Security Council Extends Mandate of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic

Situation Extremely Serious, Says Permanent Representative, as China, Russian Federation Abstain from Voting on Resolution 2448 (2018)The Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in t…

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General Assembly Concludes New Agenda for Cities Meeting by Focusing on Role of Stakeholders in Advancing Sustainable Urbanization Policies

Local governments, civil society groups and others working to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — including its targets related to urbanization — required United Nations support underpinned by a “spirit of inclusiveness and a universality of purpose”, the General Assembly heard today, as it concluded its high-level meeting on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

“Member States are united in ensuring an effective and efficient contribution from […] the overall United Nations system to the advancement of sustainable urbanization,” said General Assembly President Peter Thomson (Fiji) in closing remarks.  Emphasizing that “time is flying”, he echoed other speakers who underscored the massive challenges to be tackled by the New Urban Agenda in just a few short years.

Referring to the report of the High-level Independent Panel to Assess and Enhance the Effectiveness of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) — the Organization’s main body tasked with urbanization issues — he said it was clear that some of its recommendations would require further discussion.  UN-Habitat’s positioning would be part of a broader package of United Nations reforms, he said, which were aimed at ensuring adequate support to the 2030 Agenda’s implementation.  All stakeholders should continue to work together to generate the consensus required to “keep the momentum going”.

Having considered the Programme’s mandates and governance structures — as well as many of the Panel’s specific recommendations — during two panel discussions yesterday, the Assembly today convened two additional panels focused on the role of other stakeholders in advancing sustainable urbanization policies.

During the first panel, moderated by Minh-Thu Pham, Executive Director of Policy, United Nations Foundation, participants considered the role of the United Nations system in implementing the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.  Taking part were representatives of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN-Habitat and World Bank Group, with delegates from other United Nations entities also taking the floor.

The second panel discussion cast a spotlight on the role of multi-stakeholder collaboration in implementing the New Urban Agenda and the Goals.  Moderated by Tomas Anker Christensen, Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the President of the seventy-first session of the General Assembly, it featured speakers including the Mayor of Madrid, Spain, and representatives of civil society, in addition to lead respondents from across a range of disciplines and sectors.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, 7 September, to hold a High-level Forum on the Culture of Peace.

Interactive Panel III

The high-level meeting opened with an interactive panel on “Implementing the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals — the role of the United Nations system”.  Moderated by Minh-Thu Pham, Executive Director of Policy, United Nations Foundation, it featured presentations by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice-President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations and Partnerships, World Bank Group; Grete Faremo, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS); Grainne O’Hara, Deputy Director, New York Office, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat).

Ms. PHAM opened the discussion by asking the panellists what their respective entities were doing to help implement the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, emphasizing that metropolitan areas would be central to achieving the Goals.

Mr. MARTÍNEZ-SOLIMÁN, underscoring UNDP’s perspective on poverty eradication and good governance, said the Programme focused on increasing the capacity of local administrations as well as processes for legitimate local-level elections.

Mr. GASS, noting the role of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in supporting intergovernmental process, said it brought to the table such elements as analytics and statistics on how urbanization would develop and affect other spheres.  It also supported Members States in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development review process, and facilitated work in specific areas such as transportation.

Mr. MOHIELDIN said the World Bank Group focused on identifying financing gap problems in such areas as affordable housing and resilient infrastructure.  Among other priorities, it also addressed such concerns as data provision, policy frameworks and creating enabling environments at the local level, and technical assistance and capacity-building.

Ms. FAREMO said few people knew much about UNOPS, which did only implementation tasks, such as building schools, hospitals, roads, social housing and sanitation facilities.  It did so using local labour and contractors, in partnership with Governments, other parts of the United Nations family, banks, local governments, the private sector and others committed to a more sustainable future.  She added that the Office was agreeing on a memorandum of understanding with UN-Habitat that would make it possible to take a more long-term perspective on implementation.  She went on to emphasize the value of evidence-based risk assessment.

Ms. O’HARA said two out of three refugees, and four out of five internally displaced persons, lived in cities and towns.  That reality drew UNHCR more closely into the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda while creating challenges in the way it worked.  She said the agency was working closely with UN-Habitat on such issues as shelters, upgrading refugee settlements and decent housing, as well as post-conflict return and land tenure.

Ms. KIRABO, recalling her past experience as Mayor of Kigali City, called the New Urban Agenda a tool for achieving inclusive and sustainable development.  When things went wrong, the United Nations should be there not only to save lives during a humanitarian crisis, but also to sow the seeds for post-conflict development.  Member States wanted a coordinated United Nations, she said, adding that when the Organization delivered as one in Rwanda, it worked out well.

Ms. PHAM invited the panel to discuss coordination in more detail.

Mr. GASS said the United Nations system needed to look at cities for lessons and for inspiration on how to work differently while accountable downwards.  Agencies must coalesce around local actors and learn from them.

Mr. MOHIELDIN said “we are all in trouble” if the issue of municipal finances was not dealt with correctly.  A city could have the best infrastructure, but not the finances to maintain it.  The World Bank Group had identified 19 possible revenue sources for municipalities, but only two — including central government transfers — were typically used.  That was no way to do business.

Ms. FAREMO cited the use of solar power in refugee camps in Jordan, which helped to reduce crime and improve security.  That was a small but important example of an idea which, taken to scale, could be achieved by working together.  She added that public procurement was more important than many people realized.  The United Nations spent around $16 billion on procurement, but often in a fragmented way.  Doing more together could extend sustainable development, she said, emphasizing also the importance of transparency, data sharing and access to private funding.

The representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) emphasized the contribution that migrants and other mobile people made to urban growth and prosperity.  Migration was desirable if well-governed, he said, adding that it required inclusive and comprehensive approaches.  He underscored the migration dimension and the rights of migrants and other mobile people in the context of the New Urban Agenda.

The representative of the World Food Programme (WFP) said his agency was strengthening its response in such areas as access to food in urban areas and the flow of food into cities from the countryside.  A new WFP urban food policy to be issued in February would aim to strengthen partnerships.  He went on to ask Mr. Mohieldin about the Implementation Facility for Sustainable Urban Development.

The representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said much of the United Nations work was focused on the “who”, but that it also needed to consider the “where”.  To do so would require a confluence of agencies and other stakeholders, she said, adding that UNODC was committed to ramping up cooperation with others on urban crime and security.

The representative of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) stressed the importance of gender-responsive implementation.  Bold gender-mainstreaming efforts were needed at the local level, she said, emphasizing also the importance of strong accountability mechanisms.

Ms. PHAM asked panellists if the current country team model was fit for purpose in terms of achieving the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. MARTÍNEZ-SOLIMÁN said that was a million-dollar question.  Complexity created coordination challenges that could be addressed through a clear policy as well as the humility to accept that others were better placed to act as coordinator.  He noted that the United Nations now had 159 resident coordinators for 161 country teams in more than 170 Member States and territories, with an average of 16 agencies represented in each country team.  Greater empowerment of resident coordinators, as well as more capacity and perhaps more funding, were needed.

Ms. O’HARA, returning to the question of coordination, said the United Nations system was perhaps a little self-critical about the lack of coordination.  “We have come a long way,” she said, citing the cluster system as an example.  The Sustainable Development Goals created more discipline when it came to common objectives and interaction with Member States.

Mr. MOHIELDIN said the World Bank supported the objective of the Implementation Facility for Sustainable Urban Development, funds for which would be drawn from existing mechanisms.

A representative of South Africa also spoke.

Interactive Panel IV

The final interactive panel focused on the theme “Implementing the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Developments Goals — the role of the multi-stakeholder collaboration”.  Moderated by Tomas Anker Christensen, Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the President of the seventy-first session of the General Assembly, it featured six panellists:  Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid, Spain; Aromar Revi, Director, Indian Institute for Human Settlements; Eugenie Birch, President, General Assembly of Partners; Maria Jose Lubertino, Executive Director, Citizen Association for Human Rights of Argentina; Hazem Galal, Cities Sector Global Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Cities; and Mirella Amalia Vitale, Senior Vice-President of Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs of the ROCKWOOL Group.

The session’s lead respondents were Saul Billingsley, Director-General, FIA Federation, and Executive Director, Global Initiative for Child Health and Mobility, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)-United Kingdom; Celestine Ketcha Epse Courtes, Mayor of Bangante, Cameroon; Teresa Boccia, Professor of Urban Planning, University of Naples Federico II, Italy, and Representative, Association Femmes Europe Meridionale, Italy; and Mohammed Ali Loufty, Senior Doctoral Fellow, Institute on Disability and Public Policy, and Executive Director, Arab Disability Forum, Lebanon.

Mr. CHRISTENSEN, pointing out that the panel represented a wide array of “stakeholders on the ground” who were engaged in implementing the New Urban Agenda, opened the session by asking Ms. Birch to discuss the importance of partnerships and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Ms. BIRCH responded that “we are moving now from an engagement process […] to the implementation to active collaboration”.  That was where multi-stakeholder collaboration might have the most value, she said, pointing to two self-organized multi-stakeholder collaborations — including the General Assembly of Partners, which had 16 member groups — aimed at discussing urban issues with Member States in an orderly way.  Among other things, such groups had much knowledge to contribute, could help direct the implementation agenda and could assist in monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals as they related to urban issues.

Asked how stakeholders could assist local authorities, Mr. REVI said the core issue was that of implementation.  “We have 15 months to deliver on an almost impossible new agenda”, which included delivering 500 million new jobs and universal basic education to 5 billion people, all while mitigating the impacts of climate change.  “This is a trillion-dollar agenda” on both the investment side and the output side, he said, stressing that the dramatic transformation of the new development agendas was the concept of leaving no one — and no place — behind.  To achieve those goals, integrated delivery at the local level must be combined with the strength of national Governments, which was a “new way of working” both for Member States and the United Nations.

Responding to a related question about funding for urban issues, including innovative new financing mechanisms, Mr. GALAL said the idea of public-private-partnerships should be reconceived as “properly-planned-projects”.  The private sector needed guidance as well as incentive, he said, pointing to the example of Medellin, Colombia, in that regard.  The knowledge and support of the private sector must be harnessed at an early stage in the process while simultaneously ensuring that no private sector monopolies were created.

