Analysis of Resolution 2439 (2018) on the Democratic Republic of the Congo

By Kata Lucas

The Security Council expresses concern about the most recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), noting that this epidemic is occurring in the context of a much broader humanitarian and security situation. [1]S/RES/2439 (2018), PP. 1 The resolution reiterates its concern regarding the overall security and humanitarian situation in the DRC, and states that it is exacerbated by destabilizing activities of foreign and domestic armed groups, noting that the security situation in the areas affected by the Ebola outbreak is severely hampering the response efforts and facilitating the spread of the virus in the DRC and the wider region. The Council also calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities by all armed groups, including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). [2] S/RES/2439 (2018), OP. 4

Issues of women, peace and security (WPS) are referenced in two operative paragraphs of the resolution. The Council calls for improved community engagement through work with women’s groups, including in the context of humanitarian assistance. This reference is in the context of a call that emphasizes the need for the Government of the DRC, and all relevant actors to provide assistance in response to the Ebola outbreak, including through enhanced efforts to communicate to the public, and to implement the established safety and health protocols and preventive measures to mitigate against misinformation about the outbreak. [3]S/RES/2439 (2018), OP 8  On a similar note, the Council “stresses the importance of the full, active and meaningful engagement of women in the development of such responses”. [4]S/RES/2439 (2018), OP. 9

Such calls for women and women’s groups participation positively resonate with resolution 2242 (2015) and the Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 (2015), which stressed the importance of women’s meaningful participation in design, implementation and provision of humanitarian assistance and support. [5]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 16, Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 The Council also acknowledges that women and men are affected by Ebola differently, nothing that a gender-sensitive response to address specific needs is required, the acknowledgment of such gender-sensitive needs is reflective of resolutions 2122 (2015) and 1325 (2000), and of the Global Study (2015). [6]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 5, OP. 16, S/RES/1325 (2000), Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325

Missed Opportunities

The Council misses an opportunity to integrate a gender lens in the operative references on protection of civilians and in regards to psychological and social support for Ebola survivors. [7]S/RES/2439 (2018), OP. 3, OP. 10 First, pursuant to resolution 1888 (2009), the Council should explicitly acknowledge the gender dimensions of civilian protection, and explicitly call on the government, the mission, and all relevant actors to protect against crimes of sexual and gender-based violence. [8]S/RES/1888 (2009), OP. 3 Second, the Council underscores that Ebola survivors need psychological and social support in an effort to “face and overcome possible stigmatization”. [9]S/RES/2439 (2018), OP. 10 In this regard, the Council should explicitly call for gender-sensitive support that responds to the needs of survivors, so to enable a foundation for survivors’ empowerment. The provision of such psychological and social support services resonates with the provisions of resolution 2242 (2015), which recognizes the importance of integrating gender considerations across humanitarian programming by seeking to ensure a full range of medical, legal, psychosocial, and livelihood services. [10]SCR 2242 (2015), OP 16