United Nations Deputy-Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro has wrapped up her visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where she met with top leaders and conveyed a message about the world body's support for the country as it moves to consolidate peace.
Ms. Migiro is now in Brazzaville, capital of the neighbouring Republic of Congo, to attend a meeting of UN Development Programme (UNDP) country directors for Africa.
During her stay in the DRC, the Deputy-Secretary-General met with President Joseph Kabila and various political leaders, including members of the opposition.
"Her message to all her interlocutors was that the United Nations is prepared to continue working with the Congolese authorities and Congolese people to promote reconciliation and reconstruction," UN spokesperson Michele Montas told journalists in New York.
In another development, the head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today called for greater protection of endangered animals in the DRC.
Koïchiro Matsuura, in a letter to President Kabila and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Affairs Jean-Marie Guéhenno, requested that the mandate of the UN mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, be expanded to include the protection of the country's five World Heritage Sites and several other areas.
These sites "are of exceptional importance to the preservation of biodiversity as they are home to some of the world's rarest and most remarkable species, including the bonobo, the closest living relative of the human species, mountain gorillas and okapi, a rare forest giraffe," the agency said.
The presence of armed groups on these sites has made rangers unable to stop the reported killing of hundreds of animals in recent months, according to UNESCO.
With MONUC's support, the DRC held landmark presidential and parliamentary elections, the first such polls in more than four decades, as it recovers from years of brutal civil war and misrule.