Yearbook of the United Nations, 2009. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 2, Africa
In 2009, the United Nations maintained its commitment to promoting peace, stability and development in Africa through six United Nations political and peacebuilding missions and seven peacekeeping operations. The Organization faced daunting challenges in helping the countries in conflict situations and those in transition to post-conflict peacebuilding in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region, West Africa and the Horn of Africa return to peace, stability and prosperity. Many countries faced the complex task of bringing rebel groups to the negotiating table, concluding disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes for ex-combatants, promoting national reconciliation and creating the conditions for economic and social development. The Office of the Special Adviser on Africa and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa (UNOWA) brought a regional perspective to issues facing the continent, promoted conflict prevention and raised awareness about subregional problems. The United Nations worked closely with international actors and the African Union (au), the Economic Community of West African States, the Economic Community of Central African States and other regional organizations to assist Governments in improving security, ensuring humanitarian access, energizing peace processes and promoting development. The United Nations continued to monitor Security Council-sanctioned arms embargoes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Darfur region of western Sudan and Somalia. The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission contributed to post-conflict stabilization in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. As at 30 June, the Peacebuilding Fund had received $309.6 million from 45 donors. IN May, a Security Council mission visited the DRC, Ethiopia, Liberia and Rwanda to promote peace and reconciliation. Central Africa and the Great Lakes region saw significant progress in efforts to restore the region to peace and stability, notably the agreements reached between the DRC with Rwanda and with rebel groups; concerted efforts in Burundi to implement the 2006 Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement and the 2008 Bujumbura Declaration; and implementation in the Central African Republic of the recommendations of the 2008 inclusive dialogue. However, renewed hostilities by rebel groups operating in the border areas of the Central African Republic, Chad and the Western Darfur region of the Sudan, as well as the continued activities of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) out of Uganda, threatened the efforts of the United Nations and the international community to restore peace, stability and development to the region. In December, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council of his intention to establish the United Nations Office for Central Africa in Libreville, Gabon, to cooperate with African regional organizations to promote peace and stability in the subregion. IN the DRC, efforts intensified to implement the 2007 Nairobi communiqué for ending the threat to peace and security. On 23 March, the Government and armed rebel groups signed a peace agreement. As a result, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) was able to scale down its operations in the western part of the country and transfer them to the eastern part, where the security situation remained volatile. The Presidents of the DRC and Rwanda, at a bilateral summit meeting in Goma on 6 August, pledged to start a new era in relations between the two countries and agreed on a range of bilateral accords, including a re-launch of the DRC-Rwanda Joint Permanent Commission. The DRC and Rwanda, and later the DRC assisted by MONUC, launched campaigns to oust the rebel movement Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda from Congolese territory. IN Burundi, the last rebel movement, the Forces nationales de libération (FLN), disarmed and transformed itself into a political party, thus concluding the last stage of the peace process. The Government established the National Independent Electoral Commission and preparations began for holding elections in 2010. In the light of that progress, the mandate of the South African Facilitator ended, the Office of the Facilitation closed and the au Special Task Force withdrew. Progress was also made in disarming and demobilizing former FLN combatants. Despite significant challenges, the Central African Republic made positive steps forward. A broad-based Government was established and the committees for implementing the various aspects of the December 2008 recommendations were established. Progress was made in the preparations for holding elections in 2010, and in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants. To support the promising peacebuilding opportunities, the Secretary-General proposed establishing a United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic. IN March, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) took over security responsibilities from the European Union force (EUFOR), adding a large military component to its operations. Eufor troops were rehatted while troops from other countries arrived to take up duties. LRA did not fulfil its commitments under the 2008 Final Peace Agreement and continued its attacks on civilians, causing death, abductions and the displacement of thousands of civilians. The Government of Uganda and LRA representatives were yet to sign the final peace agreement. On 30 June, the Secretary-General suspended the mission of the Special Envoy for the LRA-affected areas, Joaquim Alberto Chissano, and closed his office in Kampala, as the Special Envoy had achieved the main objectives of his mandate. He would, however, be available if a signing ceremony of the final peace agreement was arranged. IN Rwanda, the United Nations continued the programme of information and outreach entitled “The Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations” to mobilize civil society for Rwanda genocide victim remembrance and education in order to help prevent future acts of genocide. In December, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on assistance to survivors of the 1994 genocide, particularly orphans, widows and victims of sexual violence, and