United Nations (UN) planning to reduce its footprint in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was part of a recent visit to the troubled central African country by a delegation from the world body’s General Assembly (GA) fifth committee.
The committee is responsible for administrative and budgetary issues with its reports scrutinised for budget allocations, including peacekeeping missions such as MONUSCO (UN Stabilisation Mission in DRC).
The visit, from 18 to 22 April, had as its major objective assessment of the realities facing MONUSCO on the ground. Delegation members spoke to MONUSCO representatives of the various mission components for indications of the overall situation in the country, particularly as regards progress with the peace process.
Information gathered will be used in documentation for drafting the annual MONUSCO budget.
Bintou Keita, MONUSCO head, explained to the delegation its draft budget contains the necessary elements to ensure the mission implements the main priorities of its mandate and achieves progress in implementing the Joint Transition Plan while aware of the risks associated with an unstable and complex operating environment.
“The budget proposal follows a trend of steady reduction in mission resources over the past eight years, reflecting withdrawal to Kasai and Tanganyika provinces in line with the joint transition plan,” she told the New York delegation.
Ebrima Ceesay, Director of the Department of Mission Support (DMS), is on record as saying MONUSCO will see a budget cut of less than one percent which will “not affect civilian staff in this transitional phase”.
He indicated MONUSCO’s proposed budget was US$ 1,4 billion (over R21 billion.
Following its Kinshasa stop, the delegation flew to Goma in North Kivu and Kalemie in Tanganyika where the MONUSCO office is set to close in June 2023.