Council Consultations on the DRC
Council members are scheduled to meet on Monday (17 October), for a briefing via video-conference by the head of MONUSCO, Roger Meece. It appears the consultations are likely to focus on the November presidential election in the DRC. Council members appear interested in hearing about MONUSCO’s role in assisting the electoral process and in an assessment of the plausibility of holding a viable election as scheduled. It seems that some members are also interested in learning more about recent violations of human rights and sexual violence.
It seems that Council members may release a press statement following the meeting to encourage all actors in the DRC to facilitate a free and fair electoral process and to stress the importance of timely elections. However, Council members have not begun discussions on the press statement as it appears that most members would like to listen to Meece’s briefing on Monday to determine if such a statement is warranted and its exact content.
Another issue that might be raised by Meece is the shortage of helicopters in MONUSCO. In a letter circulated to Council members on 20 September (S/2011/589), the Secretary-General stated that the lack of military helicopters in MONUSCO had become acute and invited UN member states to address the root causes of this critical capability gap across UN peacekeeping operations. He also asked states to think “outside the box” for new and innovative solutions.
Several Council members felt that more information on the exact needs of MONUSCO was needed before they could act on the Secretary-General’s letter. As a result an expert level meeting was held on 3 October to allow DPKO to provide information on the gaps created by the lack of helicopters in MONUSCO and on progress regarding several pledges of helicopters given by some UN member states to the mission.