extended the mandate of the outreach programme. IN West Africa, the year 2009 witnessed an overall improvement in the peace and security situation, despite some reversals. The region continued to face debilitating factors, including food insecurity, climate change and corruption. UNOWA coordinated UN political and developmental assistance to the subregion and guided countries in their quest for consolidation of peace. Among the issues addressed by UNOWA, weakness in governance and the rule of law remained major concerns, and security threats increased, including organized crime and terrorist activities. Social, economic and humanitarian challenges remained— the international financial crisis, drought and floods, food insecurity, high population growth and high unemployment rates, notably among the young. West African economies continued to grow, but at a slower pace. Wealth was concentrated in a few individuals while living conditions for the majority deteriorated. Some progress was made in democratization, with some countries, such as Mali and Senegal, holding transparent, free and fair elections. At the same time there was a resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government, compounded by the impunity of perpetrators. IN Côte d'Ivoire, the focus of the international community was to proceed with the implementation of the 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement and its supplementary accords, which called for creating a transitional Government, merging the forces of the opposing sides through an integrated command centre, and replacing the zone separating north and south with a “green line”, to be monitored by the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI). In 2009, UNOCI worked with the Government to organize presidential elections postponed from 2008 until 29 November 2009. The mission provided technical and logistical support to the national commission responsible for elections. Substantial progress was made in identification and registration of voters and the validation of candidates running for President. However, because of delays in preparations, the elections were again postponed and rescheduled for February/March 2010. Nevertheless, work continued and remained on track for elections and implementation of the Agreement. Progress was more limited in other areas—in implementing the supplementary agreement on disarmament, reunification of defence and security forces, restoration of State authority to all areas of the country, and reunification of the treasury. In October, the Security Council renewed for another year the arms, travel and diamond sanctions imposed on Côte d'Ivoire. The Government of Liberia continued its efforts to improve governance and security, consolidate State authority, manage natural resources, address human rights issues and build a better economy. It was assisted in those endeavours by the United Nations Mission in Liberia, which began to implement the third stage of the draw down in October by reducing its forces by 2,029 soldiers to a strength of 8,202 military personnel. In 2009, the Government focused on reform of the security sector, in particular the national police and armed forces, which needed assistance in improving training and management capabilities. The Government also worked on drafting legislation in preparation for elections scheduled for 2011. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission completed its work and issued a final report in June. Three months later, the legislature decided not to take action on the Commission's recommendations until 2010. In December, the Security Council renewed the arms embargo imposed on Liberia and the travel ban and assets freeze against certain individuals for another year. IN Sierra Leone, the Government continued to develop strategies and activities aimed at peace consolidation and economic recovery, based on the President's Agenda for Change, a three-year plan issued in tandem with the Joint Vision of the United Nations Family for Sierra Leone, the plan for coordinating assistance from UN agencies and programmes. The Government was assisted in its efforts by the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone. The Peacebuilding Commission continued its engagement with the country, focusing on maintaining progress in peacebuilding efforts and broadening the donor base. The peace consolidation process was briefly interrupted by political violence in March, which was ended with the signing on 2 April of a joint communiqué reaffirming the path towards peace and stability. The Special Court for Sierra Leone neared the conclusion of its trials of those bearing the greatest responsibility for serious violations of humanitarian laws committed in the country since 1996. By the end of 2009, only one trial remained ongoing—that of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The situation in Guinea-Bissau remained tense due to four assassinations during 2009, including in March of the President and the Chief of the General Staff. Those events, however, did not crush the Government's efforts to consolidate peace, organize presidential elections, reform the security sector and combat drug trafficking and organized crime. In those efforts, the Government was assisted by the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS). As provided for by the Constitution, presidential elections were held in June and July, resulting in the election of Malam Bacai Sanha. In June, the Security Council extended the mandate of UNOGBIS until the end of the year, to be succeeded by a United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) with a smaller staff. The Peacebuilding Commission continued its engagement in Guinea-Bissau, focusing on the peace process, in particular on security sector reform and preparations for the presidential elections. Cameroon and Nigeria continued to cooperate to advance implementation of the 2002 ruling of the International Court of Justice on their land and maritime boundary through the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission. In 2009, the joint technical team of surveyors resumed work on delineating the land boundary, and by the end of the year, some 1,420 kilometres of the total length of 1,950 kilometres had been surveyed. The Mixed Commission focused on the emplacement of the first permanent border demarcation pillars on the ground, which began in