I thank Special Representative Keita, for her very informative briefing. My thanks also go to Ambassador Abarry and Nelly Mbangu for their contributions.
Let me start by highlighting some recent positive developments in the DRC:
Norway is pleased to see that the political tensions surrounding the composition of the coalition has stabilised; that women are well-represented in the cabinet; and that there has been progress on regional cooperation. These efforts, as well as the adoption of the Government’s plan of action, have paved the way for finalising the transition plan, as presented by SRSG Keita today.
Nevertheless, tensions have increased between political and civil society actors regarding the electoral reforms. Norway calls on the Congolese authorities to ensure an inclusive and transparent processes in the build-up to the 2023 elections.
Despite five months of a state of siege in Ituri and North Kivu by the government, the security situation in eastern DRC is deteriorating. The threat posed by armed groups - such as CODECO, and ADF - against civilians is particularly concerning.
The continual security challenges have led to more than 5 million being internally displaced, and further deepened a severe humanitarian crisis. Norway remains deeply troubled by the continued high number of human rights violations and abuses - including sexual and gender-based violence. We urge both the Congolese authorities, and the UN System to do their utmost to fight impunity and ensure justice for the victims and survivors.
As a final note on the state of siege: it must not be used as an excuse to limit democratic space. The detrimental effects on the justice system - as outlined in the SG’s report - is also of great concern.
The high level of activity of armed groups illustrates the need for sustainable livelihoods, and a well-functioning DDR programme. We therefore welcome the establishment of the Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Recovery and Stabilization Programme.
Focus now must be on the timely elaboration of the new integrated strategy, and its implementation. It is also important to keep sustained focus not only on DDR, but also on stabilisation efforts - including security sector reform, transitional justice, the fight against impunity, and democratic dialogue and reconciliation efforts.
In closing President,
We welcome MONUSCO’s transition plan for the phased and gradual drawdown of the mission. It provides a solid basis for a reconfigured MONUSCO. But the success of the transition hinges on constructive, effective cooperation and dialogue, between a range of stakeholders- including the Congolese authorities and different parts of the UN system. It is also dependent on strategic partnerships involving civil society, and the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women.
We expect that all play their part in these efforts. Norway will work with all relevant stakeholders to this end.