The Security Council today called for an independent strategic review of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) by 20 October, including the articulation of a phased, progressive and comprehensive exit strategy, while extending the mandate of that peacekeeping operation for nine months until 20 December.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2463 (2019) under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Council decided to maintain MONUSCO’s authorized troop ceiling at 16,215 military personnel, 660 military observers and staff officers, 391 police personnel and 1,050 personnel of formed police units. MONUSCO’s strategic priorities are to protect civilians and support the stabilization and strengthening of State institutions, as well as governance and security reforms.
The independent strategic review should assess options for adapting MONUSCO’s future configuration of its civilian, police and military components — including a possible reduction of its force and civilian footprint, in line with its priorities during the implementation of the exit strategy and benchmarks and indicators.
By other terms, the Council reaffirmed support for the development of a comprehensive and integrated performance policy framework that identifies clear standards for evaluating all United Nations civilian and uniformed personnel working in and supporting peacekeeping operations.
On the political front, the Council called on the country’s authorities to work towards the stabilization and strengthening of the capacity of State institutions. It further requested the Secretary-General and called on regional organizations to provide political support to such efforts.
The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said the nine‑month extension of MONUSCO’s mandate will allow minimum time to make fully informed decisions, and to calmly prepare for the Mission’s strategic review and gradual exit. While there is a need to re-establish peace in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, progress has been made on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, despite that this is not part of the Mission’s core mandate. He welcomed the preservation of the Intervention Brigade, as his Government requested the Council and its sanctions regime to designate the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) as a terrorist group. Regarding the reconfiguration of the Mission’s troops, he voiced regret that the Council did not take into account the view of the Government and the Secretary-General himself.
Indonesia’s delegate said the peaceful transfer of power in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is indeed a turning point in its history. MONUSCO has played an important role in the process and will be playing the same vital role in ensuring peace will last. He welcomed the resolution’s “appropriate recognition” of the important use of community engagement to enhance MONUSCO’s ability to support the Mission’s protection and to implement its mandated tasks, including protecting civilians. He voiced hope that the Secretary-General’s strategic review is carried out in consideration of what is needed by the Congolese people, underscoring the importance of accommodating their concerns.
The representative of the United States said today’s resolution includes new language on peacekeeping performance. “As a result, we expect to see an improvement”, including through disarmament and mediation. On the text’s references to the International Criminal Court, he objected to any assertion that the Court has jurisdiction over States which are not party to the Rome Statute, including Israel and the United States. His Government respects the decision of those nations who have joined the Statute, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he added, emphasizing that the United States in turn expects other countries to respect its decision to not join the Statute.
The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France stressed MONUSCO’s important role in bringing progress over the past 20 years. The Mission is essential, given the presence of armed groups. A nine-month extension of its mandate will give the Secretariat time to conduct an independent strategic review, and the Security Council time to discuss with the Congolese authorities to assess the situation. The Mission should conduct internal reforms within the mandate.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire said the Mission needs support from the United Nations, but should not become a permanent presence.
The Minister for Defence and Military Veterans of South Africa called the mandate renewal a demonstration of the Council’s commitment to addressing perennial instability. She expressed concern over the security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the illegal exploitation and trafficking of natural resources. The Government must strengthen the capacity of State institutions, with support from the Mission, she said, stressing that the Congolese people must be able to reap the rewards of their country’s abundant natural resources.
Equatorial Guinea’s delegate welcomed the peaceful handover of power noted in the resolution, adding that the President needs international support and time to consolidate his legitimate authority.
The Dominican Republic’s delegate expressed hope that Germany, which will assume the Council’s presidency for April, will follow the footsteps of France, the current president, in conducting Council affairs.
The meeting began at 5:28 p.m. and ended at 6:03 p.m.