March 2019 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 February 2019
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AFRICA

Great Lakes Region

Expected Council Action

In March, Said Djinnit will brief the Council for the last time as Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, before being succeeded by Huang Xia.

Recent Developments and Dynamics

The Council continues to be seized of several country issues in the Great Lakes region. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), elections were held on 30 December 2018 after a two-year delay. Provisional results were announced on 10 January, declaring Felix Tshisekedi, head of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, the winner of the presidential election ahead of rival opposition candidate Martin Fayulu and former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary from then-President Joseph Kabila’s party. Despite protests from the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO), which observed the elections and claimed that Fayulu was the clear winner, Tshisekedi was inaugurated on 24 January.

Notwithstanding questions surrounding the election results, Council members seem to have taken the view that the best way forward is to engage with the new president and his government. Ahead of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) mandate renewal at the end of March, France led an expert-level visit to the DRC in January that included European members, the US, and South Africa. At the conclusion of the visit, some of the experts were of the view that the situation in the DRC remains unpredictable and that a mandate change would be inadvisable until a new government is formed in April.

The security situation and human rights violations in the DRC continue to be of concern. On 16 January, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement that according to credible sources, at least 890 people were killed between 16 and 18 December 2018 in four villages in Yumbi territory, Mai-Ndombe province, in clashes allegedly between the Banunu and Batende communities. (For more see the DRC brief in this Monthly Forecast.)

On the Central African Republic (CAR), the Council adopted resolution 2448 on 13 December 2018, renewing the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 15 November 2019. On 31 January, in resolution 2454, the Council renewed the sanctions on CAR until 31 January 2020. The resolution further expresses the Council’s intention to establish, no later than 30 April, benchmarks that could serve as a potential basis for the Council to lift the arms embargo currently placed on the government of the CAR.

A Global Peace Agreement was signed by the CAR government and 14 armed groups, which still control vast parts of the country, on 6 February under the auspices of the AU-led African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the CAR. On 13 February, Council members issued a press statement welcoming the signing. The agreement was discussed during the briefing on the latest MINUSCA report on 21 February.

On Burundi, the political situation—which deteriorated sharply after April 2015 when Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a controversial third term later that year—remains unsettled. The future of the East African Community-led inter-Burundian dialogue, which has yet to produce results, is unclear after its facilitator, Benjamin Mkapa, provided his final report concluding his work in December 2018 to the official mediator, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

On 19 February, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Burundi, Michel Kafando, and the Chair of the Burundi Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, Ambassador Jürg Lauber (Switzerland), briefed the Council, followed by consultations. During the meeting, some Council members, including China and Russia, suggested that Burundi be removed from the Council’s agenda as the security situation is stable. Others, such as the UK, argued that given the political situation and human rights violations, the Council should continue to be seized of the issue.

UN Documents on the Great Lake Region
Security Council Resolutions
31 January 2019S/RES/2454 This was a resolution renewing the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 2127 Central African Republic Sanctions Committee.
13 December 2018S/RES/2448 The Council extended the mandate of MINUSCA and the authorisation to use all the means to provide operational support to MINUSCA until 15 November 2019.
Secretary-General’s Reports
15 February 2019S/2019/147 This was the Secretary-General’s most recent report on the CAR.
Security Council Meeting Records
21 February 2019S/PV.8467 This was a briefing by departing Special Representative and head of MINUSCA, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, on the latest MINUSCA report.
19 February 2019S/PV.8465 The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Michel Kafando, briefed the Council on Burundi.
Security Council Press Statements
13 February 2019SC/13701 This was a press statement drafted by France, the penholder on the Central African Republic, that welcomed the signing of a recent peace agreement by CAR authorities and 14 armed groups in Bangui on 6 February 2019.