The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in November 2020. In 2019, the mission’s mandate and strategic engagement in the Central African Republic (CAR) shifted to supporting the implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation signed earlier that year.1 Nearly one year later, the presidential, legislative, and local elections are seen as another pivotal moment in the country’s political process and offer the mission another opportunity to refine its support to the country.
In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted an online roundtable on October 8, 2020. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN stakeholders, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in CAR. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions with respect to the strategic orientation, prioritization, and sequencing of the mission’s mandate and actions on the ground.
Participants largely agreed that MINUSCA’s current mandate remains relevant and encompasses the areas necessary to facilitate the mission’s effective engagement on political, security, and peacebuilding issues. They also highlighted that the mission is well positioned not only to prioritize its activities in response to changing dynamics in the country but also to deliver its support in an integrated manner. In particular, the mission has begun prioritizing integrated UN support for the elections with the goal of bolstering the integrity of the electoral process.
Recognizing the fluidity of the country’s political situation prior to the inauguration of the new elected government and the conclusion of local elections in 2021, participants cautioned against major changes to MINUSCA’s mandate. Instead, they encouraged the mission to continue balancing between supporting the electoral process and encouraging full implementation of the peace agreement, on the one hand, and responding to humanitarian needs and protecting civilians, on the other.
Participants called for the UN to continue advocating for more financial assistance for CAR to support governance, humanitarian, and development priorities. They also highlighted the value of more effective regional coordination between CAR and its Central African neighbors, as well as partnerships between the mission and other international actors.