11th Regional Oversight Mechanism Meeting Reviews Progress and Challenges in Great Lakes Africa Region
Heads of State and Government from the Great Lakes Africa region, the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, and representatives from the United Nations led by Secretary-General António Guterres, gathered in Bujumbura, Burundi, on 6 May 2023 for the 11th meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework agreement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region. The summit, hosted by Burundi’s President Évariste Ndayishimiye, took place in the context of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Peace agreement.
During the meeting, the leaders reviewed the latest developments in the region, including progress and challenges in the implementation of the Framework Agreement. They also discussed a range of pressing issues, including the security situation in eastern DRC, the ongoing conflict between the DRC and Rwanda, and the military crisis in Sudan.
Regarding the situation in the DRC and the region, the Heads of States and Government expressed their concern over the tensions between the DRC and Rwanda, and called for restraint, de-escalation, and continued dialogue. They reiterated their commitment to the Luanda and Nairobi Processes, encouraging all parties to remain committed to these peace processes.
On the situation in Sudan, the leaders joined UN Secretary-General António Guterres to express their deep concern at the escalation of the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). They called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, a return to dialogue and a peaceful political transition. They further encouraged the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the UN to continue their efforts within the framework of their Trilateral Mechanism on Political Transition in Sudan to avoid further escalation of the violence.
The leaders also discussed and welcomed the revitalization of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework prepared by the Technical Support Committee (TSC) of the Framework. The TSC is expected to report on its progress of implementation during the 12th meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism to be held in Uganda in 2024. Speaking at the meeting, the UN Secretary-General welcomed the steps taken by the African Union Peace and Security Council to revitalize the Framework.
On Women, Peace and Security and Youth the leaders expressed their support and called for the full participation of women and youth in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, security, judicial cooperation, and political dialogues in the region, including in the Nairobi and Luanda processes.
The leaders welcomed and encouraged efforts to deepen regional socio-economic integration to promote responsible and transparent management of natural resources. They also called for the full implementation of the Kinshasa Declaration on Strengthening Judicial Cooperation in the Great Lakes region to address impunity. The UN Secretary-General noted that the natural resources of the DR Congo must be used for prosperity and development and not to bring conflict and unsustainable exploitation. He called for peace and development to go hand in hand.
DR Congo's President Félix Tshisekedi handed over the leadership of the Regional Oversight Mechanism to Burundi's President Évariste Ndayishimiye until the next high-level meeting. The leaders expressed their commitment to continuing to work together to promote peace and stability in the Great Lakes Africa region.