Country: Democratic Republic of The Congo
Event: Pearl-MUN 2001
Student: Nada Al MousaLinks to other sites on the Web: Back to the 2000-2001 Team page
From its conventional name, DRC is a democratic republic. Even with President Kabila claiming that his was a transitional government leading to a new constitution and full elections by April 1999, these elections have not yet been held, and a 1998 draft constitution has not been finalized. All executive, legislative, and military powers are vested in the president. The judiciary is independent, with the president having the power to dismiss or appoint. The president is head of a 26- member cabinet dominated by the AFDL. The country is divided into ten provinces. The current president is Laurent Desire Kabila.
Thinly populated compared to its area, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to a many potential of natural resources and mineral wealth. Agriculture is the base of the economy, accounting for 57.9% of GDP in 1997. Main cash crops include coffee, palm oil, rubber, cotton, sugar, tea, and cocoa. Food crops include cassava, plantains, maize, groundnuts, and rice. In 1996, agriculture employs 66% of the work force.
As many as 250 ethnic groups have been found and named. Most people come from the Kongo, Luba, or Mongo ethnic group. The official language is French and the other spoken languages are Kikongo, Tshiluba, Swahili, and Lingala; Christianity holds 80% of the country religion (most of the people are Roman Catholics). The literacy rate is 77%. The average life expectancy at birth in DR Congo is 51 years. The country has a national health plan and compulsory social security.
Officially the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DR Congo is located in Central Africa. A 2000 population estimation shows the populace to be 51,964,999 with the country being 2,345,410 sq km. It is bounded on the north by the Central Africa n Republic and Sudan. On the east, by Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. On the west, by Angola and Zambia. On the west, by the Republic of the Congo and the South Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Kinshasa. In addition to the capital, other important provinces are Bandundu, Bas-Congo, Equateur, Katanga and Sud-Kivu.
Except in the upland regions, the climate of the country is extremely hot and humid. The average temperature is about 270 C in the low central area, with extremes higher in February, the hottest month. In areas with altitudes above about 1500 m the average temperature is about 190 C. The average rainfall is about 1520 mm in the north and 1270 mm in the south. Frequent heavy rains occur from April to November north of the equator and from October through May south of the equator. In the central I part of the country rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.
Views on World Problems
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is in the grip of a civil war that has drawn in military forces from neighboring states, with Uganda and Rwanda supporting the rebel movement which occupies much of the eastern portion of the state; most of the Congo river boundary with the Republic of the Congo is indefinite (no agreement has been reached on the division of the river or its islands, except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area).
International Agreements and Memberships: Member of many international and regional organizations, including United Nations (UN) and its specialized agencies, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Intelsat), Nonaligned Movement, Organization of African Unity (OAU), African Development Bank, Economic Community of Central African States (Communaut Economique des etats de I'Afrique Centrale--CEEAC), and Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (Communauti Economique des Pays des Grands Lacs--CEPGL).
In the early 1990s military forces consisted of an army of 25,000, a navy of 1300, and an air force of 1800. Paramilitary forces and a civil guard totaled more than 31,000. Military service is voluntary.
Located in the center of the African continent, the Democratic Republic of the Congo--with its great size, population, and rich potential--is called upon to play an important regional and international economic role.
DRC has a favorable balance of trade. Mineral products account for most of total exports. The republic is the largest producer of cobalt and industrial diamonds in the world, but copper usually is the most valuable exported mineral. Other minerals produced in significant quantities include uranium, tin, gold, silver, zinc, manganese, tungsten, and cadmium. Offshore petroleum reserves have been exploited since 1975. The second most valuable exports are agricultural products; exported manufactures are of limited value and volume. Imports consist of consumer goods, machinery (largely mining and transport equipment), construction materials, leather and textiles, fuel, chemical products, metal products, and increasing amounts of foodstuffs.
Congo's forest reserves cover more than half of the country and are considered to be the largest in Africa. The wide variety of wild game supplements the local diet and contributes to a certain extent to local commerce. The rivers, lakes, swamps, and ocean contain a huge reserve of fish. The country's hydroelectric resources have an estimated potential of 13 percent of the world's capacity and 50 percent of Africa's potential capacity. This incredible potential is derived from the many rapids along the rivers of the Congo system. Thermal energy can result from the forests and coal and petroleum deposits, as well as the uranium deposits in Katanga.
DRC's major trading partners are Belgium, the United States, Germany, France and Italy. The unit of currency is the new Zaire (10,618 new Zaires equal vs. $1; 1995)
What began as a king's private domain (the Congo Free State), evolved into a colony (the Belgian Congo), and came to be known at the time of independence in 1960 as the Republic of the Congo (later the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zaire, and again the Democratic Republic of the Congo), is the product of a complex concatenation of historical forces. Some are traceable to the precolonial past, others to the legacy of colonial rule, others still to the political convulsions that followed in the wake of independence. All, in one way or another, have left their imprint on Congolese societies.
Described by some as Africa's First World War, the conflict in the DRC (formerly known as Zaire) has involved seven nations. There are many reasons for the war, including conflicts over basic resources such as water, access and control over rich minerals and other resources and various political agendas. This has been supported by various national and international corporations and other regimes which have an interest in the outcome of the conflict.
With most conflicts in Africa, the current situation has much to do with the legacy of colonialism. From the violent 1885 Belgian imposition of colonial rule by King Leopold II who regarded it as his personal fiefdom and called it the Congo Free State (but never once went there), millions have been killed. The murders have been monstrous, with chopped limbs and more, similar to what has been seen in Sierra Leone recently. After 75 years of colonial rule, the Belgians left quickly, surrendering the political rights to the people of Congo in 1960. However, economic rights were not there for the country to grow. In fact, just a few months after Lumumba became head of state, he was overthrown with US and European support of a Cold War ally (and for the rich resources that would be available cheaply, rather than used for Congo's own people.)
