibilities in securing a political space for free, fair and peaceful elections, he said, adding that the international community must exert pressure on all political actors in the country to overcome the current political impasse delaying implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement.  The SADC would dispatch a ministerial mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in two weeks to confer with stakeholders in that regard, he said.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2348 (2017) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially its resolutions 2293 (2016), 2277 (2016), 2211 (2015), 2198 (2015), 2147 (2014), 2136 (2014) and 2098 (2013),

Reaffirming the basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force, except in self-defence and defence of the mandate, and recognizing that the mandate of each peacekeeping mission is specific to the need and situation of the country concerned,

Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as all States in the region and emphasizing the need to respect fully the principles of non-interference, good-neighbourliness and regional cooperation,

Recalling that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo bears the primary responsibility to protect civilians within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction, including protection from crimes against humanity and war crimes,

Reaffirming its strong support for the comprehensive and inclusive political agreement signed in Kinshasa on 31 December 2016, commending the tireless efforts by the Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo mediators to facilitate the agreement, and calling for a swift implementation of the agreement, in good faith and in all its components, in order to organize peaceful, credible, inclusive and timely elections no later than December 2017, leading to a peaceful transfer of power, in accordance with the Congolese Constitution,

Recalling that full and timely implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement is critical in supporting the legitimacy of the transitional institutions, stressing the crucial importance of a peaceful and credible electoral cycle, in accordance with the Constitution and respecting the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, for lasting stabilization and consolidation of constitutional democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and calling for the immediate implementation of confidence-building measures, as per the agreement, including by putting an end to restrictions of the political space in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular arbitrary arrests and detention of members of the political opposition and of civil society, as well as restrictions of fundamental freedoms such as the freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom of the press,

Stressing the importance of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its national partners taking all necessary steps to accelerate preparations for the elections without further delays, and to ensure an environment conducive to the peaceful and inclusive conduct of political activities, including the security of all political actors, and reiterating its commitment to act accordingly regarding all Congolese actors whose actions and statement impede the implementation of the agreement and the organization of the elections,

Remaining deeply concerned by reports of increased serious human rights and international humanitarian law violations committed by some members of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), the National Intelligence Agency, the Republican Guard and Congolese National Police (PNC), including against members of the opposition and of civil society in the context of the electoral process, urging all parties to refrain from violence and provocation, stressing the importance of releasing all persons detained arbitrarily, including human rights defenders and persons of different political affiliations, and emphasizing that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo must respect human rights and comply with the principle of proportionality in the use of force,

Reiterating its concern over the lack of progress in the investigations and prosecutions against alleged perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses committed during the 2011 electoral process, in January 2015 and in September and December 2016, and calling for further efforts to hold those responsible to account and fight impunity,

Recalling the importance of fighting impunity within all ranks of FARDC and PNC, commending the Democratic Republic of the Congo authorities for prosecutions and convictions of members of the FARDC and PNC for crimes against humanity, and stressing the need for the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue to ensure the increased professionalism of its security forces,

Noting that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has continued to suffer from recurring and evolving cycles of conflict and persistent violence by armed groups, expressing particular concern at the reports of growing intercommunal and militia violence in some areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular in the regions of Kasaï and Tanganyika, including attacks against religious institutions, and killings of policemen, further expressing concerns at reports of mass graves, and calling upon all parties to take appropriate measures to protect and respect United Nations, diplomatic and foreign premises, property and personnel and other civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

Reiterating its deep concern regarding the security and humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo exacerbated by destabilizing activities of foreign and domestic armed groups, stressing the importance of neutralizing armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and recognizing the importance of efforts of the FARDC and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), including by conducting joint operations, in accordance with its mandate, in that regard, recalling the strategic importance of the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region, and reiterating its call to all signatories to fulfil promptly, fully and in good faith their respective commitments under this Framework in order to address the root causes of conflict and put an end to recurring cycles of violence, and promote lasting regional development,

Recalling that it is prepared to impose targeted sanctions under paragraph 7(d) and 7(e) of its resolution 2293 (2016), regarding inter alia human rights violations or abuses or violations of international humanitarian law,

Encouraging the continuation of efforts by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the African Union (AU), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to restore peace and security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, encouraging the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure continuous close cooperation with these and other international parties, and recognizing the efforts of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo aiming at the achievement of peace and national development,

