Prioritizing and Sequencing Peacekeeping Mandates in 2021: The Case of MINUSCA

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 2021. MINUSCA now confronts a more challenging environment compared with the period leading up to last year’s mandate renewal, particularly in the aftermath of the January 2021 armed rebellion that swept toward the capital, Bangui, following presidential elections in December 2020.

In this context, the International Peace Institute (IPI), the Stimson Center, and Security Council Report co-hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on October 20, 2021. This roundtable offered a platform for member states, UN stakeholders, civil society representatives, and independent experts to share their assessments of the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) in a frank and collaborative environment. The discussion was intended to help the Security Council make more informed decisions with respect to the prioritization and sequencing of MINUSCA’s mandate and the mission’s strategic orientation and actions on the ground.

Participants largely agreed that MINUSCA’s strategic priorities are still relevant to the context in CAR and that the current mandate offers the mission valuable flexibility, despite some concerns that it may be too long. They stressed that MINUSCA will need to continue to “prioritize its priorities” over the coming months as various political and security issues emerge. The mission will likely need to balance the following:

  • Helping rebuild momentum for the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation;
  • Facilitating inclusive processes for political dialogue and the extension of state authority;
  • Supporting nascent cease-fire monitoring arrangements;
  • Refining support to national security institutions;
  • Strengthening its protection capabilities across the country; and
  • Providing technical and logistical support to local elections scheduled for September 2022.

Participants emphasized that these points should all feature prominently in the upcoming mandate and should be reinforced with unified political support from the Security Council. Participants also stressed the value of closer cooperation between the mission and humanitarian partners to help mitigate the conditions facing internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. They highlighted the value of more effective regional coordination between CAR and neighboring countries as well as strengthened coordination between the mission and other international organizations working in the country.