June 2023 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 May 2023
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UNOCA (Central Africa)  

Expected Council Action  

In June, the Security Council will hold a briefing and consultations on the Secretary-General’s semi-annual report on the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and the implementation of the UN’s regional strategy to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Special Representative and head of UNOCA Abdou Abarry is expected to brief. 

The mandate of UNOCA expires on 31 August 2024. 

Key Recent Developments  

The Council last received a briefing on the situation in Central Africa and the activities of UNOCA on 8 December 2022. Abarry updated Council members on a range of issues, including crucial electoral processes in several countries in the region in 2022 and 2023, the challenges that climate change poses to the region, the fight against terrorist groups in the Lake Chad basin, and maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea. President of the Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) Gilberto da Piedade Veríssimo also briefed the Council, highlighting some country situations such as the transition in Chad, the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the attack on military barracks in São Tomé and Príncipe following parliamentary elections in September 2022.   

Since the last reporting period, Abarry has visited several countries in the region, including Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe. He also took part in the ECCAS heads of state and government summit that took place in Kinshasa, DRC on 25 February. During the summit, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi handed over the rotating ECCAS chairmanship to Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba. Rwanda, a member of ECCAS, reportedly complained that it was excluded from participating in the summit hosted by the DRC.  

The challenging political situation in Chad was one of the issues discussed during the summit. In September 2022, the Inclusive and Sovereign National Dialogue (DNIS) in Chad, which brought together civilian and military opposition groups and civil society representatives, recommended an extension of the transition period for a further 24 months until October 2024. Major political players and rebel groups such as except for some major political opposition and rebel groups such as the Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde du Tchad (FACT) did not take part in the DNIS and its recommendations triggered violent protests in the country in October 2022. As a result, ECCAS decided to dispatch to the country an international fact-finding mission, including the UN, the AU, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) and the Lake Chad Basin Commission.  

At their earlier extraordinary summit on 25 October 2022, the ECCAS heads of state and government appointed Tshisekedi to be the facilitator of the Chadian political transition process. On 2 May, Tshisekedi met with Succès Masra, the leader of a Chadian opposition known as the Transformers in Kinshasa, to discuss the political transition in Chad.  

In November 2022, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) also requested the AU Commission to dispatch the AU Panel of the Wise to Chad to assess the situation on the ground and consult with all relevant stakeholders. The panel briefed the AUPSC on 11 May about its mission to Chad. According to the communiqué adopted following the briefing, the AUPSC reiterated its position that members of the Chadian transitional government should not take part in the elections at the end of the transition period. It also underscored the need for the Chadian transitional authorities to respect human rights and ensure accountability for all perpetrators of human rights violations. 

In Cameroon, the security situation remains a concern in the Anglophone northwest and southwest regions. In a 20 January statement following several months of secret talks reportedly held in Toronto and other towns in Québec, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly welcomed the agreement by the Cameroonian government and parties from the Anglophone northwest and southwest regions—including the Ambazonia Governing Council, the Ambazonia Defence Force, the African People’s Liberation Movement, the Southern Cameroons Defence Force, the Interim Government, and the Ambazonia Coalition Team—to find a negotiated solution to the long-standing conflict. The statement also indicated Canada’s readiness to facilitate this process. However, Cameroonian government spokesperson René Emmanuel Sadi said that “Yaoundé has never entrusted any country with the role of facilitator or mediator”, as quoted by the media.  

In the Lake Chad basin, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), composed of forces from Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, has intensified its military operations against terrorist groups Boko Haram and the Islamic State-West Africa Province (ISWAP). The MNJTF conducted a major operation, codenamed Scorpion, from 25 April to 2 May, which targeted terrorist enclaves in parts of Cameroon. In May, the MNJTF reported that it had conducted fighting patrols in various sectors in Chad and Niger aimed at disrupting terrorist infrastructure and logistics. 

Regarding maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana hosted an extraordinary summit on 25 April of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GCC), which was established in 2001 to provide a platform for consultation and cooperation among the countries of the Gulf of Guinea on issues of peace, security, and development. The meeting reportedly discussed the fight against maritime-related crimes in the GGC region. On 19 May, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) also held a meeting on “Strengthening Peacebuilding and the Implementation of the Regional Maritime Security Framework in the Gulf of Guinea”. The meeting was convened in observance of the tenth anniversary of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, which was adopted on 25 June 2013 at the regional summit of countries in the Gulf of Guinea held in Cameroon to prevent and punish acts of piracy, armed robbery against ships, and illicit maritime activities in the west and central Africa.  

Key Issues and Options  

The political and security situation in several parts of Central Africa continues to be a key concern for the Council. Council members are likely to remain interested in following up on developments related to the political transition in Chad and particularly the outcome of the international fact-finding mission regarding the October 2022 violence. They may also be keen to understand the regional implications of the fighting in Sudan and its likely impact on the situation in Chad and CAR.  

The other major issue relates to the elections that are taking place in countries in the region in 2023. Of particular interest to Council members could be the presidential and legislative elections in the DRC and Gabon and local elections in the CAR.   

The continued threat of terrorism in the Lake Chad basin and maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea have also been matters of concern.  

An option for Council members is to try to conclude the negotiations on the draft presidential statement on UNOCA that has been lingering for more than a year.  

Council Dynamics  

Council members support a holistic regional approach to addressing the peace and security challenges in Central Africa, based on cooperation between UNOCA and the various regional mechanisms. Recently, there has been an attempt to revive the discussions on the draft presidential statement on UNOCA that was unsuccessfully negotiated last year; however, Council members have not yet been able to build the necessary consensus on the draft text. Differences remain regarding the language on climate, peace and security.  

In this month’s UNOCA meeting, some Council members might be interested to learn more about behind-the-scenes efforts to find a negotiated solution to the situation in Cameroon. Switzerland, which was involved in past mediation efforts on this issue, will participate in the upcoming briefing and consultation on UNOCA for the first time as an elected member.  

Some members have continued to raise concerns about the destabilising role of the Wagner Group, a Russian private security company, and its reported involvement in human rights abuses in the region, particularly in CAR. 

Gabon and the UK are the co-penholders on UNOCA.  

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Security Council Presidential Statements
12 September 2019S/PRST/2019/10 This presidential statement expressed the Council’s full support for UNOCA.
Secretary-General’s Reports
1 December 2022S/2022/896 This was the semi-annual report on UNOCA.
Security Council Meeting Records
8 December 2022S/PV.9213 This was a meeting on the situation in Central Africa.


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