Expressing concern at the illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources by armed groups among others, and the negative impact of armed conflict on protected natural areas, which undermines lasting peace and development for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and encouraging the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to strengthen efforts to safeguard those areas,

Remaining deeply concerned by the persistent high levels of violence and violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, condemning in particular those involving targeted attacks against civilians, widespread sexual and gender-based violence, recruitment and use of children by armed groups and militias, the forced displacement of significant numbers of civilians, extrajudicial executions and arbitrary arrests, recognizing their deleterious effect on the stabilization, reconstruction and development efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and emphasizing that all those responsible for all such violations and abuses must be swiftly apprehended, brought to justice and held accountable, and encouraging the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to facilitate access for the Joint Human Rights Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to all detention centres, hospitals and morgues and all other premises required for documenting human rights violations,

Welcoming the progress achieved by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the Presidential Adviser on Sexual Violence and the Recruitment of Children, to cooperate with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and MONUSCO, to implement the action plans to prevent and end the recruitment and use of children and sexual violence by the FARDC, and to combat impunity for sexual violence in conflict, including sexual violence committed by the FARDC,

Stressing the need for continued cooperation with the International Criminal Court by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and stressing the importance of actively seeking to hold accountable those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country,

Remaining greatly concerned by the humanitarian situation that continues to severely affect the civilian population, expressing deep concern regarding the very high number of internally displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at more than 2.2 million, and the 452,000 refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the more than 468,000 refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of ongoing hostilities, calling upon the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all States in the region to work towards a peaceful environment conducive to the realization of durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons, including their eventual voluntary return and reintegration in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in conditions of safety and dignity, with the support of the United Nations country team, stressing that any such solution should be in line with relevant obligations under international refugee law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and stressing the need to manage the closure of camps in a manner that respects the rights of internally displaced persons, in accordance with international law,

Expressing further concern at increased impediments to humanitarian access in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo resulting from insecurity and violence, as well as continued attacks against humanitarian actors and assets, and calling upon all parties in the conflict to respect the impartiality, independence and neutrality of humanitarian actors,

Noting with concern the slow progress in the implementation of the national plan for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former armed groups and militia combatants, and, while welcoming the return of thousands of former combatants to their communities since inception of the plan, expressing concern at the lack of provision of adequate reintegration measures for these combatants,

Recalling all its relevant resolutions on women, peace and security, on children and armed conflicts, and on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, also recalling the conclusions on children and armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (document S/AC.51/2014/3) adopted on 18 September 2014 by the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflicts pertaining to the parties in armed conflicts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and welcoming efforts of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in this regard,

Welcoming the efforts of MONUSCO and international partners in delivering training in human rights, international humanitarian law, gender mainstreaming, child protection and protection from sexual and gender-based violence for Congolese security institutions and underlining their importance,

Reaffirming that the successful protection of civilians is critical to the fulfilment of MONUSCO’s mandate and the delivery of an improved security environment, also stressing the importance of peaceful means and progress on key reforms to promote the protection of civilians, as well as appropriate prioritization and resourcing,

Reaffirming its strong support to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and MONUSCO in the implementation of their mandates, strongly encouraging the continuation of their efforts and calling on the Secretariat to support MONUSCO to fully implement its mandate,

Recalling that it is important that all MONUSCO contingents, including the contingents of the Intervention Brigade, are properly trained and effectively equipped, including with adequate language skills, staffed and supported to be able to sustain their commitment to carry out their respective tasks,

Reiterating its call on all parties to cooperate fully with MONUSCO and to remain committed to the full and objective implementation of the Mission’s mandate, reiterating its condemnation of any and all attacks against peacekeepers, and emphasizing that those responsible for such attacks must be held accountable,

Emphasizing that MONUSCO’s activities should be conducted in such a manner as to build and sustain peace and facilitate progress towards sustainable peace and development, stressing the need to involve the United Nations country team and, in this regard, emphasizing the importance of joint analysis and effective strategic planning with the United Nations country team,

Determining that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

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

Political situation and electoral process

“1.   Calls on all stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including President Kabila, the presidential majority and the opposition, to swiftly implement the 31 December 2016 agreement, in good faith and in all its components, and to redouble their efforts towards a speedy conclusion of the ongoing talks on the ‘arrangements particuliers’, in order to urgently nominate a Prime Minister presented by the Rassemblement, as per the agreement, to put in place the Conseil national de suivi de l’accord and to fully implement confidence-building measures, in order to proceed without further delay to the preparation of the presidential and legislative elections due to take place before the end of 2017;

