Press Releases

    18 December 2002



    NEW YORK, 17 December (UN Headquarters) -- Next month, Angola would move from being a recurring item on the Security Council’s agenda to taking a place at the Council table, Ibrahim Gambari, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in Angola (UNMA), told members of that body this afternoon.

    Recalling UNMA's priority concerns as he briefed the Council on key developments in Angola, Mr. Gambari said that in the Mission's four months of operation, it had successfully initiated activity in nearly all of the areas mandated to it. Its main areas of focus were the raising of domestic and global awareness of the humanitarian situation and the plight of more than 4 million internally displaced people, refugees, ex-combatants and their dependents, as well as organizing an international donors' conference for reconstruction.

    He cited as examples the conclusion of the work of the Joint Commission, and activities initiated by the Government of Angola to promote human rights. Indeed, with the Government’s concurrence, UNMA’s Human Rights Division was expanding its field presence in the provinces. Its disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) component was also in place, and had provided recommendations to the Joint Commission on the social reinsertion of ex-combatants.

    Mr. Gambari said that, in close consultations with the Angolan Government, he envisaged a continuing role for the technical sub-group even after the dissolution of the Joint Commission. The UNMA was coordinating, through the relevant United Nations agencies, aspects of humanitarian assistance, including resource mobilization and the provision of essential life-saving assistance, such as food and medicines.

    He explained that the Joint Commission had concluded its substantive work on 20 November. With several key tasks remaining under the Lusaka Protocol, such as the provision of information by the Government and the National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA) on the location of landmines and the disarming of civilians, both the Government and UNITA had agreed to address the medium- and long-term tasks through a bilateral mechanism, which would be established in accordance with the Final Declaration of the Joint Commission.

    Continuing, he said UNMA had initiated policy-level initiatives, which had provided an integrated strategy for the United Nations activities in Angola, thereby promoting timely feedbacks from the political level to the policy and programme implementation levels. He had also intervened with the Angolan authorities at the highest levels on behalf of some agencies, which had encountered specific problems in their operations.

    The humanitarian/resident coordinator in Angola had been made a member of the United Nations delegation to the Joint Commission and had made valuable contributions to its work, especially in the discussions on the humanitarian situation, he went on. Some notable progress had included the delivery since June of food, health care, water and sanitation to more than 1 million people. Meeting the acute emergency needs required financial, material and logistical assistance from the humanitarian community.

    He noted that the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for 2003 had been launched on 26 November. That emergency appeal, requiring $384 million to assist the Angolan Government, was probably the last appeal for Angola. A tentative date for a donor conference had been set in the first quarter of 2003 and would take place in Brussels. The conference should be properly prepared and the prerequisites for a successful outcome should be met. That would include an effort on the part of the Government to allay any concerns the donor community might have on the allocation and spending of national revenues.

    Despite enormous progress in the peace process, however, much remained to be done by the people of Angola and the international community to further consolidate peace and enhance national reconciliation, reconstruction and development, he said. Support was needed to aid the Government in implementing the demobilization, social reinsertion and resettlement plans. Technical assistance should also be provided for the forthcoming 2004 national elections, and efforts to help address the humanitarian situation and build human rights capacity and awareness must be intensified.

    Following Mr. Gambari's briefing, it was announced that Council members would move into informal consultation to continue their consideration of the situation in Angola.

    The meeting began at 3:46 p.m. and adjourned at 4:06 p.m.


    When the Council met to consider the situation in Angola this afternoon, it had before it an interim report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Angola (UNMA) (document S/2002/1353). It summarizes key developments in the country since his last report of 26 July, describing the Mission's activities in the political, military, human rights, child protection, humanitarian and development fields, and identifying continuing challenges to the consolidation of peace.

    The Secretary-General finds that many of the challenges facing Angola are a consequence of the devastation and destruction resulting from the protracted civil war, which lasted for almost three decades. At the political level, a durable resolution of the conflict is linked to democratic legitimization and representation, which, in turn, will facilitate national reconciliation. In the economic and social fields, a durable solution requires efficient delivery of State services, the creation of economic opportunities for many marginalized citizens and the effective extension of government and public administration.

    With the initiation of the Government's resettlement programme, the provision of these services is particularly critical.

    Neither the Memorandum of Commitment nor the Memorandum of Understanding addressed all of the remaining tasks under the Lusaka Protocol, including the provision by the Government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) of all available information relating to the location of mines and other explosives to the United Nations, the report finds. Further, the disarmament of the civilian population remains central to the overall enhancement and consolidation of peace and security. Also, full support for the promotion and protection of human rights, especially for children, is required throughout the country. There is now an opportunity, within the national reconciliation process, to address the key issues of development and enhancement of a culture of widened democracy, inclusiveness, accountability and transparency.

    The report states that, in accordance with their mandate, both components of the Mission will continue to support the comprehensive implementation of demobilization, reinsertion and resettlement programmes for ex-combatants, internally displaced people and refugees. The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration component will also continue to facilitate the coordination of the humanitarian agencies, non-governmental organizations and the Government, as well as the World Bank and other donors to this process.

    There at last are real prospects for lasting peace in Angola, the Secretary-General observes. Over the last several months, the country has witnessed several major developments that will contribute to national reconciliation. Both the Angolan Government and UNITA have demonstrated the will and determination to end the suffering of the Angolan people and to work together towards restoring the security and stability necessary for sustainable development. UNITA's strategic decision to abandon the military path and transform into a unified political party has played an important role in that regard and should be commended. The Government, the United Nations system and the international community should also be commended for efforts to overcome Angola's difficult past.

    Nevertheless, he continues, the challenges facing Angolans are still considerable. It is imperative, therefore, that the United Nations and the international community continue to support the Angolan people in further consolidating peace, reconstructing the country and in meeting the needs outlined recently in the consolidated inter-agency appeals process. This, in turn, must be accompanied by a strong will on the part of the Government to establish transparent and accountable governmental institutions across the board, as well as to allay any concerns its people and the donor community may have on the allocation and spending of national revenues.

    Politically, the major challenges remain in the humanitarian and developmental sectors, the report states. The Mission has effectively functioned in an integrated and coordinated manner, and with the completion of the work of the Joint Commission, the Secretary-General has requested his Special Representative to return to New York, although he will be visiting Angola regularly until the expiration of the Mission's mandate. Based on further progress in the next two months, and following consultations with the Government, the Secretary-General intends to provide recommendations on the future role of the United Nations in Angola in his next report to the Council.

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