Swedish statement at the UNSC Briefing on the Great Lakes Region
National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the Great Lakes Region, 10 April 2018, New York.
I would like to thank the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for his briefing to the Council today as well as Ambassador Bale for his remarks. I think the briefings underline the interconnected nature of the challenges facing the region and the need for an integrated approach that addresses the root causes of conflict. We fully support their efforts to strengthen regional dialogue in order to advance peace and development efforts in the Great Lakes.
Five years after its adoption, the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region continues to be relevant for peace in the DRC, for regional stability and for the UN and the international community's engagement for peace in the region. Regional leadership and ownership of the framework are critical. Complementary efforts, such as the Great Lakes Strategic Framework, are more likely to be effective when accompanied by strong national leadership.
We fully support important regional efforts to implement the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework. These include the revitalization of the Regional Oversight Mechanism and active engagement of the chairmanships of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region on issues of regional stability, peaceful electoral processes and transitions. In addition, the use of the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism, which helped defuse tensions surrounding a February cross-border incident in North Kivu, is welcome.
These examples illustrate how further strengthening the region's fora for dialogue, information sharing and transparency, as well as increased joint monitoring, will enhance mutual trust and transparency. This could help the region resolve key issues central to building a sustainable peace. The United Nations has an important role to play in support of these efforts and we fully support the work of the Special Envoy in this regard.
The current situation in the DRC is the most pressing issue facing the region. The severe humanitarian situation, the delicate political situation and increased insecurity is of great concern, and also potentially threatens regional stability. We fully support regional efforts to resolve the situation in the DRC. Close coordination with and between these actors continues to be essential however.
For this reason, we welcome the current coordination amongst the guarantors of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework. We strongly support the efforts of the Republic of the Congo, as ICGLR Chair, together with Angola, for a dialogue with the Democratic Republic of Congo. In partnership with regional actors, we must all support the holding of credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections on the 23 of December with the ensuing democratic transfer of power as per the constitution and the New Year's agreement. This is necessary to foster stability and peace in the DRC.
For lasting peace and stability in the region it is essential that women's voices are heard. We strongly endorse the call from the Women's platform of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for greater support to women's participation in peace and political processes, especially in the context of elections.
Finally, more needs to be done to implement the Nairobi declarations and take necessary actions on Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration, and Resettlement (DDRRR). The Judicial Cooperation Network could also help judicial cooperation and the combat against impunity.
The Great Lakes Region is home to an estimated 130 million people spread across five countries. The people of the region have suffered from decades of instability and conflict. Successfully overcoming the challenges of the region will require concerted action at national, regional and international level that links peace and security and economic and social development. Continued leadership from the region, including implementation of the 2030 Agenda, will be essential if the people of the Great Lakes Region are to finally have the peace and sustainable development they desire.