Explanation of Vote following the Adoption of a UN Security Council Resolution Renewing the Mandate of MONUSCO

Amy Tachco
Political Coordinator
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
March 27, 2018


Thank you very much, Minister Blok, and welcome to the Security Council today. And I want to thank as well Ambassador Delattre for France’s work on this important mandate. We are entering a critical time for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and this vote represents a pivotal juncture for the United Nation’s mission there.

Just as the previous UN mission helped organize the first free elections in over 40 years in 2006, this mission is now poised to help support the first peaceful transfer of power in Congo’s history. It has not always been clear that we would get to this day.

Last year this Council said all the right things about prioritizing MONUSCO, but throughout the year, it was clear that the mission continued to be pulled in multiple directions. Its mandate was too broad and unfocused. The Secretary-General’s Strategic Review recognized this lack of focus and called for streamlining the mandate to emphasize a limited set of priorities. We shared this view, and we fought to ensure that protection of civilians and supporting the electoral process were at the heart of the mission.

By streamlining the number of non-priority tasks and directing the mission to allocate resources according to the remaining tasks, we have made clear that the mission and the Council will work to fulfill our common purpose of elections. After all – without free, open and credible elections in December 2018 – everything else MONUSCO sets out to do will be complicated by political unrest and the specter of violence.

We even took the step of endorsing key benchmarks leading to elections in December. In advancing these benchmarks, the mission must work closely with the Congolese electoral commission, and the Secretary-General must provide honest, accurate assessments of progress – or lack of progress, as the case may be – toward Election Day.

Adhering to an electoral calendar will mean little, however, if the Congolese people are denied their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and assembly or the right to choose among a variety of credible candidates. Free and fair elections simply cannot coexist with attempts to harass, intimidate, or otherwise silence voters.

Beyond elections, we sought to make the mission more responsive by clarifying that the Force Intervention Brigade operates under the command of the UN Force Commander. This mandate allows the Force Commander to deploy the Force Intervention Brigade throughout the entire country, rather than confine the force to the East, and ensures that a unified command structure will respond to the needs of the Congolese people.

We also sought to improve the performance of MONUSCO troops. Too many peacekeeper lives were lost this last year, and too many innocent civilians lost their lives when the mission’s forces failed to respond. We must hold troops to the highest standard and demand accountability for underperformance. The Secretary-General can make a real difference by ensuring troop performance reviews presented to this council are clear and actionable.

That includes taking concrete steps to address sexual exploitation and abuse. MONUSCO had more reported allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in 2017 than any other UN peacekeeping mission. This cannot continue.

Ultimately, Congo’s leaders must take responsibility for the future of their country. No Security Council resolution or peacekeeping mission will bring about this incredible country’s true potential. There must be a political will to bring about change and to see elections through in 2018. We call on all Member States, particularly regional partners, and the UN to invest more than troops or money; we call on you to invest your time and political capital in promoting free and fair Congolese elections in 2018. The people of the Congo must know that we have their backs, and the Government of the Congo must know that failure is not an option.

Thank you.