mid-November. Guinea faced a period of uncertainty and tension following the death in December 2008 of President Lansana Conté and the coup led by the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNND), a military junta. Once it seized power, CNND suspended governmental institutions and the Constitution while claiming that it would hand over power to a civilian president after elections in 2009, which were subsequently postponed. Opposition parties organized a rally on 28 September 2009, which quickly turned violent, leaving 156 dead. At the urging of the international community, the Secretary-General established a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the circumstances, which issued its report in December. Meanwhile, the international mediation process continued throughout the year; however, there was little progress in narrowing the gap in positions between CNND and the coalition of opposition groups.Following the overthrow of the President of Mauritania in 2008, UNOWA joined international efforts to assist the country in re-establishing constitutional order. The situation improved markedly in 2009 with presidential elections held in July that were declared free and fair by international observers. The Organization strove to achieve a lasting peace in the Horn of Africa. As southern Sudan experienced an unusually violent and politically unstable year, the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) continued to support the resolution of core issues of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which promised to enhance the prospects for stability in the entire region. UNMIS responded swiftly to a number of violent outbreaks and, in February, it helped launch the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration programme. Preparations for national elections, to be held in accordance with the CPA and planned for April 2010, dominated much of the political environment. Voter registration began on 1 November in most of the country and was concluded on 7 December, with approximately 16.5 million voters out of an estimated 20 million registered. The political landscape was affected by the arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir issued by the International Criminal Court on 4 March, to which the Sudanese Government responded by expelling 13 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from the Darfur region and shutting down three local NGOs. The humanitarian situation in southern Sudan continued to deteriorate, resulting in the death of an estimated 2,500 people and the displacement of 359,000 during the year. The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) encountered successes, obstacles and tragedies amid a delicate peace as it closed out its second year. The costliest UN peacekeeping mission and its second-largest in personnel was tasked with helping bring peace to Darfur, which had endured one of the world's worst humanitarian crises in recent years. Increased deployment allowed UNAMID to project its presence more effectively, but it continued to lack resources, including helicopters, critical to the effective implementation of its mandate. Regional peace efforts remained stalled as a result of continued tension between Chad and the Sudan. On 3 May, Chad and the Sudan signed an agreement in Doha, Qatar, pledging to refrain from the use of force and to cease providing support to opposition armed groups. However, on 4 May, a rebel group made an incursion in eastern Chad, clashing with Government forces. On 5 May, Chad accused the Sudan of sending armed elements into eastern Chad, thus breaching the Doha agreement. The Sudan denied the accusation, stating that it remained committed to the agreement. Relations between Chad and the Sudan remained tense during the rest of the year. IN Somalia, the Organization pursued a carefully calibrated set of steps in support of the fragile peace process, as endorsed by the Security Council in resolutions 1863(2009) and 1872(2009). Preparedness plans were drawn up in the event of a decision by the Security Council to deploy a UN peacekeeping mission as a follow-on force to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Meanwhile, the installation of a new Government, together with the withdrawal of the Ethiopian forces in mid-January—reconciliation measures laid out in the 2008 Djibouti Peace Agreement—were positive indicators for the direction of the peace process. The United Nations Political Office for Somalia, together with its regional and international partners, worked to advance the implementation of the Djibouti Agreement, while the newly established United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia (UNSOA) was mandated to deliver a support package to AMISOM similar to that of a UN peacekeeping mission. The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia was set up in January to combat the increasingly daring and sophisticated attacks against maritime vessels, and the Djibouti Code of Conduct, adopted by the International Maritime Organization in January, was signed by 10 States of the region. The Security Council in December imposed arms and travel sanctions on Eritrea for supporting insurgents trying to topple the Somali Government, extended the arms embargo on Somalia and expanded the mandate of the Monitoring Group overseeing implementation and violations of the embargo. The Council called on Member States, including Eritrea, to support the Djibouti peace process and reconciliation efforts by the Somali Government. The Council in January urged Djibouti and Eritrea to resolve peacefully their ongoing border dispute. In December, the Council demanded that Eritrea withdraw its forces from the disputed area and engage in diplomatic efforts to settle the border issue. Negotiations towards a lasting political solution to the question of Western Sahara continued, but the two parties to the dispute concerning the Territory— Morocco and the Frente Polisario para la Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente Polisario)— remained far apart on ways to achieve that goal. The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) monitored compliance with the 1991 ceasefire between the parties. The Security Council in April extended MINURSO's mandate for another year, until 30 April 2010.
Yearbook of the United Nations, 2009. v. 63; Vol. 63
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