“2.   Reiterates its determination to bring its full support to implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement and that effective, swift and timely implementation of the agreement is critical to a credible process and the peace and stability of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

“3.   Calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its national partners, including the Independent National Electoral Commission, to ensure a transparent and credible electoral process, in fulfilment of their primary responsibility to create propitious conditions for the forthcoming elections, as per the 31 December 2016 agreement, including full participation of women at all stages;

“4.   Acknowledges the progress in voter registration with the assistance of MONUSCO, calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission to publish immediately a revised comprehensive electoral calendar, as per the 31 December 2016 agreement, and to complete without delay a credible update of the electoral register, calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to put in place swiftly an adequate and credible electoral budget, to ensure the successful and timely holding of elections no later than December 2017, as per the agreement, and in accordance with the Constitution, and respecting the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, encourages donors to fund accordingly the multi-partner fund for the Projet d’Appui au Cycle Electoral au Congo in order to support civic education, the deployment of elections monitors and provide other important types of support for the election process, and recalls that the effective establishment of the Conseil national de suivi de l’accord and the government of national unity, as well as a transparent and integrated United Nations approach will be important in that regard;

“5.   Calls on the Parliament during the ordinary session starting on 15 March 2017 to adopt revisions to the electoral law needed to keep the electoral timeline in conformity with the 31 December 2016 agreement;

“6.   Urges the Government as well as all relevant parties to ensure an environment conducive to a free, fair, credible, inclusive, transparent, peaceful and timely electoral process, in accordance with the Congolese Constitution, which includes free and constructive political debate, freedom of opinion and expression, including for the press, freedom of assembly, equitable access to media including State media, the security of all political actors, freedom of movement for all candidates, as well as for election observers and witnesses, journalists, human rights defenders and actors from civil society including women;

“7.   Underlines that a swift and complete implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement is critical in supporting the legitimacy of the transitional institutions, expresses its full support to the mediation led by Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo, urges all national stakeholders to keep engaging in an open and inclusive manner and extend cooperation to Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo in this regard, and requests the Secretary-General to provide political support to these efforts consistent with this resolution, including through his good offices;

Human Rights

“8.   Urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to hold accountable those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law or violations and abuses of human rights, as applicable, in particular those that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including those committed in the context of the electoral process, and stresses the importance to this end of both regional cooperation and cooperation with the International Criminal Court;

“9.   Calls upon the Congolese authorities to ensure the prosecution of those responsible for the crimes involving grave human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of the 28 November 2011 elections and the current electoral process, in particular in January 2015, on 19, 20 and 21 September and 19 December 2016;

“10.  Condemns the violence witnessed in the Kasaï region over recent months, expresses grave concern at serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by local militia in that region, including those involving attacks on Democratic Republic of the Congo security forces and symbols of State authority, recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law, and further expresses serious concerns at the recent reports of mass graves and of killings of civilians by members of the security forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which might constitute war crimes under international law, welcomes the announcement by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that they will conduct investigations into violations of international humanitarian law and violations or abuses of human rights in the Kasaïs jointly with MONUSCO and the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in collaboration with the AU, in order to bring to justice and hold accountable all those responsible, and looks forward to their results;

“11.  Welcomes efforts made by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to combat and prevent sexual violence in conflict, including progress made in the fight against impunity through the arrest, prosecution and conviction of perpetrators from the FARDC and the PNC, and urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue to strengthen its efforts to combat impunity for sexual violence in conflict, including sexual violence committed by the FARDC and PNC at all levels, and to provide all necessary services and protection to survivors and victims, and further calls upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to complete investigations into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by members of the FARDC in line with the zero-tolerance policy and, if appropriate, to prosecute those responsible;

“12.  Encourages the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to implement in full its National Strategy and the Roadmap agreed during the national conference in Kinshasa from 11 to 13 October 2016 to evaluate the implementation of the joint communiqué between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Nations on the fight against sexual violence in conflict adopted in Kinshasa on 30 March 2013;