Asked how the business community could take advantage of the opportunities presented by urbanization in a socially responsible way, Ms. VITALE said “the private sector has been forced to think differently” in the context of the new sustainable development agendas.  Recent natural and man-made disasters, including the tragic fire in a high-rise in London, showed that changes were needed.  The private sector needed to work with the public sector to strengthen regulations, she stressed, adding that citizens must also be brought into the process.

Ms. LUBERTINO, asked to elaborate further on the role of the citizen, said they had long been the pioneers and protagonists of such global movements as sustainability and human rights.  However, all citizens did not stand on an equal footing because some representative democracies “have lost their way” and were not fulfilling their responsibilities.  Changes were needed across Governments as well as at the United Nations, because changes were taking place “at breakneck speed”, she said.  Many of the local challenges faced by cities were the same around the world, including economic issues and affordable housing.  States must better regulate the relationships between markets and territorial authorities while making sure that profits benefited citizens.

Ms. CARMENA, asked how she would prefer to engage with the United Nations on those issues going forward, said the main question was whether the Organization’s work on urban issues was effective.  Noting that had not been the case to date, she said UN-Habitat must not simply engage with States but also with local governments.  A structure for that kind of interaction could be created under the auspices of UN-Habitat or as an independent body, she said, adding that while the role of the private sector was also critical, efforts must be taken to avoid corruption.  Governing at the local level meant taking into account the opinions of citizens, she stressed, noting that in Madrid town hall meetings allowed for such broad participation.

Following the presentations, the lead respondents offered their insights, with Mr. BILLINGSLEY calling for a “responsive, people-centred” delivery of the New Urban Agenda.  Noting that some 3,000 children were injured every day in road accidents around the world — many in urban areas — he said such statistics represented a “policy failure” at both the local and national levels.

Ms. BOCCIA said the idea of leaving no one behind meant that women around the world must be able to enjoy their rights.  The participation of women had been crucial to ensuring that such issues were reflected in the 2030 Agenda and must now be reflected in the New Urban Agenda’s implementation.  Indeed, strong partnerships with women, migrants and others on the ground — who had a close knowledge of the issues — were critical.

Ms. KETCHA EPSE COURTES, asked what challenges her town faced in implementing the New Urban Agenda, welcomed the proposal made by the High-level Independent Panel to Assess and Enhance the Effectiveness of UN-Habitat to establish a global assembly on urban issues with the universal participation of all United Nations Member States.  The decentralization of UN-Habitat should be rolled out across the African continent, she said, adding that “urbanization is an African issue”.

Mr. LOUFTY said that, in the context of urbanization, like in other arenas, persons with disabilities were not only recipients of their rights but also actors in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda.  “This is an opportunity for a transformation of mindset” for the promotion of inclusion, he said, including at both the micro and macro levels.  Priorities should no longer be categorized based on the interests of particular groups, he stressed, adding that persons with disabilities must not be left behind simply because countries claimed to have other priorities.  He also asked the panellists how stakeholders could better work together to ensure that “inclusion becomes a strategic choice” for all actors.

When the floor was opened for comments and questions, many representatives of Member States shared national experiences with local urban planning and policy development.  Several described their establishment of inclusive, participatory structures that had successfully linked municipal authorities with national Governments, while others spotlighted challenges — such as armed conflict, natural hazards and the exclusion of marginalized groups — where more action was needed.

Qatar’s representative, outlining the work of the Red Crescent Society in his country, said the organization carried out direct work with local communities across the Middle East and Africa.  Pointing out that conflicts added to human suffering and destroyed communities, he asked the panellists to address ways to rehabilitate cities emerging from conflict and work more sustainable in post-conflict zones.

The representative of the Philippines warned against overlooking the practical needs of Member States, including assistance and long-term guidance in the context of the current “shifting political landscape”.  Typhoon Haiyan had demonstrated the need for stronger cooperation with local governments, he said, adding that the issue of housing was absent from the High-level Panel’s report.

The representative of the Dominican Republic asked Ms. Carmena to provide more information on the concept known as the “culture of the city” and to address how it could be integrated into local planning processes.

Singapore’s representative described his country’s experience implementing the New Urban Agenda, including its recent hosting of the International Leaders in Urban Governance programme.  Carried out in several universities in Singapore in conjunction with UN-Habitat, the programme had involved participants from 42 cities and leaders representing 14 cities around the world.  Singapore had also been organizing sustainable cities summits to bring leaders from many sectors together to discuss the challenges related to urbanization as well as the peer-to-peer city leaders programme.

A representative of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network said young people often felt excluded from their Governments’ planning and asked the panellists whether and how youth were being included in the New Urban Agenda’s implementation.

The panellists then responded to those question and comments, with Ms. BIRCH noting that the interventions had all spotlighted the need for inclusive dialogue and multi-stakeholder platforms.  In that context, she stressed, partnerships needed to be smart, measurable, specific and time-limited.

Mr. REVI said that multiple levels of implementation needed to be carried out simultaneously.  Today’s partnerships needed to address the modern-day questions of how to share capacities, finances and political representation, he said, adding that those issues should be elevated to the Head of State level.

Mr. GALAL, addressing questions about the inclusion of persons with disabilities, described a positive mindset change in that area in Sochi, Russian Federation, when it hosted the Olympic Games.  However, cities did not need a major event to act as a catalyst for such a shift.  Regarding the transition from peacekeeping to post-conflict reconstruction, he said he did not yet feel that system was agile enough or business-friendly enough.

Ms. VITALE, warning that “we’ve lost sight of what success looks like”, called for goals — not just partnerships — that were smart, realistic and specific.  Urban policies should always focus on providing social and economic benefits to city-dwellers, she said.

Ms. LUBERTINO emphasized that, even as new discussions were taking place, Member States should still be encouraged to ratify international human rights treaties as well as to reform their constitutions to enshrine more inclusive policies and processes.  She also called for stronger national legislation for the provision of public services.

Ms. CARMENA said local governments were unique in their capacities and their ability to develop their own agendas.  Every national Government and municipal authority needed to deal with such local issues as traffic-accident-related deaths proactively and in a data-based manner, she said, urging them to develop solutions that prioritized prevention.

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Forum on Forests Poised to Guide Investments in Woodland Areas for Building Sustainable, Resilient Societies, Speakers Say as Session Continues

The United Nations Forum on Forests was in a position to lead high-level discussions on how smart investments in woodland areas could reduce the risks of natural disaster, mitigate climate change and more broadly foster implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, speakers said today as they continued the policy body’s twelfth session.

In particular, said Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Forum on Forests could provide guidance to the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development when it convened in 2018 under the theme, “transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.

While its inputs would be particularly important for the review of Sustainable Development Goal 15 on forests, they would also be useful for evaluating Goals 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 17 (partnership).  “You are the experts on forestry,” he said, “the curators of that pillar that is so essential.”

Forum on Forests Chair Peter Besseau (Canada) encouraged delegates to “think out loud” about how to communicate the importance of forests to the 2030 Agenda and perhaps invite other sectors to work on forestry issues.

In turn, speakers representing Government, civil society, the United Nations and trade groups offered proposals for broadening the Forum on Forest’s outreach, with some welcoming the announcement of an international conference on Goal 15 and others suggesting that the Collaborative Partnership on Forests — an informal group of 14 agencies — enhance its cooperation with the Political Forum.

In that context, a speaker from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said a revised concept note for a proposed international conference to prepare for the 2018 Political Forum had been e-mailed to all participants of the twelfth session.  A speaker from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations meanwhile drew attention to a new expert panel on forests and water.

Manoel Sobral Filho, Director of the Secretariat of the Forum on Forests, presented the Secretary-General’s report on enhanced cooperation, coordination and engagement on forest-related issues, stressing that communications and outreach were essential components of the Strategic Plan on Forests 2017-2030.  The secretariat had identified key audiences, messages and activities, he said, highlighting efforts to enhance the roles of major groups, and regional and subregional bodies in international forest arrangements.

Switzerland’s delegate, however, objected to proposals for the creation of new bodies to foster cooperation with regional processes, or coordinate interregional work, questioning how they would be financed.  Nor was a network needed on poverty reduction, the timber trade and illegal logging, which would supersede the Forum on Forest’s mandate.  She, likewise, questioned what a multistakeholder advisory group would do.

In the afternoon, the Forum on Forests held a panel discussion on “means of implementation for sustainable forest management”.  Panellist Penny Davies, Programme Officer for Equitable Development at the Ford Foundation, described two streams of investment financing — for sustainable agriculture that did not clear natural forests, and for both sustainable and community-based forest management.

“However, we are finding it difficult to place [that financing],” she said, due to a number of constraints that made those investments too difficult to justify.

Werner Kornexl, Manager of the Programme on Forests, said that, despite the consensus that environmental services from forests were vital for the world’s climate, livelihood, water regulation and biodiversity, a widening gap existed in investments in those areas.  The World Bank’s current forest portfolio — about $500-$600 million per year — fell far short of what was needed.  Flexible, cross‑sectoral thinking was needed to overcome the notion that most financing instruments were too risky in the context of forests, he said, adding that green bonds and fiscal transfer mechanisms were complex, “but doable”.

Ivan Tomaselli, President of STCP Engenharia de Projectos Limitida, said the private sector spent an estimated $125-$170 billion to manage natural forests.   Timber investment management organizations, which acted as brokers for institutional clients, managed more than $60 billion in forest assets and had replaced industry as the main forest managers in many countries.  Such organizations were designed to maximize returns, he said, adding that investments in research and development had largely declined.

Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programmes of the Global Environment Facility secretariat, moderating the discussion, noted that the Facility had supported 411 forest-related projects amounting to $2.7 billion — and leveraging some $13.8 billion in co-financing — since 1991.  Those programmes targeted biodiversity, climate change mitigation and the inefficient use of land, as well as improving local livelihoods.

The Forum on Forests will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 5 May, to conclude its twelfth session.

Implementation of United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030

THOMAS GASS, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, updated on the work of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which he said was not only about centralizing authority and data to New York.  It was about “subsidiarity” and ensuring an intergovernmental space for engaged civil society, experts and Governments to discuss the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 outlined that the Forum on Forests should contribute to the review of the 2030 Agenda and its related Sustainable Development Goals, notably through the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.

