In March, Special Envoy Said Djinnit, an Algerian diplomat, delivered his final remarks in this capacity to members of the UNSC. PEAC's intern, Lawerence Khoo covered the meeting.
UNSC Meeting on the Situation in the Great Lakes Region
By Lawrence Khoo
Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mr. Said Djinnit:
Special Envoy Said Djinnit gave his final briefing to the Council on the Great Lakes Region in which he cited “positive developments,” such as the recent Democratic Republic of Congo elections and the peace agreements in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
The Special Envoy also provided several initiatives in improving the situation and noted progress on a “common regional approach” to migrants and refugees. He also noted that the region is largely peaceful, but not always successful, such as the armed groups in DRC. These armed groups are exacerbating affecting regional insecurities.
The Special Envoy also urged member states to support EAC officials to resolve human rights violations and social exclusion in Burundi before the 2020 elections.
Djinnit further noted several crucial factors; the need to promote political stability in Burundi; increase the involvement of women in political and peace processes; utilizing natural resources as a driver to peace and promote the rule of law and respect for human rights.
Statements from the P5 members
Russia commended the PSE framework as crucial in ensuring stability and calls all signatories to respect the sovereignty and domestic matters. Russia also notes the positive developments; count on border protection to mitigate diseases and support for the next appointment of the special envoy
China shared similar views with Russia on the need to respect the sovereignty and noted its commitment to cooperate with African actors. China also noted 3 aspects in achieving peace: the need to safeguard international peace, support regional countries in capacity building and address the root cause of conflict, citing poverty and political instability.
China further underscored the importance of scaling up assessments about the situation and increase youth employment in Burundi, DRC and Central African Republic. In closing, China reiterated its commitment to support the Great Lake Region and stands ready to contribute to peace and development.
The US reiterated its commitment to work with the DRC government in helping to change the Great Lakes region. The US also cited good achievements in the region, such as the repatriation of refugees and armed militias.
The United Kingdom highlighted 3 points of the special envoy’s work; increased participation of women in the political and peace process by 30%; the importance of rule of law and respect for human rights; and agreement of hindering armed groups from exploiting natural resources
Other member states:
Belgium agreed to implement an integrated approach into the political context. Poland further expressed its support to the PSE framework and called all signatories to reinforce their cooperation with one another.
Germany highlighted the repatriation of arms combatants, as a good sign to peace. However, it remained concern about the lack of border security in the Great Lakes region, and called for immediate action to protect human rights. It further emphasized the need for women to participate in the peace processes.
South Africa called for a cease-fire agreement and underscored the regional need to stop terrorists from acquiring natural resources. Equatorial Guinea further urged all member states to build confidence-building measures and condemned the activities of illicit and arms groups in the area.