“13.  Welcomes the progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan to prevent and end the recruitment and use of children by the FARDC, and calls upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to take all necessary steps to end and prevent violations and abuses against children, and to ensure that children are not detained for their alleged association with armed groups and are handed over to child protection actors in line with the Ministry of Defence and the National Intelligence Agency Directives issued in 2013;

Armed Groups

“14. Strongly condemns all armed groups operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their violations of international humanitarian law as well as other applicable international law, and abuses of human rights especially those involving attacks on the civilian population, United Nations personnel and humanitarian actors, summary executions, sexual and gender based violence and large scale recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law, and reiterates that those responsible must be held accountable;

“15.  Demands that all armed groups cease immediately all forms of violence, including violations and abuses against children and other destabilizing activities, the illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources, and further demands that their members immediately and permanently disband, lay down their arms, reject violence and release children from their ranks, recalls in this regard its resolution 2293 (2016) renewing the sanctions regime established by its resolution 1807 (2008), and further calls for disarmament of Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) active leadership and combatants, who were perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, and have continued to promote and commit ethnically-based and other killings in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

“16.  Calls for joint operations by the FARDC and MONUSCO, including joint planning and tactical cooperation, in accordance with MONUSCO’s mandate, to ensure all efforts possible are being made to neutralize armed groups and stresses the need to carry out operations in strict compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable;

“17.  Condemns the brutal killings of more than 1,000 civilians in the Beni area since October 2014, including more than 230 in 2016 alone, some of which occurred near MONUSCO bases, expresses deep concern regarding the persistence of violence in this region, reiterates the urgent need for a thorough and prompt investigation into these attacks in order to ensure that those responsible are held to account, and calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to take further military action, in accordance with international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable, in coordination and with the support of MONUSCO in accordance with its mandate, to end the threat posed by armed groups operating in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo;

“18.  Reiterates its call to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and all signatory States under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework to redouble their efforts in order to fully and promptly implement their commitments in good faith, including not interfering in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries, neither tolerating nor providing assistance or support of any kind to armed groups, and not harbouring war criminals;

“19.  Expresses concern at recent incursions of former 23 March Movement combatants in Democratic Republic of the Congo, requests the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda to strengthen their collaboration to ensure the repatriation of former 23 March Movement combatants located in their territories consistent with the Nairobi declarations and in line with commitments under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, calls upon the former 23 March Movement leadership to cooperate fully with the repatriation of former combatants consistent with its commitment under the Nairobi declarations, and reiterates the importance of ensuring that all provisions of the signed documents are implemented swiftly and in good faith and, in this regard, that the 23 March Movement does not regroup, join other armed groups, or, resume military activities;

“20.  Calls for a suitable solution for the relocation of elements of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in Opposition currently present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the support of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the wider region, international partners and the Secretary-General through his good offices, welcomes the establishment of a joint working group, and supports the efforts of the United Nations in that regard;

“21.  Calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has the primary responsibility for safeguarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to make further meaningful progress in implementing its commitments under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, in particular as regards the consolidation of State authority, reconciliation, tolerance and democracy, and to remain fully committed to protecting the civilian population through the swift establishment of professional, accountable and sustainable security forces, the deployment of an accountable Congolese civil administration, in particular the police, judiciary, prison and territorial administration and the consolidation of rule of law and promotion and protection of human rights;

“22.  Notes with deep concern the limited progress in those fields essential for the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s stabilization and reiterates its call to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to take further steps in particular to uphold its national commitments to security sector reform, and to implement fully and immediately the national disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme;

“23.  Calls for continued national efforts to address the threat posed by the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons, including inter alia through ensuring the safe and effective management, storage and security of their stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, with the continued support of MONUSCO, as appropriate and within existing resources;

“24.  Urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fully implement and provide without delay appropriate funding to its disarmament, demobilization and reintegration Plan including with regards to reintegration, training, and preparation for resettlement in communities, as well as to weapons and ammunition management activities, in order to be able to effectively deal with former combatants, including those already under FARDC responsibility and acknowledges that the absence of a credible disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process is preventing armed elements from laying down their weapons;

“25.  Calls on the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region to continue his regional and international engagement in furtherance of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region, including through the promotion of timely, credible, and inclusive national elections, regional dialogue and by continuing, in close coordination with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to lead, coordinate and assess the implementation of the national and regional commitments under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, as well as to continue his engagement in regional initiatives with key partners to address the underlying root causes of conflict, while avoiding overlapping with other United Nations institutions;