Pointing out that the 2018 High-level Political Forum would review Goals 6, 7, 11, 12, 15 and 17 under the theme, “transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”, he said its contribution would be of particular importance to Goal 15, on forests, and to Goals 6 and 7, which were linked to sustainable forest management.

“The Forum’s input can give clear and concrete guidance on national actions towards achieving the forest-related Sustainable Development Goals,” he said, stressing that it might consider holding intersessional activities ahead of the thirteenth session in 2018, during which States could be invited to submit their views on the contributions of forests to those Goals.  The Forum on Forests’ understanding of forestry was already higher than that of the Political Forum.  It could speak to the nexus between forestry and the other goals and he encouraged participants to review targets “with a fine-toothed comb” to help others understand where forestry was most important.

In the ensuing dialogue, the representative of Iran said the Political Forum was a universal platform for presenting views and ideas.  The feedback it received in the expression of views was important and he asked how those views helped States achieve goals and targets.

Mr. GASS replied that the Political Forum was a space where several information tracks came together.  For example, quantitative information was collected from an aggregate of official global indicators.  The Forum on Forests had more granularity and details about what was behind the data.  About 80 of the Council’s functional commissions were invited each year to provide inputs to the Political Forum, which could be found on the sustainable development knowledge platform.  As for feedback, States should not expect a detailed analysis of the Forum on Forest’s contribution to the Political Forum.  There would be a summary of the proceedings.  Also, it would be important that Political Forum members bring information back to the Forum on Forests.

The representative of the European Union welcomed announcement of an international conference on Goal 15.  Any emerging issues or gaps should be identified and the Political Forum should provide guidance in that regard.

The representative of Bhutan said that, at the national level, forestry was a large part of sustainable development.  Bhutan was up for voluntary national review in 2018.  Given the importance of forestry in the national development framework, the issue would be strongly reflected in its review.  He encouraged others to take a holistic approach to forestry and its role in development.

The representative of Switzerland said her country would engage with the Political Forum every year and would make forests a high priority in its voluntary review.  She asked whether it would be necessary to wait until 2019 to hear about the results of the Political Forum and how those results would be carried to the General Assembly.

Mr. GASS replied that forests were always relevant to the Political Forum.  It was difficult for 193 Member States to make conclusions on six Goals and an overarching theme, as well as provide feedback to contributors, be they countries or thematic fora, with the kind of expertise that was reflected in their initial contributions.  There were other reporting mechanisms, which were more traditional relationships.  “Through your input and presence in the High-level Political Forum, you can make sure the discussions are pertinent to what you need to get in terms of feedback,” he said.

The representative of Germany said the Strategic Plan should be used to signal that there were threats to forests, due to unsustainable practices in other sectors.

The representative of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, describing the Forum on Forest’s inputs on resilience of cities and communities, said it was time to more towards more action.  If those contributions were to be transformative they should address mechanisms and processes for bringing change to those communities, notably institutional arrangements and policies for leveraging actions and resources for achieving actionable ends.

The representative of Malaysia said the forestry sector played an important role in Goals 6, 12 and 15.  On Goal 6, the protection of inland waters was essential and underscored the importance of incentivizing development.  On Goal 12, the promotion of forest certification must be intensified in order to reduce illegal logging.  A “green premium” could be used by importing countries to promote sustainable forest management.

The representative of China called the Strategic Plan a milestone outcome.  Establishing a connection between the Global Forest Goals and six targets highlighted the Plan’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Through monitoring, assessment and reporting of the Strategy, the Forum on Forests could report on progress towards achieving those Goals.  The gaps in implementation should be identified in sustainable forest management.  Members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests could also enhance cooperation with the Political Forum.

A speaker from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations outlined his views on the Strategic Plan and the Forum on Forest’s contribution to the 2018 Political Forum meeting, drawing attention to a new expert panel on forests and water, which would produce an assessment and launch a policy brief during the 2018 meeting.  He suggested that space be allocated for scientific discussions.

A speaker from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), referring to the proposal to hold an international conference to prepare for the 2018 Political Forum, said a revised concept note had been e-mailed to all participants in the Forum’s twelfth session.

The representative of New Zealand said that, as the leading body on sustainable forest policy, the Forum on Forests must provide input to all aspects of Goal 15 and other Goals and targets under consideration at the 2018 Political Forum meeting.

Mr. GASS emphasized the complementary between the Political Forum and Forum on Forests, stressing:  “You are the experts on forestry, the curators of that pillar that is so essential.”  He cautioned against placing expectations “on the centre” which “the periphery could do very well”.  The Forum on Forests could ensure that Governments included contributions to the Strategic Plan during their voluntary national reviews by the Political Forum.

Enhanced Cooperation, Coordination and Engagement on Forest-Related Issues

MANOEL SOBRAL FILHO, Director of the Secretariat of the Forum on Forests, presented the Secretary-General’s report on enhanced cooperation, coordination and engagement on forest-related issues (document E/CN.18/2017/5), which gave an overview of activities by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and contained proposals on revised guidelines for country-led initiatives related to the Forum on Forest’s work.  He highlighted the expert meeting on developing global forest indicators, hosted by FAO, and the holding of expert panels.

He said the Secretariat had co-organized, with the Economic Cooperation Organization, an expert meeting in September 2016 to enhance the roles of regional and subregional entities in international forest arrangements.  Proposals made during the meeting served as inputs to subsequent discussions in Bangkok and had proven instrumental in the Forum on Forest’s work.  The eleventh session had reaffirmed the roles of major groups in international forest arrangements.  As such, the Secretariat had worked with major groups to enhance their participation in intersessional work.  In October 2016, it had organized an expert meeting to strengthen the engagement of stakeholders in international arrangements.  It also worked with the focal points of major groups to prepare for the Forum on Forest’s twelfth session.  On communications and outreach, an essential component of the Strategic Plan, the Secretariat had identified key audiences, key messages and activities.

The Forum on Forests then turned to a discussion on country-led initiative guidelines and activities to celebrate the International Day of Forests in 2016.

The representative of Colombia highlighted activities her country had carried out to mark the International Day, with a strategy based on civic duties.

The representative of Chile said her country had celebrated the International Day with broad participation by children, the level at which countries must start awareness-raising.  That required a solid communications strategy.

The representative of Ecuador said there were more than 700 participants in his country’s celebration of the International Day.

The representative of Nigeria highlighted activities related to water, energy, climate change and financing.  To commemorate the International Day in 2017, it had joined efforts with the Republic of Korea in a community-centred event focused on rural communities and the role of tree farmers in planting.

The representative of Ukraine said that, for 11 years, her country had carried out a forestry campaign, which featured seminars, trainings and school events.

The representative of Australia said that, with the Partnership’s recent Twitter communications, the Forum on Forests had a strong foundation to form its communications and outreach strategy.  There was an opportunity to curate the content of the story of forests.

The representative of Mexico underscored the importance of aligning communications with progress on the Strategic Plan, pressing the Forum on Forests to work on such a communications strategy.  He called on member organizations to work with Governments in disseminating all information about the International Day.

The representative of the Economic Cooperation Organization said forests were the most feasible mechanisms to combat climate change.  His organization, which relied on support from the United Nations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, could be a regional platform for developing sustainable forest management programmes.

The representative of Sri Lanka said that, in 2016, his country had organized awareness programmes, with particular attention to water, as dry-zone rivers depended on wet-zone mountain areas.

The representative of Slovakia highlighted the leadership role her country had played since 2014 in Forests Europe, a high-level political forum.  She supported its cooperation with the Forum on Forests in order to seek coherence on strategic issues.

The representative of the United States said her country presented stories on the Department of Agriculture’s website and through the Department of State’s social media in 2016.

The representative of Canada expressed support for sustained and diverse communications to audiences throughout the year, stressing that meetings were not the only approach to intersessional activities; online tools should be used.

The representative of Belarus said increasing awareness was an important part of his country’s plans around forest resources.  Recalling that a hurricane last year had destroyed thousands of hectares of land, he said those areas had been replanted with trees, while voluntary participation in forest clean-up continued to grow each year.

A speaker from the children and youth major group described missed opportunities.  While there was a declared theme of the International Day, discrepancies existed among the many related social media campaigns and she requested that children and youth participate early in preparations for such outreach.

The representative of Japan said the Forum on Forest’s website featured only three country reports and he encouraged States to better use the site to promote the International Day.

The representative of China said her country had celebrated the International Day in March, suggesting that the Strategic Plan be used to encourage States to launch nationwide communications and outreach.

The representative of Malaysia said his country had consistently celebrated the International Day, with last year’s programme focused on tree planting with the goal of “greening the nation”.

The representative of Papua New Guinea said that, since 2013, his country’s activities included awareness-raising in schools, suggesting that promotional material be provided by the Forum.

The representative of the European Union said increasing visibility and impact across regions and all levels required a communications and outreach strategy that operated in the context of the 2030 Agenda and was developed with contributions from experts, major groups and other relevant stakeholders.  He suggested the appointment of Goodwill Ambassadors or Envoys on forests.

A speaker from the scientific and technological major group, citing paragraphs 17, 19 and 22 of Economic and Social Council resolution 2015/33 on the international arrangement on forests beyond 2015, called on the Secretariat to strengthen engagement with major groups.  His group was a major investor in forests.  Stressing that development Goal 7, on responsible consumption and production, could bring together forest actors, retailers and public procurement companies, he appealed to the Forum on Forests “to do whatever it takes” to attract those investors.

The representative of Switzerland questioned proposals for the creation of new mechanisms, notably to foster cooperation between the Forum on Forests and regional and subregional processes, asking what type of mechanism it would be and who would finance it.  On the proposal for an interregional coordination mechanism, she said the existing reporting format sufficed.  The Forum on Forests was a policy body, not a capacity-building entity.  She did not think a mechanism was needed to exchange information with regional and subregional organizations, as there were already intersessional activities and venues.  She also did not think a stakeholder consultation was something the Forum on Forests should organize and similarly expressed scepticism about facilitating a network on poverty reduction, timber trade and illegal logging, which would supersede the Forum on Forest’s mandate.  “We should not actually build a network on this,” she said, questioning as well what a multistakeholder advisory group would do.

The representative of Ghana welcomed the International Day 2018 theme of forests and education, noting that, each 21 March, a ministerial news conference was organized to create awareness about the importance of forests, which was followed by television and radio discussions, mainly targeting young people.

