UNOCA (Central Africa)
Expected Council Action
In December, François Louncény Fall, Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), is expected to brief the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s semi-annual report on UNOCA. Consultations are expected to follow.
The mandate of UNOCA expires on 31 August 2024.
Key Recent Developments
When he last briefed the Council on 7 June, Fall said that while Central Africa was “facing a fragile political and security context”, Central African leaders were determined to offer regional responses to these challenges. To facilitate such an approach, Fall has recently visited several countries in the mission area, meeting leaders as well as heads of UN offices and peace operations.
In the Central African Republic (CAR), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) adopted a “Joint Roadmap for Peace” on 16 September, which, among other key steps, called for the CAR government to declare a ceasefire. This was followed by a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at building support for the roadmap and the ceasefire. From 5 to 7 October, Fall and Mankeur Ndiaye, the Special Representative and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA), visited Angola, where they met with Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, the ICGLR’s current chairperson, to discuss steps the region could take to facilitate a ceasefire. Fall and Ndiaye subsequently met with CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra in Bangui on 8 October to discuss how to advance the peace process and bring about the ceasefire. On 15 October, Touadéra announced that his government would begin implementing a unilateral ceasefire effective 16 October.
On 12 November, the Security Council adopted resolution 2605, renewing MINUSCA’s mandate for one year within its existing troop ceiling of 14,400 military personnel and 3,020 police personnel. The resolution retains the mission’s priority tasks, including the protection of civilians; good offices and support to the peace process and the Political Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in the CAR; and facilitation of the immediate, full, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance. The resolution received 13 votes in favour, while China and Russia abstained.
The security situation remains precarious in Cameroon’s anglophone northwestern and southwestern regions, where fighting between separatists and the Cameroonian government persists. In recent weeks, several high-profile violent incidents took place, disrupting the delivery of humanitarian assistance and heightening insecurity. On 15 September, armed separatists declared a lockdown in the region, forcing OCHA to suspend humanitarian activities for two weeks, which resulted in approximately 200,000 people not receiving vital food assistance. On 5 October, gunshots were fired near a venue in Douala where Cameroonian Prime Minister Dion Ngute was speaking. On 14 October, a local policeman in Buea killed a five-year-old girl when he fired at a car whose driver did not stop at a checkpoint; a crowd subsequently lynched the police officer in response. Another child was killed on 12 November in the northwest’s regional capital, Bamenda, when police fired on a nearby vehicle; the next day, schools and businesses remained shut as large crowds demonstrated. On 29 October, the Cameroonian government announced that its military had killed some 40 anglophone separatists in the northwest of the country over the previous two weeks.
In Chad, Mahamat Idriss Déby, the head of the Transitional Military Council (CMT), which took power in April, appointed a 93-member National Transitional Council (CNT) to serve as an interim parliament until elections are held next year. On 2 October, Chad’s main opposition alliance, Wakit Tama, organised marches in N’Djamena against the CMT. A police officer was killed and ten people were injured when police fired tear gas on the protesters.
Fall, along with Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Special Representative and head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), visited Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger from 18 October to 2 November to promote implementation of resolution 2349, which addresses the negative effects of the Boko Haram crisis in the Lake Chad Basin. During the visits, they encouraged the four countries to work together to confront Boko Haram.
Key Issues and Options
The security and human rights situations in several parts of Central Africa remain a key concern for the Council. The threat of climate change to peace and security in the region is also of concern to a number of Council members. (In his 7 June briefing, Fall described several areas in the region where “climate security had impacted human security”).
The Council may wish to adopt a presidential statement endorsing UNOCA’s efforts to address security concerns in the region.
In August, UNOCA’s mandate was renewed for three years. (UNOCA’s mandate was established and is renewed through an exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Council, rather than through the adoption of a resolution).
While there appears to be overall support in the Council for UNOCA’s role in Central Africa—with a 12 September 2019 presidential statement demonstrating the Council’s consensus on UNOCA’s mandate—Council members were unable to reach consensus on a presidential statement on UNOCA in the context of August’s mandate renewal. Differences apparently emerged on whether to refer to specific countries in the text.
Some Council members, such as the UK and the US, have expressed concern about the situation in Cameroon, arguing that UNOCA should focus on the security and humanitarian conditions in that country. Other members, such as China and Russia, maintain that the situation is an internal matter and that the Council should intervene only upon Cameroon’s request.
The UK is the penholder on UNOCA. Ambassador Abdou Abarry (Niger) chairs the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee.
UN DOCUMENTS ON UNOCA
|1 June 2021S/2021/517||This was the Secretary-General’s semi-annual report on UNOCA.|
|Security Council Presidential Statements|
|12 September 2019S/PRST/2019/10||This presidential statement expressed the Council’s full support for UNOCA.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|7 June 2021S/PV.8787||This was a meeting on the situation in Central Africa.|