MONUSCO’s Mandate

“26.  Decides to extend until 31 March 2018 the mandate of MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including, on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent or any prejudice to the agreed principles of peacekeeping, its Intervention Brigade;

“27.  Taking into account the recommendations of the Secretary-General in his report (document S/2017/206), decides that MONUSCO’s authorized troop ceiling will be composed of 16,215 military personnel, 660 military observers and staff officers, 391 police personnel and 1,050 personnel of formed police units;

“28.  Decides that the strategic priorities of MONUSCO are to contribute to the following objectives:

(a)   Protection of civilians, as described in paragraph 34(i) of this resolution;

(b)   Support to the implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement and the electoral process, as described in paragraph 34(ii) of this resolution, in order to contribute to the stabilization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

“29.  Requests all components of the MONUSCO force, as well as its police and the civilian components to work together in an integrated way, and encourages MONUSCO and the United Nations system in-country to strengthen integration through joint analysis and joint planning based on comparative advantages and joint implementation arrangements;

“30.  Notes that drivers behind different armed groups' activities and militia violence are varied and that there is no purely military solution to these problems, underlines the importance of enhanced political and conflict analysis to inform comprehensive military and civil responses to these threats across MONUSCO, including through collecting and analysing information on the criminal networks which support these armed groups and further underlines the need for tailored responses in tackling armed groups;

“31.  Stresses the need for coordination and cooperation between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other national authorities, United Nations entities and development actors to build and sustain peace, stabilize, improve security situation and assist in restoration of State authority;

“32.  Reaffirms that the protection of civilians must be given priority in decisions about the use of available capacity and resources;

“33.  Authorizes MONUSCO, in pursuit of the objectives described in paragraph 32 above, to take all necessary measures to carry out its mandate and requests the Secretary-General to immediately inform the Security Council should the MONUSCO force or police fail to do so;

“34.  Decides that the mandate of MONUSCO shall include the following priority tasks, bearing in mind that these tasks as well as those in paragraph 35 below are mutually reinforcing:

(i)   Protection of civilians

(a)   Ensure effective and dynamic protection of civilians under threat of physical violence, including by preventing, deterring, and stopping all armed groups and local militias from inflicting violence on the populations, and by supporting and undertaking local mediation efforts to prevent escalation of violence, paying particular attention to civilians gathered in displaced persons and refugee camps, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders, with a focus on violence emerging from any of the parties engaged in the conflict, as well as in the context of elections, and mitigating the risk to civilians before, during and after any military operation;

(b)   Work with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to identify threats to civilians and implement existing prevention and response plans and strengthen civil-military cooperation, including joint planning, to ensure the protection of civilians from abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and violations and abuses committed against children and persons with disabilities, and requests MONUSCO to accelerate the coordinated implementation of monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on sexual violence in conflict;

(c)   Enhance its interaction with civilians, including by the troops, to raise awareness and understanding about its mandate and activities, to strengthen its early warning mechanism, and to increase its efforts to monitor and document violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, including in the context of elections;

(d)   Neutralize armed groups through the Intervention Brigade: in support of the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the basis of information collection and analysis, and taking full account of the need to protect civilians and mitigate risk before, during and after any military operation, carry out targeted offensive operations through the Intervention Brigade with the support of the whole of MONUSCO, either unilaterally or jointly with the FARDC, in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law, and in accordance with the standing operating procedures applicable to persons who are captured or who surrender, and with the human rights due diligence policy on United Nations support to non-United Nations forces, prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and disarm them in order to contribute to the objective of reducing the threat posed by armed groups to state authority and civilian security in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and to make space for stabilization activities, and for the whole of MONUSCO force component to guarantee effective protection of civilians, including in support of operations conducted by the Intervention Brigade to neutralize armed groups and in areas where armed groups have been neutralized;

(e)   Provide good offices, advice and assistance to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure actions against armed groups are supported by civilian and police components as part of consolidated planning which provides a comprehensive response to area-based stabilization efforts;

(f)   Work with the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to arrest and bring to justice those allegedly responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law and violations or abuses of human rights in the country, including leaders of armed groups and those who support them, including through cooperation with States of the region and the International Criminal Court;