The representative of Kenya described the legislative framework for his country to participate in international processes for implementing the Strategic Plan.  The national forestry programme coordinated activities for 2016-2030 and was a joint venture between Kenya and Finland.  Kenya’s close working relationship with the Forum on Forests had been instrumental in implementation of the programme’s priorities.

A speaker from the Global Force Coalition, citing paragraph 15 of the report, stressed the importance of following the outcomes of meetings in Ottawa, as well as hosting stakeholder consultations and maintaining a database of major group experts.  He agreed with the representative of Switzerland that a multistakeholder advisory group was not needed.

The representative of Morocco said the International Day coincided with the Mediterranean Forest Summit, organized by FAO, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Partnership for the Restoration of Forests, where participants adopted an “obligations document” that referenced the Strategic Plan.

A speaker from the Africa Forest Forum recognized the importance of regional institutions in implementing forest decisions.  He called on the Collaborative Partnership to better coordinate on national, regional and subregional levels, and on the Forum on Forests Secretariat to both improve collaboration with regional and subregional processes, and to coordinate the monitoring, reporting and sharing of information on progress made in sustainable forest management.

Mr. SOBRAL FILHO then introduced a note by the Forum on Forest secretariat on the means of implementation for sustainable forest management (document E/CN.18/2017/4), pointing out that the greatest source of sustainable forest financing had been, and would continue to be, private investments.  The note, however, reviewed the situation of international public financing, focusing on the role of forest funding in the context of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and other recent international commitments.  Noting that the Addis Agenda had referred to forests in the context of combating hunger and malnutrition, he said the Green Climate Fund — which had become operational in 2015 — had deployed $711 million for 43 projects under its Sustainable Forest Management Programme.  The Paris Agreement, which now had 144 parties, had also called on States to focus on reducing deforestation and improve forest conservation.

Providing a brief update on the work of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network, he said the new Strategic Plan for Forests called on the Network to promote and assist the design of national forest financing strategies, help countries in mobilizing resources and serve as a clearing house and tool for sharing lessons learned and best practices.  Over the last two years, the Network had learned that working directly with countries was very effective as provided them with targeted, tailor-made support.  Helping to mobilize funding was also critical, as were regional and subregional workshops aimed at raising national awareness on forest financing opportunities and catalysing national actions.  “Even modest funding can have a meaningful impact,” he stressed in that regard.

Means of Implementation

This afternoon, the Forum held a panel discussion on “means of implementation for sustainable forest management”.  Moderated by Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programmes, Global Environment Facility Secretariat, it featured three panellists:  Penny Davies, Programme Officer for Equitable Development, Ford Foundation; Werner Kornexl, Manager, Programme on Forests; and Ivan Tomaselli, President, STCP Engenharia de Projectos Limitida.

Ms. DAVIES, noting that the Ford Foundation was the second-largest private donor in the United States, focused her presentation on what the Foundation and other private philanthropic funds were doing to secure sustainable and equitable forest management, and why.  Saying the Ford Foundation planned to disburse $1 billion over the next 10 years into private funds promoting “social and environmental justice” activities, she described two specific streams of forest-related investment financing:  first, sustainable agriculture that did not clear natural forests and included some protection of forests; and second, sustainable forest management and community-based forest management.  “However, we are finding it difficult to place [that financing],” she said, due to a number of constraints that made those investments too difficult to justify.

The first of those risks, she said, was “incoherent spatial mapping” and uncertain land tenure, where investments could be contested by several parties.  The second risk was conflict, she said, noting that conflict could cause delays in the Foundation’s projects or cause the withdrawal of its partners.  “We look for countries and places to invest in where tenure is secure and recognized”, and local people had given their prior and informed consent, she said, noting that a country that was attractive for investment was one with “green domestic credit lines” promoting sustainable land use, or a Government that “named and shamed” parties promoting such practices as unsustainable land use, or logging.  When it did invest, the Foundation supported the creation of community-managed funds for community forestry, she said, citing the Brazilian “Fundo Dema” as an example.  It also helped to establish intermediary funds that could connect forest communities with international financing and expertise.

Mr. KORNEXL, pointing to an existing consensus that environmental services from forests were essential for the world’s climate, livelihood, soil preservation, water regulation and biodiversity, said there was, nevertheless, a widening gap in investments in those areas.  Recalling that the World Bank’s Forest Action Plan had been established in 2016 to increase the Bank’s footprint in the forest sector — concentrating on sustainable forestry and on “Forest Smart investments” — he said such investments were still very risky.  Those risks meant that many common financial instruments were not applied to forests.  While the Bank’s current forest portfolio included about $500-$600 million per year, the amount was still very low compared to what was needed.

In that context, he said, the Programme on Forests was leading the analytics to drive the forest investment agenda.  Indeed, while Forest Smart investment seemed to be an easy concept, it was actually very difficult to implement because Governments, the United Nations and the World Bank itself were all organized into silos.  Clear leadership and more synergies were needed, as were increased knowledge and the delivery systems to reach rural areas with technology.  Calling for the appropriate mix of funding instruments in that regard, he said financing needed to be reinvented every day “as we learn more about the needs”.  Flexible, cross-sectoral thinking was essential in order to overcome the notion that most financing instruments were too risky in the context of forests, he said, adding that such instruments as Green Bonds and fiscal transfer mechanisms were complex, “but doable”.

Mr. TOMASELLI, asking why the private sector would invest in sustainable forest management, pointed out that the sector sought a consistent supply of timber and non-timber products.  The global demand for timber currently stood at about 4 billion cubic metres per year.  There were two main sources of supply:  forest plantations and natural forests.  The private sector spent an estimated $125-$170 billion just to manage those forests, he said, calling for scaled up expertise and technology that would result in more sustainable supplies of forest goods.  Investments were based on a series of factors that sought to maximize economic value, in particular forest policy, market and market access and technology and expertise.

Noting that institutional investors such as equity funds, pension funds, insurance companies and large fortunes were today increasing their forest-related investments, he said timber investment management organizations known as “TIMOs” currently managed more than $60 billion in forest assets and had replaced industry as the main forest managers in many countries.  Such organizations were designed to maximize returns, he said, adding that investments in research and development had largely declined.

Mr. FONSECA, recalling that forests had been central to the Global Environment Facility since its inception, said the Facility had supported 411 forest-related projects amounting to $2.7 billion — and leveraging some $13.8 billion in co-financing — since 1991.  Those programmes targeted biodiversity, climate change mitigation and the inefficient use of land, as well as improving local livelihoods.  The Paris Agreement on climate change and the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the Role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks in Developing Countries (REDD+) framework spotlighted the Facility as one of the leading instruments to finance such projects.

Noting that the Facility had made increasing amounts of funding available for forests and worked to bring local communities and other forest stakeholders into the mainstream, he described its cooperation with the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network and similar complementary instruments, which sought to raise awareness of the availability of the Facility in a number of countries.  The Facility had also developed a financing approach that recognized the key role of agricultural commodities, such as palm oil and soy, aimed at ensuring that they were eventually produced in a “deforestation-free” manner.  In addition, the Facility had launched a pilot “non-grant instrument” project aimed at increasing forest-related investments by reducing market risks, he said.

In the ensuing discussion, delegates from a range of countries described their experiences of having received sustainable forest management financing from the Green Climate Fund, the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network, REDD+ and other sources.  The representative of Mexico, for one, noted that his country had received critical financial support from its multilateral and bilateral donors — as well as from the Global Environment Facility — and had been able to develop its forestry sector as a result.

Similarly, the representative of Ecuador recalled that his country had been the first to receive a disbursement from the Green Climate Fund, and was now working closely with the World Bank to facilitate sustainable forest-related investments and the promotion of sustainable forest plantations.

The representative of Bhutan emphasized that the sustainable management of forests was a priority for his country and played a central role in its overall sustainable development strategy.  Bhutan’s forest cover currently stood at 71 per cent and 51 per cent of its land had been designated as protected areas — one of the highest levels in the world.  Posing a number of questions for the panellists, he asked Ms. Davies why the Ford Foundation had found it so difficult to place its forest-related investments, and whether it was working with Governments, non-governmental organizations or other partners to place those funds.  He also asked Mr. Fonseca whether the Global Environment Facility had any activities planned in South Asia, and asked Mr. Tomaselli whether he saw a “real appetite” among the private sector to invest more capital in sustainable forests.

Responding, Ms. DAVIES said the Ford Foundation worked through its various regional offices, including Asia-based offices in Delhi and Jakarta.  It did not invest its funds through Governments, but usually delivered investments directly to “project proponents”, such as local communities.  However, that model involved some constraints, she said, noting that all project proponents had to be legally constituted entities with good governance.

Mr. TOMASELLI said that, while he was quite optimistic about private sector investments, he, nevertheless, expected that “it will take a bit longer” to see those investments increase.

Speakers also made a number of specific observations about the various forest-related financing instruments and issued concrete recommendations.  The representative of the European Union pointed out that transparency, good governance and effective and accountable institutions — as well as results-based programming, monitoring and assessment — were all critical to the evolution of sustainable forest management, and underlined the need to focus financing efforts on the priorities of the new Strategic Plan for Forests while also placing more emphasis on cooperation with other sectors.

The representative of the United States agreed that there was a clear connection between transparent forest governance and clear land use rights on the one hand, and attracting investment on the other.  Making a number of clarifications with regard to the secretariat’s note and the panellists’ comments, she said that, while some had cited “waning support” for REDD+, billions of dollars were still available to countries under that programme if they could show reductions in their emissions.  She also pointed out that the United States was currently reviewing its climate change commitments, including those under the Paris Agreement, and therefore reserved its position on the matter.

Meanwhile, the representative of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, expressed optimism that the existing forest-related financing instruments would be more effectively utilized.  Noting that that would require the provision of more adequate and predictable resources, he called on the Global Environment Facility in particular to find better ways of assisting developing countries.

The representative of South Africa, associating herself with that statement, asked Mr. Fonseca what proportion of the Global Environment Facility’s planned support would be given to the African continent.  The representative of Brazil echoed calls to mobilize financing for developing countries, while the representative of Malaysia emphasized that such financing must include the transfer of environmentally sound technology.  The representative of Niger — noting that forests in Sahel countries were critical for pastoralism and relied heavily on customary use rights — asked Mr. Tomaselli how private financing could be increased for the preservation of those activities.

