On Thursday July 25th, 2013, the Security Council held a ministerial level debate on the Situation in the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) under the presidency of the United States. The main focus was the Secretary-General's Report on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region (S/2013/387) dated 28 June 2013. A Presidential Statement (S/PRST/2013/11) was adopted.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry opened the debate and was followed by the briefings of the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, and the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson. Multiple Member States, as well as the African Union, also addressed the Council.
Several Member States in addition to the briefings of John Kerry, Jim Yong Kim, and Mary Robinson made gender references to issues including sexual violence and the need for women's participation in peace processes. None of the above speakers explicitly mentioned any of the resolutions on women, peace and security: Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2010), or 2106 (2013). However, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Mary Robinson emphasized the need for women-led initiatives to implement the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and reported that over 100 women from the region met in Bujumbura, Burundi to suggest benchmarks and indicators for the Framework. In addition, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim acknowledged that the active participation of women in the peace process would lead to a decrease in sexual and gender-based violence.
While several Member States, such as Togo and France, discussed sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war, Australia stressed the particular need for women's participation in security sector reform, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration processes, and the implementation of the Framework. Furthermore, the DRC promised to engage an inclusive process that will involve significant representation of women as part of the nation's priority to strengthen national cohesion.
Additional topics articulated during the debate included the inextricable link between development and peace as well as the need for DRC's economic integration and growth. Affirming points made during the Open Debate on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security, dated 19 June 2013, several Member States acknowledged the exploitation of natural resources as a root cause of the ongoing conflict in the region. US Secretary of State John Kerry also communicated that all parties must immediately end their support of rebel groups and hold human rights abusers accountable in order to end the era of impunity. Moreover, multiple representatives welcomed the operationalization of the MONUSCO-led intervention brigade as an effort to neutralize all armed groups in the eastern provinces of the DRC and the larger Great Lakes region.
Member States who spoke at the debate included representatives of: Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Morocco, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom, and the United States.
UN and Civil Society representatives at the debate included: Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, United States Secretary of State John Kerry, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim, and the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Mary Robinson. The representative of the African Union delegation also delivered a statement.
*States and representatives who referenced gender are in bold.