(g)   Provide good offices, advice and support to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to promote human rights, in particular civil and political rights, and to fight impunity, including through the implementation of the Government’s “zero-tolerance policy” with respect to discipline and human rights and international humanitarian law violations, committed by elements of the security sector, and to engage and facilitate mediation efforts at the local level to advance sustainable peace;

(ii)  Implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement and Support to the Electoral Process

(a)   Provide technical and political support to the implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement, including to the Conseil national de suivi de l’accord, the Government of National Unity, the mediation led by Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo, and other relevant institutions, in coordination with regional and international partners, with a view to furthering reconciliation and democratization, paving the way for holding the elections before the end of 2017, consistent with paragraphs 1 to 6 above;

(b)   Monitor, report immediately to the Security Council, and follow-up on human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law to report on restrictions on political space and violence, including in the context of the elections, and support the United Nations system in-country to ensure that any support provided by the United Nations shall be consistent with international humanitarian law and human rights law and refugee law as applicable;

(c)   Provide technical assistance and logistical support for the electoral process, as appropriate and in coordination with Congolese authorities, the United Nations country team, regional and international actors, in order to facilitate the electoral cycle, in particular by engaging in a regular and substantial dialogue with the Independent National Electoral Commission, and decides that this support will be continually assessed and reviewed according to the progress made by the Congolese authorities in the steering of the electoral process, particularly on presidential and legislative elections, in accordance with paragraphs 1 to 6 above;

(d)   Contribute to the provision of training to the PNC in relation to elections security, including through human rights training, in compliance with the United Nations’ human rights due diligence policy on United Nations support to non-United Nations forces;

(iii) Protection of the United Nations

“Ensure the protection of United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment and the security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel;

“35.  Further authorizes MONUSCO to pursue the following tasks:

(i)   Stabilization and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

(a)   Provide coordination between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, international partners and United Nations agencies in a targeted, sequenced and coordinated approach to stabilization informed by up to date conflict analysis, through the implementation of the International Security and Stabilization Support Strategy and adoption of a conflict-sensitive approach across the Mission, in order to establish functional, professional, and accountable state institutions, including security and judicial institutions;

(b)   Continue to collaborate with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the swift and vigorous implementation of the action plan to prevent and end the recruitment and use of children and sexual violence against children by the FARDC, and continue dialogue with all listed parties to obtain further commitments and work towards the development and implementation of action plans to prevent and end violations and abuses against children;

(c)   Provide good offices, advice and assistance to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in close cooperation with other international partners, in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of Congolese combatants not suspected of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or abuses of human rights, into a peaceful civilian life in line with a community violence reduction approach through community-based security and stabilization measures coordinated under the framework of the International Security and Stabilization Support Strategy, while paying specific attention to the needs of children formerly associated with armed forces and groups;

(d)   Provide support to the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration process to return and reintegrate foreign combatants not suspected of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or abuses of human rights and their dependants to a peaceful civilian life in their country of origin, or a receptive third country while paying specific attention to the needs of children formerly associated with armed forces and groups;

(ii)  Security Sector Reform

“Work with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

(a)   in the reform of the police, including by assisting the Comité de réforme de la police, and by advocating for the establishment of the Secrétariat Général à la sécurité et à l’ordre public that will coordinate security institutions with a law enforcement mission;

(b)   to encourage and accelerate national ownership of security sector reform by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including through the development of a common national vision, to be encapsulated in a national security policy, as well as a clear and comprehensive security sector reform implementation roadmap including benchmarks and timelines, and play a leading role in coordinating the support for security sector reform provided by international and bilateral partners and the United Nations system;

(c)   in compliance with the human rights due diligence policy on United Nations support to non-United Nations forces, for army reform that would enhance its accountability, efficiency, self-sustainability, training, vetting and effectiveness, while noting that any support provided by the United Nations, including in the form of rations and fuel, should be for joint operations and subject to appropriate oversight and scrutiny;

(d)   for the implementation of any appropriate recommendations for justice and prison sector reforms as contained in the final report of the Etats généraux de la Justice, including on the fight against impunity, for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, in order to develop independent, accountable and functioning justice and security institutions;