To that question, Ms. DAVIES responded that neither the public not private sector could make investments unless there was a strong enabling environment in place.  Groups that were merely customary in nature posed a challenge, she said, adding that “you have to get your rule of law in order” before any investment was possible.  In that regard, she spotlighted the role of public-private partnerships to help Governments invest where the private sector could not.

Mr. KORNEXL, responding more broadly to those comments and questions, agreed that the World Bank should focus more of its activities on the de-risking of sustainable forest-related investments and increase its efforts to bring together capacity, research and solutions across various sectors.  Indeed, he said, that cross-sectoral approach was a “huge and very exiting” agenda into which the Bank was ready to move.

Mr. TOMASELLI said the private sector — as the most important investor in sustainable forest management — would increase its forest-related investments all over the world in the coming year.  Pointing out that private investors expected higher returns when they took on greater risks, he said Governments could, therefore, make forest-related investments more attractive by facilitating access to technology, improving the expertise of forest managers, reducing transaction costs, reducing corruption and increasing compliance.

Also speaking were the representatives of Germany, Cameroon, Saint Lucia, China and Guinea.  A representative of the Scientific and Technological Community also participated.

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New Security Council Text Adapts Mandate of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Central African Republic

Resolution 2301 (2016) Spells out Immediate, Priority, Essential, Core Tasks

The Security Council today extended until 15 November 2017 the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), adapting it to the new circumstances prevailing in that country.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2301 (2016) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council decided that the Mission’s troop ceiling would remain at 10,750 military personnel (including 480 observers and staff officers); 2,080 police (including 400 individual police officers); and 108 corrections officers.  The mandate would be implemented on the basis of prioritizing tasks, in a phased manner when relevant.

By other terms of the text, the Council authorized French forces to use all necessary means to provide operational support to elements of MINUSCA from the date of adoption.

The Council decided that the Mission’s strategic objective was to support conditions conducive to sustainably reducing the presence of, and the threat posed by, armed groups, through a comprehensive approach, adopting a “proactive and robust” posture, without prejudice to basic peacekeeping principles.  Along those lines, MINUSCA’s immediate priority peacekeeping tasks would include protecting civilians, promoting and protecting human rights and facilitating a secure environment for the immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance.

According to the text, MINUSCA’s core priority tasks would focus on supporting reconciliation and stabilization processes, extending State authority and preserving the Central African Republic’s territorial integrity.  The Mission would also provide strategic and technical advice on the design and implementation of a security-sector reform strategy, while supporting disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation programmes.  It would provide assistance for advancing the rule of law and combating impunity, and support efforts by national authorities to develop a strategy for tackling the illicit exploitation and trafficking of natural resources.

Further by the text, MINUSCA would support national and international justice and the rule of law through such essential tasks as helping to reinforce the independence of the judiciary and providing strategic, policy and technical advice on the design and implementation of a transitional justice strategy.

The Mission’s additional tasks would include seizing arms and related materiel transferred into the Central African Republic in violation of measures imposed under resolution 2127 (2013), according to the text.  The Council demanded that all militias and armed groups lay down their arms, cease violence and release children from their ranks, immediately and unconditionally.  It also urged the national authorities to address the presence and activity of such groups in the country through a comprehensive strategy prioritizing dialogue and the urgent implementation of an inclusive demobilization, reintegration and repatriation programme, to be implemented in coherence with security-sector reform, which would ensure civilian oversight of defence and national security forces, with support from the international community.

On the political front, the Council expressed its support for Faustin-Archange Touadéra as President of the Central African Republic, and welcomed the formation of the Government.  It urged the authorities to implement a genuine and inclusive reconciliation by addressing local grievances across the entire national territory.  Recalling the crucial role of civil society in ensuring that the political solution addressed the root causes of the conflict in the country, the Council underscored the importance of respect for the constitution so as to ensure the country’s long-term stabilization and development.

François Delattre (France), speaking after the action, said the Council’s unanimous adoption of the text sent the Mission and the Central African Republic a message of unity and support.  The text adapted MINSUCA’s mandate to new circumstances prevailing in the country, where the goal was stabilization, after a successful transition.  With many challenges ahead, the national authorities could count on MINUSCA, he said, pointing out that with 13,000 uniformed personnel plus a significant civilian component, the Mission would have the means to combat armed groups and others who attempted to derail its efforts.

Ambroisine Kpongo (Central African Republic) welcomed the renewal of MINUSCA’s mandate, saying the resolution reflected the level of ambition for the Mission.  Highlighting some of the text’s provisions, she said it was vital for MINUSCA to be active, or even proactive, in protecting civilians, whose security was still threatened by numerous armed criminal groups, even if the situation was no longer as it had been a few months ago.  She also welcomed the resolution’s focus on neutralizing armed groups as a strategic objective, and the extension of urgent temporary measures, which President Touadéra had requested, and which hopefully would be implemented decisively.

Noting that much had been accomplished in recent months, she said that, going forward, the main task would be to ensure a successful stabilization phase, with MINUSCA’s mandate adapted to new circumstances, adding that the Secretary-General’s proposals, reflected in the resolution, were a good starting point.  She recalled that, after the events of 1996 and the deployment of the first United Nations mission in the country, no serious analysis of the post-conflict situation had been conducted, and a period of calm had led to the idea that all was well.  If mistakes and relapses were to be avoided, and in order to make MINUSCA the last United Nations mission in the country, the new authorities must be given the means to pull the nation out of a state of destitution and psychosis, she emphasized.  “The Central African Republic is at a turning point in its history,” she said, adding that she was pleased to be able to count on the support of the United Nations and the Security Council.

The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 3:18 p.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2301 (2016) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous resolutions and statements on the Central African Republic (CAR), in particular resolutions 2121 (2013), 2127 (2013), 2134 (2014), 2149 (2014), 2181 (2014), 2196 (2015), 2212 (2015), 2217 (2015), 2262 (2016), 2264 (2016), 2281 (2016), as well as resolution 2272 (2016), and its Presidential Statements S/PRST/2014/28 of 18 December 2014 and S/PRST/2015/17 of 20 October 2015,

Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the CAR, and recalling the importance of the principles of non-interference, good-neighbourliness and regional cooperation,

Reaffirming the basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force, except in self-defence and defence of the mandate; recognizing that the mandate of each peacekeeping mission is specific to the need and situation of the country concerned, and recalling, in this regard, its Presidential Statement S/PRST/2015/22 of 25 November 2015,

Recalling that the CAR Authorities have the primary responsibility to protect all populations in the CAR in particular from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity,

Emphasizing that any sustainable solution to the crisis in the CAR should be CAR-owned, including the political process, and should prioritize reconciliation of the Central African people, through an inclusive process that involves men and women of all social, economic, political, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including, those displaced by the crisis,

Welcoming in this regard the joint action of some domestic religious leaders at the national level in trying to pacify relations and end violence between religious communities and noting the need to amplify their voices at the local level,

Noting with concern that while improving, the security situation in the CAR remains fragile, due to the continued presence of armed groups and other armed spoilers, as well as the ongoing violence, the lack of capacity of the national security forces, and the persistence of the root causes of the conflict,

Condemning the multiple violations of international humanitarian law and the widespread human rights violations and abuses, committed notably by both ex‑Seleka elements and militia groups, in particular the “anti-Balaka”,

Condemning also the recent and ongoing acts of violence and criminality in Bangui, including the kidnapping of CAR police by armed groups, as well as incidents in the interior of the country, particularly in Ngaoundaye and Bambari, which have caused displacement of local populations, as well as by the recent attacks and abductions perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army in the southeast since the beginning of the year,

Recalling the submission of the report (S/2014/928) of the International Commission of Inquiry established by resolution 2127 (2013), noting with concern its finding that the main parties to the conflict, including ex-Seleka, the anti-Balaka, and elements from the CAR Armed Forces (FACA) who collaborated with armed groups committed violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses since 1 January 2013, that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including ethnic cleansing by elements of the anti-Balaka militia,

Condemning in the strongest terms all attacks and provocations against the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) contingents and other international forces by armed groups or other perpetrators, underlining that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes, reminding all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law and urging the CAR Authorities to take all possible measures to ensure the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators,

Stressing the urgent and imperative need to end impunity in the CAR and to bring to justice perpetrators of violations of international humanitarian law and of abuses and violations of human rights, underlining in this regard the need to bolster national accountability mechanisms, including the Special Criminal Court (SCC) and underlining its support for the work of the Independent Expert on human rights in the CAR,

Reiterating the primary responsibility of the national authorities to ensure a conducive environment for the effective and independent investigation, prosecution and adjudication of all cases,

Welcoming the commitment of the Secretary-General to enforce strictly his zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, expressing grave concern over numerous allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse reportedly committed by peacekeepers in the CAR, as well as by non-United Nations forces, stressing the urgent need for Troop- and Police-contributing countries and, as appropriate, MINUSCA, to promptly investigate those allegations in a credible and transparent manner and for those responsible for such criminal offences or misconduct to be held to account, and further stressing the need to prevent such exploitation and abuse and to improve how these allegations are addressed,

Emphasizing the fact that the current security situation in the CAR provides a conducive environment for transnational criminal activity, such as that involving arms trafficking and the use of mercenaries as well as a potential breeding ground for radical networks,

Expressing grave concern at the threat to peace and security in the CAR arising from the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons, and the use of such weapons against civilians,

Acknowledging in this respect the important contribution to the peace, stability or security of the CAR, of the Council-mandated sanctions regime renewed by resolution 2262 (2016), including its provisions related to the arms embargo, and its provisions related to individuals or entities designated by the Committee as engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the CAR,

Reiterating that illicit trade, exploitation and smuggling of natural resources including gold, diamonds and wildlife poaching and trafficking continues to threaten the peace and stability of the CAR,

Expressing concern about reported travel by individuals designated pursuant to UNSC resolution 2127 (2013) and noting the critical importance of effective implementation of the sanctions regime, including the key role that neighbouring States, as well as regional and subregional organizations, can play in this regard and encouraging efforts to further enhance cooperation,