When Congolese President Laurent Kabila came to power in May 1997, toppling Marshall Mobutu, with the aid of Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Burundi and Eritrea, it was hoped that a revival would be seen in the region. Instead, the situation got worse. Kabila, also backed by the US, has been accused by rebels (made up of Congolese soldiers, Congolese Tutsi Banya mulenge, Rwandan, Ugandan and some Burundian government troops) of turning into a dictator, of mismanagement, corruption and supporting various paramilitary groups who were against his former allies. As the conflict had raged on, rebels controlled about a third of the entire country (the eastern parts). Laurent Kabila had received support from Angolan, Zimbabwean and Namibian troops.
Kabila had accused some of his former allies, such as Rwanda and Uganda as having secret motives, especially in terms of resources, such as water, diamonds, and other enormous, rich resources. In fact, all sides have been accused of having commercial interests in this war due to the enormous resources involved. The DRC's rich resources provide easy ways to finance the conflict and the rebels have already been successful in setting up financial administrative bodies in their controlled areas, especially with regards to trading with Rwanda and Uganda, while Kabila had also been able to finance his side of the conflict.
Currently Angola, Zimbabwe, and Namibia support the Congolese government, while the rebels are backed by the governments of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
#1 Crime prevention and criminal justice
Crime is a major threat to our progress and prosperity. The Democratic Republic of Congo believes that criminal justice is a must. DR Congo has a high percentage of crimes, especially with a civil war. Thus we believe that this is a grave issue in the world that should be solved expeditiously. All countries have vested interests in controlling this socio-economic epidemic. Moreover, crime should turn into peace and prosperity.
#2 Improving the financial situation of the United Nations
The United Nations is the main source of help to many countries around the world. The Democratic Republic of Congo is in need of all sources of assistance, mainly the United Nations. It is important to keep the UN running smoothly. Without improving the financial situations of the UN, this international organization can not play its roll effectively. It is very obvious that major countries should pay their dues and rich countries should increase their donations and financial support.
#3 Taking effective measures to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia.
Racism is a widespread disease. It is often the result of the misinterpretation of a minority in a culture. Most problems can be solved before they escalate into disasters. The ethnic cleansing of the Kosavars would not have occurred had their not been racial hatred and tension. The democratic Republic of Congo believes that there are many ways to combat racism, and among them is education. Equality among all creeds of people is a basic value. Any discrimination or spread of hate against any race or creed of people for any reason is a violation of human rights and an insult to humanity. Therefore the Democratic Republic of Congo condemns all manifestations of xenophobia and discrimination and supports the elimination of racism and racial discrimination totally.
#4 Drug control and rehabilitation programs
Drugs are very harmful to the human body. They are spread all around the world, hypnotizing the young. Although drug abuse is not a major social problem in DRC. Our country is whole-heartedly supporting all measures to control the spread of illicit drugs, as well as combating all organization regimes and systems that trades in illicit drugs and facilitates its consumption. The dangers and threats of narcotics to the health and moral fabric of all and ever society in this world is very obvious. Nobody is immune. To succeed in this fight all countries have to unite.
QUESTION OF: Improving the Financial Situation if the United Nations
DELEGATION: Democratic Republic of the Congo
DELEGATE: Nada Al- Mousa
Welcoming everyone's effort and aid to improve the financial situation of the United Nation,
Deeply disturbed by how quickly the financial income of the United Nations is decreasing. And further, some permanent members of the SC are not paying their dues,
Noting with deep concern that this issue will effect most countries world wide if not solved,
I. Draws attention to the financial income of the UN that is decreasing
2. Strongly condemns the countries that do not pay their dues;
3. Alarmed that the US continues to support the rebels that attempt to overthrow the government of DR Congo, and yet don't pay their UN dues;
4. Supports the countries that pay their dues on time and give a considerable amount of donations;
5. Bearing in mind the UN stated that the financial problems were so bad, that for the first time ever, the UN was forced to adopt a zero growth budget;
6. Further resolves the UN's financial situation be improved by a three year plan for the re-organization of the UN;
a) Issuing bonds to countries which owe money to the UN,
b) Expanding and accelerating reforms in the management of the organization,
c) Simplification and rationalization on the structure of the organization,
d) Member states assisting the UN in their reform;
e) Supporting the efforts being taken;
7. Noting the United Nations is currently seeking more that $1 billion from the United States in back dues;
8. Further noting the United Nations typically underspends its budget $50-70 million each year, which is then returned to the member nations;
9. Expresses its hope that all delegations:
a) Pay their dues on time,
b) Donate a reasonable amount of money.
Asente Sana, distinguished chairman and delegates. The Democratic Republic of Congo extends its hands of friendship to each and every delegate present in a sincere symbol of brotherhood. DR Congo faces a problem which many third world nations face, that of a civil war.
Suffering from a civil war is not the result of an act of God. It is the result of the abuses of men. DR Congo is a very wealthy country which was not given a chance to develop itself and live in peace. . DR Congo is rich in huge deposits of minerals, in addition to agriculture and forestry. Diamonds are the most famous export for this country. Now, DR Congo is suffering from a major problem. A civil war which was made worse by the intervention of our neighboring countries. Therefore other major national problems are getting out of control, namely the epidemic of AIDS and violent crimes and the spread of lawlessness. This current crisis is not the first one in our history. Since our independence from Belgium in ~960, greedy foreign intervention in our internal affairs was the main source of trouble. We enjoyed short periods of peace and stability whenever this country was let alone to manage its own affairs.
Thank you, Kwaheli.