(iii) Sanctions Regime

“Monitor the implementation of the arms embargo as described in paragraph 1 of resolution 2293 (2016) in cooperation with the Group of Experts established by resolution 1533 (2004), and in particular observe and report on flows of military personnel, arms or related materiel across the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including by using, as specified in the letter of the Council dated 22 January 2013 (document S/2013/44), surveillance capabilities provided by unmanned aerial systems, seize, collect, record and dispose of arms or related materiel brought into the Democratic Republic of the Congo in violation of the measures imposed by paragraph 1 of resolution 2293 (2016), and exchange relevant information with the Group of Experts;

(iv)  Mining Activities

“Encourage the consolidation of an effective national civilian structure that controls key mining activities and manages in an equitable manner the extraction, transport and trade of natural resources in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo;

Child protection

“36.  Requests MONUSCO to take fully into account child protection as a cross-cutting issue throughout its mandate and to assist the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in ensuring that the protection of children’s rights is taken into account, inter alia, in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes and in security sector reform, as well as during interventions leading to the separation of children from armed groups in order to end and prevent violations and abuses against children;

Gender, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

“37.  Requests MONUSCO to take fully into account gender considerations as a crosscutting issue throughout its mandate and to assist the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in ensuring the participation, involvement and representation of women at all levels, including in the creation of conditions conducive to the holding of elections, protection of civilians and support to stabilization efforts through, inter alia, the provision of gender advisers, and further requests enhanced reporting by MONUSCO to the Council on this issue;

“38.  Recalls its Presidential statement S/PRST/2015/22 and its resolution 2272 (2016), requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance of MONUSCO with the United Nations zero‑tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to keep the Council fully informed through his reports to the Council about the Mission’s progress in this regard, and urges troop- and police-contributing countries to take appropriate preventative action including predeployment awareness training, and to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;

“39.  Acknowledges the crucial role of United Nations Women Protection Advisers deployed in MONUSCO in supporting the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to implement its commitments on addressing sexual violence in conflict and calls on MONUSCO to ensure they continue to work closely with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo at both strategic and operational levels;

“40.  Requests MONUSCO to ensure that any support provided to national security forces is in strict compliance with the United Nations human rights due diligence policy on United Nations support to non-United Nations forces, and calls upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to work with MONUSCO to support the promotion of Democratic Republic of the Congo security service personnel with reputable human rights records;

Humanitarian Access

“41.  Demands that all parties allow and facilitate the full, safe, immediate and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, equipment and supplies and the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to populations in need, in particular to internally displaced persons, throughout the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, respecting the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance, including humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, and relevant provisions of international law;

“42.  Calls on all Member States to generously contribute to the United Nations humanitarian appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help ensure that United Nations humanitarian agencies and other international organizations are fully funded and able to address the protection and assistance needs of internally displaced persons, survivors of sexual violence and other vulnerable communities;

Support to the Group of Experts

“43.  Expresses its full support to the United Nations Group of Experts established by resolution 1533 (2004), calls for enhanced cooperation between all States, particularly those in the region, MONUSCO and the Group of Experts, encourages timely information exchange between MONUSCO and the Group of Experts, further encourages all parties and all States to ensure cooperation with the Group of Experts by individuals and entities within their jurisdiction or under their control and reiterates its demand that all parties and all States ensure the safety of its members and its support staff, and unhindered and immediate access, in particular to persons, documents and sites the Group of Experts deems relevant to the execution of its mandate;

Force effectiveness

“44.  Urges the United Nations to continuously incorporate lessons learned to conduct reforms across MONUSCO to better enable its offices and contingents to implement its mandate, in particular regarding the protection of civilians, and to improve Mission chain of command, increase the effectiveness of MONUSCO operations, strengthen safety and security of personnel and enhance MONUSCO’s ability to manage complex situations;

“45.  Demands that all relevant parties cooperate fully in the deployment, operations, and monitoring, verification, and reporting functions of MONUSCO, in particular by guaranteeing the safety, security, and unrestricted freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel, throughout the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

“46.  Requests MONUSCO to continue to maximise Force interoperability, flexibility, mobility and effectiveness in the implementation of the entirety of MONUSCO’s mandate, including by deploying rapidly deployable units, specialised capabilities, including information-gathering assets and specialized infantry, and by continuing to modernise and to strengthen the performance of the Force, bearing in mind the safety and security of all military contingents, police officers, military observers, and especially unarmed observers and reminds the Secretary General of the necessity to keep Memoranda of Understanding and Statements of Unit Requirements between the troop- and police-contributing countries and the United Nations up to date;