Reiterating its serious concern at the dire humanitarian situation in the CAR, and emphasizing in particular the humanitarian needs of the more than 418,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), of the approximately 36,000 civilians trapped in enclaves, and of the more than 480,000 refugees in neighbouring countries, a large number of whom are Muslim, and further expressing concern at the consequences of the flow of refugees on the situation in Chad, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as other countries of the region,

Recalling the responsibility of the CAR Authorities to protect and promote the right to freedom of movement of all people in the CAR, including IDPs, without distinction, their freedom to choose where to reside, and to comply with their right to return to their own country or to leave in order to seek asylum in other States,

Reiterating also its appreciation for the efforts of the International Contact Group on the CAR, and encouraging all stakeholders to pursue their efforts,

Welcoming the holding of, and local participation in, grassroots consultations throughout the country between 21 January and 8 March 2015, which enabled thousands of people in the CAR to express their views on the future of their country, and the holding of the Bangui Forum in May 2015, during which the Republican Pact for Peace, National Reconciliation and Reconstruction as well as agreements on the principles for disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation (DDR/R), justice and reconciliation, and security sector reform (SSR), and on the commitment by armed groups to end the recruitment and use of children and to release all children from their ranks, were adopted,

Welcoming the peaceful organization of a constitutional referendum on 13 December 2015 and legislative and presidential elections in December 2015, February and March 2016, as well as the inauguration of the President Faustin-Archange Touadéra on 30 March 2016,

Recalling the need for an inclusive, gender-sensitive and effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process (DDR) as well as repatriation (DDRR) in the case of foreign fighters, including children formerly associated with armed forces and groups, while respecting the need to fight against impunity,

Welcoming the successful conduct of pre-DDR activities which have contributed to reduce the presence of members of armed groups,

Underlining the need to support national, and to coordinate international, efforts towards the transformation of the security sector in the CAR and stressing the important role of the internal security forces (police and gendarmerie) in the restoration of security in the CAR,

Welcoming in this regard the work done by the European Union military advice mission (EUMAM-RCA), which provided, at the request of the CAR Authorities, expert advice on reforming the FACA and welcoming also the launch of an EU training mission (EUTM) which will extend the support provided to reform the FACA into multi-ethnic, professional, and representative armed forces, as indicated in the letter of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign and Security policy dated 30 May 2016,

Recalling its resolutions on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including 2286 (2016) and 1894 (2009); its resolutions on Children and Armed Conflict including 2225 (2015) and its resolutions on Women, Peace and Security including 2106 (2013) and 2242 (2015), and calling upon all parties in the CAR to engage with the Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict and the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict,

Expressing its concern that children have continued to be victims of abuses committed by armed elements of the ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka as well as other armed groups including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and that women and girls continue to be violently targeted and victims of sexual and gender-based violence in the CAR,

Emphasizing that the continued role and contribution of the region, including the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) as well as the African Union (AU) remains critical for the promotion of lasting peace and stability in the CAR, reiterating its appreciation for their ongoing efforts in this regard, and welcoming the deployment of AU advisors to support the victims of sexual violence in the CAR,

Welcoming the strong engagement of the European Union (EU) and the positive engagement of other International Organizations such as the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for the CAR, and further welcoming the bilateral contributions of Member States to the stabilization of the CAR,

Calling on international partners to assist the CAR Authorities in building the institutional and operational capacities of national police, gendarmerie and customs authorities to effectively monitor the borders and points of entry, including to support the implementation of the measures renewed and modified by paragraph 1 of resolution 2262 (2016) and the disarmament and repatriation of foreign armed elements,

Calling on international partners to urgently provide financial contributions to support the reform and stabilization programmes, including the national dialogue and reconciliation, the extension of State authority, accountability, DDR/R and SSR processes, and the restoration of the judicial and penal chains in order to fight against impunity, in view of the international support conference to be held in Brussels in November 2016,

Stressing the need to implement MINUSCA’s mandate, based on the prioritization of tasks, and, when relevant, in a phased manner,

Welcoming the Special Report of the Secretary-General of 22 June 2016 (S/2016/565) on the Strategic Review of MINUSCA,

Taking note of the letters sent by CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra to the Security Council dated 9 May 2016 and 17 May 2016 and by which the President called for the extension of the urgent temporary measures created by resolution 2149 (2014), and the support of the United Nations in supporting the sustainable reduction of the presence of armed groups through a comprehensive approach,

Determining that the situation in the CAR continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

Political process

“1.   Expresses its support to President Faustin-Archange Touadéra as President of the Central African Republic and welcomes the formation of the CAR Government;

“2.   Urges the CAR authorities to urgently implement a genuine and inclusive reconciliation in the CAR, including by addressing marginalization and local grievances of all the components of society over the whole territory of the CAR, including through national policies on economic development and civil service recruitment, and to promote reconciliation initiatives at the regional, national, prefectural and local levels, including through local elections;

“3.   Also calls upon the CAR authorities to ensure that national policies and legislative frameworks adequately protect the human rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), including freedom of movement, and supports durable solutions for IDPs and refugee populations, including the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return to one’s home or local integration or resettlement;

“4.   Recalls the crucial role of civil society in the peace and reconciliation process to ensure that the political solution addresses the root causes of the conflict;

“5.   Underscores the importance of respect for the Constitution to ensure the long-term stabilization and development of the CAR;

“6.   Demands that all militias and armed groups lay down their arms, cease all forms of violence and destabilizing activities, and release children from their ranks, immediately and unconditionally;

“7.   Encourages the submission by Member States of listing requests to the Committee established by paragraph 57 of resolution 2127 (2013), including detailed evidentiary support for each request, of individuals and entities engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the CAR, including acts that threaten or impede the political process, or the stabilization and reconciliation process, or that fuel violence;

“8.   Urges the CAR authorities to address the presence and activity of armed groups in the CAR by implementing a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes dialogue and the urgent implementation of an inclusive DDR/R programme, to be implemented in coherence with SSR which ensures civilian oversight of defence and national security forces, with the support of the international community;

“9.   Urges also the CAR authorities to adopt and implement a National Security Policy and a comprehensive strategy on SSR, including a strategy for a comprehensive reform of both the FACA, and the internal security forces (police and gendarmerie), in order to put in place professional, ethnically representative and regionally balanced national defence and internal security forces, including through the adoption and implementation of appropriate vetting procedures of all defence and security personnel, including human rights vetting, as well as measures to absorb elements of armed groups meeting rigorous eligibility and vetting criteria, and requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on progress taken in this regard as part of his regular reporting cycle;

“10.  Calls on the CAR authorities to take concrete steps, without delay and as a matter of priority, to strengthen justice institutions and to fight impunity, in order to contribute to stabilization and reconciliation, including, inter alia, by restoring administration of the judiciary, criminal justice and penitentiary systems throughout the country, by demilitarizing the prisons and gradually replace the FACA by recruiting civilian prison personnel and by ensuring access to fair and equal justice for all, and to swiftly operationalize the Special Criminal Court (SCC);

“11.  Also calls on the CAR authorities to continue their efforts to restore the effective authority of the State over the whole territory of the CAR, including by redeploying State administration in the provinces, and ensuring the timely payment of salaries to civil servants and Security forces, with the objective of ensuring stable, accountable, inclusive and transparent governance;

“12.  Encourages the CAR Authorities, with the support of the international community, in particular with International Financial Institutions (IFI) leading international efforts, and based on critical peace and State building goals, to continue consolidating public financial management and accountability, including revenue collection, expenditure controls, public procurement and concession practices building on relevant international experiences and in a manner that allows it to meet the expenses related to the functioning of the State, implement early recovery plans, and revitalize the economy, and fosters national ownership and respects the sovereignty of the CAR;

“13.  Further calls on Member States, international and regional organizations to urgently provide support to the CAR Authorities for the reforms, for the restoration of the State authority over the whole territory, including contributions for the payment of salaries and other needs, in addition to support for the SSR and DDR/R programmes and for the restoration of the judiciary and the criminal justice system including the SCC, and notes that the pledging conference to be held in Brussels in November 2016 will provide an opportunity to do so;

“14.  Welcomes the continued engagement of the United Nations, including the Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), neighbouring States, the European Union, the International Contact Group (ICG), the Group of Eight (G8‑RCA), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and other international partners and donors in support of the stabilization of the CAR;

“15.  Takes note of the development of a framework of mutual accountability between the CAR authorities and international partners under the leadership of the CAR Government, with the aim of enhancing transparency and accountability as well as the coherence and sustained support of the CAR’s international partners in support of agreed national priorities;

“16.  Stresses in this context the valuable role of the Peace-building Commission (PBC) in bringing strategic advice and fostering a more coherent, coordinated and integrated approach to international peace-building efforts, recognizes the active role of the Kingdom of Morocco, and encourages continued coordination with the PBC and other relevant international organizations and institutions in support of CAR’s long term peace building needs;

Human rights, including child protection and sexual violence in conflict

“17.  Reiterates the urgent and imperative need to hold accountable all perpetrators of violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights, irrespective of their status or political affiliation, and reiterates that some of those acts may amount to crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to which the CAR is a State party;

“18.  Notes the decision made by the Prosecutor of the ICC on 24 September 2014 to open, following the request of the national authorities, an investigation into alleged crimes committed since 2012, and welcomes the ongoing cooperation of the CAR Authorities in this regard;

“19.  Calls upon all parties to armed conflict in the CAR, including ex‑Seleka elements and anti-Balaka elements, to end all violations and abuses committed against children, in violation of applicable international law, including those involving their recruitment and use, rape and sexual violence, killing and maiming, abductions and attacks on schools and hospitals and further calls upon the CAR Authorities to investigate swiftly alleged violations and abuses in order to hold perpetrators accountable and to ensure that those responsible for such violations and abuses are excluded from the security sector;

“20.  Reiterates its demands that all parties protect and consider as victims those children who have been released or otherwise separated from armed forces and armed groups, and emphasizes the need to pay particular attention to the protection, release and reintegration of all children associated with armed forces and armed groups;

“21.  Calls upon all parties to armed conflict in the CAR, including ex‑Seleka and anti-Balaka elements, to end sexual and gender-based violence, and further calls upon the CAR Authorities to investigate swiftly alleged abuses in order to hold perpetrators accountable, and to develop a structured and comprehensive framework to address sexual violence in conflict, in line with its resolutions 1960 (2010) and 2106 (2013), to ensure that those responsible for such crimes are excluded from the security sector and prosecuted, and to facilitate immediate access for victims of sexual violence to available services;

