1. The present report is submitted pursuant to the statement of the President of the Security Council dated 10 August 2018 (S/PRST/2018/17), in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to keep it informed about the activities of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA). It provides an assessment of the major political and security trends in Central Africa since the report dated 29 May 2020 (S/2020/463), and an update on progress in the implementation of the mandate of UNOCA, as adjusted following the strategic review of UNOCA, the conclusions of which had been welcomed by the Council in the statement of its President dated 12 September 2019 (S/PRST/2019/10). The report also provides an update on the situation in the Lake Chad basin region, pursuant to Council resolution 2349 (2017).
II. Major developments in the Central Africa subregion
A. Political, peace and security developments and trends
2. Political developments in the subregion remained framed by the electoral cycles taking place in 2020 and 2021 in 8 of the 11 Central African countries and the multidimensional impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID -19) pandemic. The pandemic placed considerable constraints on electoral preparations and funding, while political tensions surfaced in several countries entering elections. Despite the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire to focus on fighting the pandemic, violent extremism and activity by armed groups in the region continued unabated.
3. The COVID-19 caseload continued to increase slowly but steadily across Central Africa, with countries seeking to balance COVID -19 mitigation measures with the need to foster economic recovery. On 30 July, the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of Ce ntral African States (ECCAS) adopted the COVID-19 regional response strategy for Central Africa.
4. The subregion advanced with the ECCAS institutional reform agenda under the chairpersonship of Gabon. A milestone was achieved with the installation of the new ECCAS regional peace and security architecture at the seventeenth ordinary session of the Conference of ECCAS Heads of State and Government, held virtually on 30 July.