Thank you for convening this meeting. And thank you to Special Representative Keita, for your informative briefing. I also thank you, Ambassador Abarry and Ms Kalala, for your briefings.
We are deeply concerned about the security situation in the eastern DRC, and the humanitarian crisis facing the country. Despite the state of siege, the threat from armed groups persists.
Indiscriminate attacks against civilians in the DRC, including from ADF, must stop. We hope the current operations by the FARDC and Uganda to address cross-border threats from ADF will succeed.
However, we are concerned that the operations may lead to further escalation of violence and threats against the civilian population. We urge all parties to do their utmost to protect civilians and their livelihoods. We also call on all parties to keep MONUSCO closely informed of their activities.
We encourage the 1533 Committee to review implementation of the sanctions regime for the DRC, to ensure that it reflects the evolving situation on the ground.
We recall that designated individuals and entities should include those involved in acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the DRC. This includes especially acts that constitute human rights violations or abuses or violations of international humanitarian law.
Allow me to focus on two main points: women’s participation and the mission’s transition.
First, the contribution of Congolese women to peacebuilding cannot be overstated. The DRC has made progress regarding women’s participation. Yet, there is potential for increased direct and meaningful participation and stronger support to local women's organisations.
Women must be included at all levels and in all political and conflict prevention processes, such as electoral reform, in the 2023 election, and in the further transition of the mission. It is vital that MONUSCO prioritize its support to the DRC in implementing the UN-DRC Joint Communique, and action plans for the armed forces and the national police.
The implementation of the transition plan requires the full attention of the Congolese authorities; the whole UN system; and relevant partners.
It is important that tasks are transferred from MONUSCO to Congolese authorities, and the UN Country Team, in a sustainable manner. Congolese authorities and the UN system must be capable of taking on these responsibilities, before the actual transfer takes place.
While MONUSCO will exit DRC, we do not believe in fixed deadlines when it comes to MONUSCO’s exit from Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu. The benchmarks and the situation on the ground must guide us in a responsible process, which will most likely take longer than originally envisaged in the transition strategy.
We therefore call for stronger collaboration between all relevant actors, including civil society, to ensure the full achievement of the Joint Strategy’s benchmarks.
Recent developments underscore that sustained focus on the protection of civilians is a prerequisite for the transition. It is critical to ensure a phased and gradual approach. One that fully considers the risk of gaps in physical protection, which may expose conflict-affected civilians to new, or persistent, risks of harm.
The return to peace and stability will require the commitment of all. Norway will work with all relevant stakeholders for an inclusive and peaceful transition leading to sustainable peace in the DRC.