Peacekeeping Operation

“22.  Commends the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Parfait Onanga-Anyanga and takes note of the increased deployment of MINUSCA’s military component, and encourages increased and flexible deployments of police and civilian components throughout the country;

“23.  Decides to extend the mandate of MINUSCA until 15 November 2017;

“24.  Decides that MINUSCA has an authorized troop ceiling of 10,750 military personnel, including 480 Military Observers and Military Staff Officers, 2,080 police personnel, including 400 Individual Police Officers, as well as 108 corrections officers, and recalls its intention to keep this number under continuous review in particular for the additional troops authorized by resolutions 2212 (2015) and 2264 (2016);

“25.  Reiterates the importance of current and future Troop- and Police- contributing countries (T/PCCs) providing troops and police with adequate capabilities and equipment in order to enhance the capacity of MINUSCA to operate effectively and requests the Secretary-General to accelerate the recruitment of qualified staff, who have the competencies, education, work experience and language skills to adequately and effectively implement the tasks enumerated in paragraphs 32 to 35 below;

“26.  Requests the Secretary-General to take all possible steps, including through the full use of existing authorities and at his discretion, to maximize MINUSCA’s operational capacity and ability to discharge its mandate, with a specific focus on priority areas, over the entire territory of the CAR, including through enhancing MINUSCA’s personnel, mobility assets and capabilities for gathering timely, reliable and actionable information on threats to civilians and the analytical tools to use it, while continuing to strengthen the performance of the Mission;

“27.  Notes the progress of all troop and police contributing countries to meet UN standards, in particular former International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA) TCCs/PCCS, and calls on them to immediately finalize the procurement and deployment of all required contingent-owned equipment, in order to comply with United Nations standards for troops and police;

“28.  Further urges the Secretariat to continue to explore, on the basis of need, the use of specialized police teams together with specialized required equipment, for police and gendarmerie capacity building and development and operational support;

“29.  Requests that the Secretary-General and his Special Representative take the necessary steps to reinforce the capacity of the police component of MINUSCA, within the authorized Force ceiling, and requests the enhanced deployment of the police component throughout the CAR and the recruitment and deployment of specialized personnel;

“30.  Urges MINUSCA and all relevant United Nations bodies, to ensure unhindered access for the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013), in particular to persons, documents and sites within their control in order for the Panel to execute its mandate;

“31.  Decides that MINUSCA’s mandate should be implemented based on a prioritization of tasks established in paragraphs 33 to 36 of this resolution, and, when relevant, in a phased manner, and further requests the Secretary-General to reflect this prioritization in the deployment and in the allocation of resources to the mission;

“32.  Authorizes MINUSCA to take all necessary means to carry out its mandate within its capabilities and areas of deployment;

“33.  Decides that the mandate of MINUSCA shall include the following immediate priority tasks:

(a)  Protection of civilians

(i)   To protect, without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the CAR authorities and the basic principles of peacekeeping in line with S/PRST/2015/22, the civilian population from threat of physical violence, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, especially through maintaining a proactive deployment, a mobile and flexible posture, and active patrolling, including in areas of displacement and eventual return as well as at risk communities, while mitigating risks to civilians posed by its military and police operations;

(ii)  To provide specific protection for women and children affected by armed conflict, including through the deployment of Child Protection Advisers, Women Protection Advisers and Gender Advisers;

(iii) To identify and report threats to and attacks against civilians and implement prevention and response plans and strengthen civil-military cooperation;

(iv)  To fully implement and deliver, in close consultation with humanitarian and human rights organizations and other relevant partners, the mission-wide protection of civilians strategy;

(b)  Promotion and protection of human rights

(i)   To monitor, help investigate, and report publicly and to the Security Council on violations of international humanitarian law and on violations and abuses of human rights committed throughout the CAR, including undertaking a mapping of such violations and abuses since 2003 to inform efforts to fight impunity;

(ii)  To monitor, help investigate and report on violations and abuses committed against children and women, including rape and other forms of sexual violence in armed conflict;

(iii) To assist the CAR authorities in their efforts to protect and promote human rights and prevent violations and abuses, including through the establishment of a national human rights commission and to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations;

(c)  Facilitate the creation of a secure environment for the immediate, full, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance

To improve coordination with humanitarian actors, in order to facilitate the creation of a secure environment for the immediate, full, safe and unhindered, civilian-led delivery of humanitarian assistance, in accordance with United Nations guiding humanitarian principles and relevant provisions of international law, and for the voluntary safe, dignified and sustainable return or local integration or resettlement of internally displaced persons or refugees in close coordination with humanitarian actors;

(d)  Protection of the United Nations

To protect the United Nations personnel, installations, equipment and goods and ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel;

“34.  Decides that MINUSCA’s strategic objective is to support the creation of conditions conducive to the sustainable reduction of the presence of, and threat posed by, armed groups through a comprehensive approach and a proactive and robust posture without prejudice to the basic principles of peacekeeping, that combines and includes the following core priority tasks:

(a)  Support for the reconciliation and stabilization political processes, the extension of State authority and the preservation of territorial integrity

(i)   To provide good offices and technical expertise in support of efforts to address the root causes of conflict, in particular in mediation and reconciliation processes, inclusive national dialogue, transitional justice and conflict-resolution mechanisms, working with relevant regional and local bodies and religious leaders, while ensuring the full and effective participation of women in line with the CAR action plan on Women, Peace and Security;

(ii)  To support efforts of the CAR authorities to address marginalization and local grievances, including through dialogue with the armed groups, civil society leaders including women and youth representatives, and by assisting national, prefectoral and local authorities to foster confidence among communities;

(iii) To support a gradual handover of security of key officials, and static guard duties of national institutions, to the CAR security forces, in coordination with the CAR Authorities, and based on the risks on the ground;

(iv)  To advise the government in its engagement with neighbouring countries, the ECCAS, and the AU, in consultation with UNOCA;

(v)   To promote and support the rapid extension of State authority over the entire territory of the CAR, including by supporting the immediate redeployment of police and gendarmerie in priority areas and main supply routes, which would contribute to the development of stable security institutions in more remote areas;

(vi)  To reinforce co-location of MINUSCA with vetted and trained national police and gendarmerie in agreed priority areas, as part of the deployment of the territorial administration and other rule of law authorities, for increasing State presence in these priority areas outside of Bangui;

(vii) To help the CAR authorities in developing and implementing a nationally owned strategy to address illegal taxation and illicit exploitation of natural resources related to the presence of armed groups;

(viii)      To actively seize, confiscate and destroy, as appropriate, the weapons and ammunitions of armed elements, including all militias and other non-state armed groups, who refuse or fail to lay down their arms;

(b)  Security Sector Reform (SSR)

(i)   To provide strategic and technical advice to the CAR authorities to design and implement a strategy for the SSR, taking into account the work done by EUMAM-RCA and in close coordination with EUTM-RCA, and with the aim of ensuring coherence of the SSR process, including through a clear delineation of responsibilities of the FACA, the internal security forces, and other uniformed entities, as well as the democratic control of both defence and internal security forces;

(ii)  To support the CAR authorities in developing an approach to the vetting of defence and security elements (FACA, police and gendarmerie) which includes human rights vetting, in particular to promote accountability of violations of international and domestic law amongst security forces and in the context of any integration of demobilized armed groups elements into security sector institutions;

(iii)      To take a leading role in supporting the CAR authorities on the reform and development of the police and the gendarmerie, through the design and implementation of a capacity-building and development plan, undertaken pursuant to an overall security sector reform strategy, and by providing technical assistance, in close coordination with other technical assistance providers, to the CAR Government;

(iv)  To support the CAR Government in developing an incentive structure for police and gendarmerie and the selection, recruitment, vetting and training of police and gendarmerie to include at least 500 new police and gendarmerie elements, with the support of donors and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), taking into account the need to recruit women, and in full compliance with the UN Human rights due diligence policy (HRDDP);

(v)   To coordinate the provision of technical assistance and training between the international partners in the CAR, in particular with EUTM-RCA, in order to ensure a clear distribution of tasks in the field of SSR, for the benefit of both the FACA and the CAR internal security forces (police and gendarmerie);

(vi)  To coordinate with the CAR authorities in designing a plan for the progressive, and coordinated re-operationalization of FACA and other internal security forces within the framework of the SSR programme and in compliance with the HRDDP, in close coordination with EUTM-RCA;

(c)  Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration (DDR) and Repatriation (DDRR)

(i)   To support the CAR Authorities in developing and implementing an inclusive and progressive programme for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and, in case of foreign elements, Repatriation (DDRR), of members of armed groups, based on the Principles of DDRR and Integration into the Uniformed Corps, signed at the Bangui Forum on 10 May 2015, while paying specific attention to the needs of children associated with armed forces and groups;

(ii)  To support the CAR authorities in undertaking an inclusive dialogue on community security and local development with members of armed groups and other national stakeholders, including representatives of local communities, with a view to addressing the root causes of conflict;

(iii) To support the CAR authorities and relevant civil society organizations in developing and implementing Community Violence Reduction programmes for members of armed groups non-eligible for participation in the national DDRR programme;

(iv)  To provide technical assistance to the CAR authorities in developing and implementing a national plan for the integration of eligible demobilized members of armed groups into the security and defence forces, in line with the broader SSR agenda;

(v)   To provide technical assistance to the CAR authorities in their development and operationalization of a national commission for Small Arms and Light Weapons to address civilian disarmament and the fight against the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons;

(vi)  To destroy, as appropriate, the weapons and ammunitions of disarmed combatants in keeping with its effort to seize and collect arms and related materiel the supply, sale or transfer of which violate the measures imposed by paragraph 1 of resolution 2262 (2016);

(d)  Assistance to advance the rule of law and combat impunity

Urgent temporary measures:

(i)   To urgently and actively adopt, within the limits of its capacities and areas of deployment, at the formal request of the CAR Authorities and in areas where national security forces are not present or operational, urgent temporary measures on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent and without prejudice to the agreed principles of peacekeeping operations, which are limited in scope, time-bound and consistent with the objectives set out in paragraphs 33, 34 (a) and 35 (a), to arrest and detain in order to maintain basic law and order and fight impunity;