“47.  Commends the commitment of the troop- and police-contributing countries in implementing the Mission's mandate in a challenging environment, and in this connection, highlights that undeclared national caveats, lack of effective command and control, refusal to obey orders, failure to respond to attacks on civilians and inadequate equipment may adversely affect the shared responsibility for effective mandate implementation;

“48.  Requests MONUSCO to consider the environmental impacts of its operations when fulfilling its mandated tasks and, in this context, to manage them as appropriate and in accordance with applicable and relevant General Assembly resolutions and United Nations rules and regulations;

“49.  Takes note of the Secretary-General’s recommendation to consider the deployment of two Formed Police Units and associated enablers, and in this regard requests the Secretary-General to explore the possibility of inter-mission cooperation through appropriate transfers of troops and their assets from other United Nations missions to MONUSCO, subject to the following conditions:  (i) the Council’s information and approval, including on the scope and duration of the transfer; (ii) the agreement of the troop- and police-contributing countries; and (iii) the security situation where these United Nations missions are deployed and without prejudice to the performance of their mandates, and to report back to the Council in due course, including with any further recommendations as necessary;

Exit strategy

“50.  Stresses that MONUSCO’s exit should be phased and progressive, tied to specific targets developed through dialogue with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as through consultations with other stakeholders, with the Secretary-General to report to the Council at the end of each phase, and at regular intervals, on the progress made, and to make any necessary recommendations on the planning of subsequent phases of the withdrawal, and looks forward to the resumption of a strategic dialogue between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Nations in that regard;

Strategic review

“51.  Requests the Secretary-General, in accordance with best practices, to conduct a strategic review of MONUSCO, examining the continued relevance of all mandated tasks, priorities and related resources, as well as necessity to adapt the Mission’s mandate to the specific needs of the post-elections phase, with a view to:

(a)   Providing the Security Council with options, no later than 30 September 2017, for a reduction of MONUSCO’s Force and civilian components in order to maximize the efficient use of the Mission’s resources, to be delivered after the successful implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement, and sustainable progress in reducing the threat of armed groups, taking account of the Mission and the United Nations country team’s comparative advantages, capacities and other relevant factors, with a view to transferring relevant activities to the United Nations country team and other relevant partners, as appropriate; and

(b)   In light of the Security Council’s reaction to these options and following successful implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement, providing advice to the Security Council on an exit strategy, in line with paragraph 50 above and in advance of the next mandate renewal;

Reports by the Secretary-General

“52.  Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of MONUSCO's mandate, including its Intervention Brigade, as set out in this resolution, including on:

(i)   progress made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement and the electoral process, including on the provisions of paragraphs 1 to 6 above, as well as on the ways in which MONUSCO will be best prepared to address security risks and to monitor and report on human rights violations and abuses in the context of the elections, including in terms of deployment of the Force in areas identified as potential zones of instability and configuration of civilian and police component of MONUSCO, sexual violence and the impact of conflict on women and children, and any gender considerations made;

(ii)  the situation on the ground, including updates on operations to neutralize armed groups, in accordance with paragraph 34.i.d, and any instances where the Mission is not effectively fulfilling its protection of civilians mandate, and the circumstances surrounding these instances;

(iii) progress made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo on protecting human rights and in the implementation of its commitments under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, including through the establishment and implementation of a national security sector reform roadmap, its provincial stabilization plan supported by the International Security and Stabilization Support Strategy and on the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration plans;

(iv)  progress in the implementation of the measures taken to transform MONUSCO’s Force and improve its performance, including measures to ensure Force effectiveness as outlined in paragraphs 44 to 47, the deployment of rapidly deployable battalions and employment of the Intervention Brigade’s capabilities, to become more mobile, efficient and effective in implementing its mandate, and on the definition of an exit strategy for MONUSCO, including the Intervention Brigade;

(v)   the risks and their implications for the safety and the security for the United Nations personnel and facilities as a result of the possible military operations, as well as measures taken to strengthen their security and mitigate risks;

“53.  Requests the Secretary-General to update the Security Council in writing every 45 days on political and technical progress and obstacles to the implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement, when no regular reports are due;

“54.  Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council every six months, in coordination with the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the implementation of the commitments under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework and its linkages with the broader security situation in the Great Lakes region;

“55.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

For information media. Not an official record.