The UN Security Council heard implementation of a transition plan for the “progressive, responsible and conditions-based drawdown of MONUSCO is progressing” with the UN mission set to exit one of Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) 26 provinces as early as mid-next year.
Bintou Keita, head of the UN mission in the strife-torn central African country is also UN secretary general Antonio Guterres’ special representative in DRC, told the senior council of the world body MONUSCO, the UN country team (UNCT) and the DRC government continue to co-ordinate operationalisation of a transition plan by way of a joint working group. The transition plan was tabled at the Security Council in October.
At provincial level, MONUSCO and UNCT in collaboration with national and international stakeholders are operationalising the humanitarian-
development-peace nexus approach in Tanganyika. This, Keita said, was in anticipation of MONUSCO’s drawdown from the province by June 2022. In recent weeks, senior MONUSCO leadership with UN agencies, funds and programmes, led field visits to assess progress toward implementation of the exit strategy and enhance co-ordination with provincial and local authorities.
In Kasai, another DRC province where MONUSCO has withdrawn, what Keita termed “the UN system”, remains focussed on sustaining peacebuilding gains.
South Africa’s commitment to the mission, the largest of 12 the world body currently runs, is via a battalion strength commitment (under Operation Mistral) to MONUSCO’s force intervention brigade (FIB). The three-nation brigade operates in eastern DRC where its mandate to is to protect civilians, if needs be by using offensive tactics. The FIB is in the process of being enlarged with four quick reaction forces (QRFs) to boost response time. South Africa is contributing with indications the additional Mistral deployment will report for duty in the new year.