(ii)  To pay particular attention, in implementing the urgent temporary measures in the conditions stated above, to those engaging in or providing support for acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of the CAR, including acts that threaten or impede the political process, or the stabilization and reconciliation process, or that fuel violence;

(iii) Requests the Secretary-General to continue to report to the Security Council any measures that may be adopted on this basis;

Fight against impunity, including the Special Criminal Court (SCC):

(iv)  To provide technical assistance to the CAR Authorities to identify, investigate and prosecute those responsible for crimes involving violations of international humanitarian law and of violations and abuses of human rights committed throughout the CAR so that they can be brought to justice, and to help prevent such violations and abuses;

(v)   To provide support and to coordinate international assistance to the justice and correctional institutions to reinstate the criminal justice system, within the framework of the United Nations global focal point on rule of law, in a manner that emphasizes civilian oversight, impartiality and the protection of human rights;

(vi)  To provide technical assistance to the CAR Authorities in partnership with other international partners, to operationalize of the SCC consistent with CAR laws and jurisdiction and in line with the CAR’s international humanitarian law and international human rights law obligations, with the aim of supporting the extension of State authority;

(vii) To provide technical assistance, in partnership with other international partners, and capacity building for the CAR authorities, in order to facilitate the functioning of the SCC, in particular in the areas of investigations, arrests, detention, criminal and forensic analysis, evidence collection and storage, recruitment and selection of personnel, court management, prosecution strategy and case development and the establishment of a legal aid system, as appropriate, as well as, to provide security for magistrates, including at the premises and proceedings of the SCC, and take measures for the protection of victims and witnesses, in line with the CAR’s international human rights obligations, including with respect to fair trials, and due process;

(viii)      To assist in the coordination and mobilization of bilateral and multilateral support to the operationalization and functioning of the SCC;

“35.  Further authorises MINUSCA to use its capacities to assist the CAR authorities for, and, where relevant, implement, the following essential tasks:

(a)  Support for national and international justice and the rule of law

(i)   To help reinforce the independence of the judiciary, build the capacities, and enhance the effectiveness and accountability of the national judicial and penitentiary system;

(ii)  To help build the capacities of the national human rights institution coordinating with the Independent Expert on human rights as appropriate;

(iii) without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the CAR authorities, to support the restoration and maintenance of public safety and the rule of law, including through apprehending and handing over to the CAR authorities, consistent with international law, those in the country responsible for crimes involving serious human rights violations and abuses and serious violations of international humanitarian law so that they can be brought to justice, and through cooperation with States of the region as well as the ICC in cases of crimes falling within its jurisdiction;

(iv)  To provide strategic, policy and technical advice to the CAR authorities to design and implement a comprehensive strategy for transitional justice;

(b)  Illicit exploitation and trafficking of natural resources

To support the CAR authorities to develop a nationally-owned strategy to tackle the illicit exploitation and trafficking networks of natural resources which continue to fund and supply armed groups in the CAR taking into account, where appropriate, the reports of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) and the decisions of the Kimberley Process (KP), with the aim of extending the State authority over the entire territory and its resources;

“36.  Further authorizes MINUSCA to carry out within its existing resources the following additional tasks:

“(a)  To coordinate international assistance as appropriate;

“(b)  To assist the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 57 of resolution 2127 (2013) and the Panel of Experts established by the same resolution, including by passing information relevant to the implementation of the mandate of the Committee and Panel of Experts;

“(c)  To monitor the implementation of the measures renewed and modified by paragraph 1 of resolution 2262 (2016), in cooperation with the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013), including by inspecting, as it deems necessary and when appropriate without notice, all arms and related materiel regardless of location, and advise the Authorities on efforts to keep armed groups from exploiting natural resources;

“(d)  To seize and collect arms and any related materiel the transfer of which to the CAR violates the measures imposed by paragraph 54 of resolution 2127 (2013) and to record and dispose of such arms and related materiel as appropriate;

“(e)  To provide transport for relevant State authorities in carrying out inspections and monitoring visits in key mining areas and sites as appropriate and on a case by case basis and when the situation allows, as a means to promote and support the rapid extension of the State authority over the entire territory;

“37.  Requests the Secretary-General to deploy and allocate personnel and expertise within MINUSCA to reflect the priorities identified by paragraph 33 to paragraph 36 of this resolution, and to continuously adjust this deployment according to the progresses made in the implementation of this mandate;

“38.  Encourages MINUSCA to develop measurable targets by which to assess progress against the core priority tasks set in pursuit of the strategic objective defined in paragraph 34 of this resolution;

“39.  Requests MINUSCA to continue using relevant and tailored communication tools, in particular radio, to help the local people better understand the mandate of the mission, its activities, and to build trust with the CAR citizens, parties to the conflict, regional and other international actors and partners on the ground as part of an effective political strategy;

“40.  Requests MINUSCA to enhance its operational coordination with the African Union Regional Task Force on the LRA (AU-RTF), as well as other entities involved in the implementation of the UN regional strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the LRA, and requests MINUSCA to share relevant information with the AU-RTF and with non-governmental organizations involved in tackling the threat of the LRA;

“41.  Calls upon the CAR Authorities and international partners and relevant United Nations entities, in coordination with MINUSCA and United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), to address the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation, and misuse of small arms and light weapons in the CAR, and to ensure the safe and effective management, storage and security of stockpiles of small arms and light weapons, and the collection and/or destruction of surplus, seized, unmarked, or illicitly held weapons and ammunition, and further stresses the importance of incorporating such elements into SSR and DDR/R programmes;

“42.  Encourages the CAR authorities to implement the Central African Convention for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition, Parts and Components that can be used for their Manufacture, Repair or Assembly signed at Kinshasa on April, 30 2010;

“43.  Urges the CAR, its neighbouring States and other member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to cooperate at the regional level to investigate and combat regional criminal networks and armed groups involved in the illegal exploitation and smuggling of natural resources including gold, diamonds and wildlife poaching and trafficking;

“44.  Requests MINUSCA to take fully into account child protection as a cross-cutting issue throughout its mandate and to assist the CAR authorities in ensuring that the protection of children’s rights is taken into account, inter alia, in DDR and DDR/R processes and in SSR in order to end and prevent violations and abuses against children;

“45.  Requests MINUSCA to take fully into account gender mainstreaming as a cross-cutting issue throughout its mandate and to assist the Government of the CAR in ensuring the full and effective participation, involvement and representation of women in all spheres and at all levels, including in stabilization activities, SSR and DDR and DDR/R processes, as well as in the national political dialogue and electoral processes, through, inter alia, the provision of gender advisers, and further requests enhanced reporting by MINUSCA to the Council on this issue;

“46.  Requests MINUSCA, within its existing resources and mandate, to assist the political efforts of the AU, ECCAS, UNOCA and the Group of Eight (G8‑RCA) to support the political process;

“47.  Requests the Secretary-General to conduct an electoral needs assessment mission in relation to the conduct of the local elections further to the request of the CAR National Electoral Authority, and to report to the Security Council on the findings of the assessment as part of his regular reporting to the Council;

“48.  Recalls its Presidential Statement S/PRST/2015/22 and its resolution 2272 (2016) and requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance of MINUSCA with the United Nations zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to keep the Council informed through his reports to the Council about the Mission’s progress in this regard, and urges TCC/PCCs to take appropriate preventative action including pre-deployment awareness training, and to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;

“49.  Requests MINUSCA to ensure that any support provided to non-United Nations security forces is provided in strict compliance with the HRDDP, and requests the Secretary-General to include information on any such support in his reports to the Council;

“50.  Emphasizes the need for MINUSCA, EUTM-RCA and the French forces operating in the CAR, while carrying out their mandate, to act in full respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the CAR and in full compliance with applicable international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law and recalls the importance of training in this regard;

MINUSCA Freedom of movement

“51.  Urges all parties in the CAR to cooperate fully with the deployment and activities of MINUSCA, in particular by ensuring its safety, security and freedom of movement with unhindered and immediate access throughout the territory of the CAR to enable MINUSCA to carry out fully its mandate in a complex environment including by helping to ensure the full and effective implementation of, and compliance with, the host country agreement (SOFA) by the CAR authorities;

“52.  Calls upon Member States, especially those in the region, to ensure the free, unhindered and expeditious movement to and from the CAR of all personnel, as well as equipment, provisions, supplies and other goods, including vehicles and spare parts, which are for the exclusive and official use of MINUSCA;

Humanitarian access

“53.  Demands that all parties allow and facilitate the full, safe, immediate and unhindered access for the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to populations in need, in particular to internally displaced persons, throughout the territory of the CAR, in accordance with the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian assistance and relevant provisions of international law;

“54.  Further demands that all parties ensure respect and protection of all medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities;

Humanitarian appeal

“55.  Welcomes the humanitarian appeal, regrets its insufficient current funding, and calls on Member States and international and regional organizations to respond swiftly to this appeal through increased contributions and to ensure that all pledges are honoured in full and in a timely manner;

French Forces

“56.  Authorizes French forces, within the limits of their capacities and areas of deployment, from the commencement of the activities of MINUSCA until the end of MINUSCA’s mandate as authorized in this resolution, to use all necessary means to provide operational support to elements of MINUSCA from the date of adoption of this resolution, at the request of the Secretary-General, and requests France to report to the Council on the implementation of this mandate and to coordinate its reporting with that of the Secretary-General referred to in paragraph 58 of this resolution;

Review and Reporting

“57.  Requests the Secretary-General to review on a regular basis the conditions required for the transition, drawdown and withdrawal of the United Nations operation, in a manner which does not prejudice overall efforts to support long term objectives for peace and stability, and looks forward to receiving this information as part of this regular reporting to the Security Council;

“58.  Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council regularly informed of the situation in the CAR and the implementation of the mandate of MINUSCA, to report to the Council, on 1 October 2016, and then every four months from that date, and to include in his reports to the Council updates on and recommendations related to the dynamic implementation of MINUSCA’s mandated tasks, including by providing appropriate financial information, information on the security situation, the priority political elements as defined above on political progress, progress on mechanisms and capacity to advance governance and fiscal management, relevant information on the progress, promotion and protection of human rights and international humanitarian law as well as a review of the troop and police levels, force and police generation and deployment of all MINUSCA’s constituent elements;

“59.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

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