Fifth committee of the UN General Assembly visits Kaga-Bandoro
On 7 February 2023, a strong delegation of 18 members from the Fifth Committee of the UN General Assembly responsible for administrative and budgetary issues visited Kaga-Bandoro, as part of their mission to the Central African Republic (CAR). Kaga-Bandoro is a market town and capital of the Nana-Grebizi prefecture of the CAR. The objective of this visit was to give the delegation the opportunity to see the work of MINUSCA at the Field level, and to witness first-hand some of its achievements, and to have a better understanding of the realities and challenges facing the peacekeeping mission and the Government on the ground, by interacting with local authorities, civil society leaders, as well as MINUSCA staff members from all components.
Upon arrival, the delegation received a briefing by the Head of Office, Alessandra Trabattoni, as well as Force and Police Sector commanders, on the overall situation, with a focus on the latest developments, the security situation, and MINUSCA’s achievements. Following this briefing, the visiting delegation was transferred to the administrative center, where the members of the delegation met, first, with Nana-Gribizi Prefect, Abdoulaye Mahamat, at his office, and then with key stakeholders, including members of the prefectural committee in charge of the implementation of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation, the Local Peace and Reconciliation Committee, Civil Society leaders, religious leaders, as well as Women and Youth leaders.
During their meeting with the local authorities and community leaders, the delegation members were informed about the critical role MINUSCA has played in the restauration of state authority, peace, and stability in this area. The Prefect acknowledged the contribution made by the Peacekeeping mission in his Prefecture and beyond. He stressed the need for more resources to enable the Mission to continue the work it has been doing, and to support the local authorities and the CAR Government in the restauration of lasting peace to create an atmosphere conducive to stability and development.
One of the visiting delegation members from the Swiss Mission to the UN asked a question regarding the situation of women in general and the challenges facing them. The Prefect highlighted the fact that women are those affected the most by the crisis. He pointed out that some of the major issues the women are facing in his Prefecture include Gender based violence, and the lack of economic resources to support their families. “Many of them have lost their husbands during the war, others have been separated from their husbands who fled the country to seek refuge abroad or in other regions of the country. Those women cannot even return to their places or origin, as there is no home to return to. In addition to that, they are living in poverty, without financial means to provide for their families. They need support and help”, explained Prefect Abdoulaye Mahamat.
Speaking on behalf of the women, and civil society organizations, Olga SEMANDELE, who is the chairperson of the Association of Civil Society Organizations in Nana-Gribizi Prefecture, expressed her satisfaction with MINUSCA’s achievements in Nana-Gribizi. “We are extremely grateful to MINUSCA and the UN in general for their support. We have been working together hand in hand, in good collaboration, from the most difficult times of the crisis up to date, to ensure the return to peace and stability. From Community violence reduction (CVR) projects to Quick impact projects (QIPs), and other activities including sensitizations to promote peace, reconciliation, and social cohesion, with the different substantive sections, we have done a lot together. We do not know what our situation would be if we did not have MINUSCA here”, she said.
The Fifth committee members also had a tour of the town to visit some of the achievements in terms of infrastructures built or rehabilitated with QIPs or other projects implemented as part of CVR activities. It must be noted that all major infrastructures built or rehabilitated in Kaga-Bandoro, including the Prefecture, Sub-Prefecture, City Hall, Tribunal, Prison, etc. are the fruits of MINUSCA efforts. The guided tour was led by the Civil Affairs and DDR Sections chiefs, who presented each infrastructure and explained their critical importance for the local authorities and population.
All these achievements have been possible thanks to the excellent partnership between MINUSCA and the local authorities and population who have been extremely supportive.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Basiel Bogaerts, First Secretary of the Belgium Permanent Mission to the United Nations stated that this mission conducted by his delegation has been extremely useful for them to understand the realities on the ground, which will enable them to make informed decisions regarding the budget allocations to the Peacekeeping mission, while considering the needs of the beneficiaries, who are the Central African people. “The impressions are very favorable. We see that MINUSCA is doing a wonderful job here with the resources allocated by the General Assembly. We have met with the Prefect, who seems to manage his Prefecture with great skills. It was very interesting to see both the military aspect and civilian aspect of MINUSCA’s work on the ground, with the various QIPs and other projects which were carried out in favor of the local population. We are very pleased to see the fruits of the work done by the United Nations here in the field”, concluded Basiel Bogaerts during his interview with Radio Guira FM at the end of the visit.