This report summarizes the findings of a research team from the Stimson Center and the Better World Campaign, which traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in April-May 2016 to review the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). The peacekeeping mission has made progress in areas such as countering select armed groups and monitoring human rights violations, and continues to play an important role in protecting civilians. However, it also faces significant challenges: political volatility as the electoral process unfolds; ongoing rebel violence in the east of the country; expanded responsibilities without resources to match; inadequate political will from the DRC government to improve security and governance in the country; and fatigue from the international community, which has supported a U.N. peacekeeping presence in the DRC for over 16 years and has not seen the results that it hoped for.
The report focuses on MONUSCO’s ability to implement several elements of its newest mandate, as outlined in United Nations (U.N.) Security Council Resolution 2277. The report begins by offering some key recommendations from the research team’s trip, and then examines in more depth issues related to the integration of civilian and military activities within a political strategy; host state strategic consent; coordinated operations between UN peacekeepers and Congolese forces; peacekeeping force transformation; elections and the electoral timetable; and the MONUSCO exit strategy.