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1. I have the honor to make this statement on behalf of the A3+1, namely Kenya, Niger, Tunisia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

2. The A3+1 thanks Ms. Bintou Keita, for her briefing and commends her for her commitment to peace and security efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We also thank Ms. Me Nelly Mbangu, coordinator of sauti ya mama for her briefing.

3. The deteriorating humanitarian situation in conflict affected areas in eastern DRC is alarming. Over 1.3 million people have been displaced in 2021, bringing the total number of Internally Displaced Persons across the country to over 5 million excluding the 536,000 refugees from neighbouring countries hosted by the DRC.

4. While we thank international partners for their support in addressing the humanitarian needs, we urge them to scale up their assistance by contributing to the 2021 Humanitarian response plan for the DRC.

Mr. President,

5. The A3+1 is encouraged by the positive regional dynamic during the reporting period thanks to the commendable efforts led by President Tshisekedi and leaders of neighbouring countries in view of further consolidating their bilateral ties and mutual cooperation which we believe will reinforce regional peace and stability.

6. The A3+1 condemns all forms of human rights abuses and violence against civilians including sexual exploitation against women and girls as well as recruitment and use of children perpetrated by foreign and domestic armed groups. We demand that all armed groups cease these despicable atrocities. Further, we emphasize that these violations must not be allowed to persist with impunity.

7. In this regard, the A3+1 commends the Government of DRC for the progress made in diminishing armed group activities, particularly through the declaration of the state of siege in conflict-affected eastern provinces. The joint offensive operations carried out by the Armed Forces of DRC (FARDC) and MONUSCO in combatting these armed groups is commendable and should be intensified.

8. However, the A3+1 underscores the need to undertake non-military approaches to address armed groups. We therefore welcome the establishment of a disarmament, demobilization, community reintegration and stabilization (DDRCS) program by the Government of DRC in its program of action for 2021-2023. We also acknowledge the establishment of a Contact and Coordination Group (CCG) and the adoption of a two-year action plan by heads of intelligence and security services of the regional states mandated to oversee non-military approaches towards the eradication of negative forces in the Great Lakes region.

9. We urge the international community, financial and technical partners, to continue to support the government of DRC in strengthening the capacities of its national institutions responsible for governance, the rule of law, security and development, including support for the government’s programme of action (2021-2023) which constitutes key tools for creating safe environments conducive to advancing lasting and sustainable peace, stability, and development.

10. We further call on the government to continue strengthening its justice sector to defend human rights in line with its zero-tolerance policy on gender-based violence. Towards this end, we call on international partners to provide capacity building support for the relevant state institutions and agencies.

Mr. President,

11. The armed groups, militias and other hostile forces are highly motivated by gaining access to the abundant natural resources in the DRC. This has turned the natural wealth of DRC into a driver of conflict and instability rather than development and prosperity. It is time that the role of natural resources is transformed to sources of legitimate socio-economic opportunities that would lead to expanded revenue streams for the government to provide basic services.

12. In this regard, we recognize the important role of regional cooperation in promoting the implementation of the provisions of the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement and other regional tools to fight illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region.

13. We commend the efforts made by the government, with the support of MONUSCO, to improve and strengthen its weapons and ammunitions management systems. In this regard, the Council should give due consideration to the request for the removal of the notification requirement for the government to acquire weapons. Meanwhile, we encourage continued regional approaches such as the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region.

Mr. President,

14. The A3+1 takes note of the joint transition plan for MONUSCO including the benchmarks and indicators for determining the level of preparedness for a responsible and sustainable drawdown and exit of the Mission. It is important that the transition plan is implemented following a clear evaluation and assessment of the benchmarks achieved which should include, inter alia, an efficient transfer of important tasks such as early warning networks to the host government; and enhanced peacebuilding efforts focusing on socio-economic development initiatives that promote post-conflict reconstruction.

15. The A3 + 1 reiterates its commitment to the principle of subsidiarity as enshrined in the letter and spirit of the UN Charter. In this regard, we recognize the significant role of regional organizations in particular, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the African Union (AU) in supporting mediation, dialogue and promoting sustainable peace, security and development.

16. In conclusion, we reiterate our steadfast support for MONUSCO in the efforts to provide security for the civilian population and support the strengthening of key state institutions in the DRC. We stand in solidarity with the government and the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in their quest for sustainable peace and socio-economic prosperity.

I thank you for your attention!

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