Across the Great Lakes region, efforts are underway to lay the foundations for peaceful, stable and ultimately prosperous development. The challenges are enormous. Economies are in tatters, human suffering remains widespread, and poor or weak governance continues to undermine the process of development. In this regional context, and even right across central and southern Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is pivotal.
Produced as part of the EU-funded Conflict Prevention Partnership, this paper analyses the context in which the European Union uses its external relations instruments to address security issues, promote legitimate and effective governance, and support economic recovery and regional integration, in the DRC. Consultations in the region and in the EU, as well as meetings held in Kinshasa in September 2006 with local officials, civil society and international diplomats have been used to develop recommendations and suggest possible avenues under each theme.
This publication makes the case that the local business community in conflict-affected countries can and should play a role in building peace. Linking up with other peacebuilding actors, and taking advantage of their own resources and skills, business communities should address socio-economic, security, political and reconciliation dimensions of peacebuilding. Section 1 is divided into 5 thematic chapters, and Section 2 contains 19 country case studies. Executive Summaries are also available in Spanish and French.
The most visible current threat to peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in the east, reflecting the prevailing pattern of the last 40 years. The stand-off between the Congolese government and forces led by Laurent Nkunda threatens the stability of DRC and the region. The crisis is not, however, limited to North Kivu and is not about an individual dissident ‘warlord’.
This report focuses on economic recovery as a central pillar of peacebuilding in eastern DRC and, in particular, the role of the European Commission in supporting such processes. It argues that the drivers of fragility and instability must be addressed if meaningful long term economic recovery is to be realised. The report is based on field work carried out in South Kivu and Ituri, and draws on research by Alert’s partner in Bukavu, CEGEC. It explores how peacebuilding can be put at the heart of efforts to create shared economic opportunities in the east, notwithstanding the immense challenges faced by donors in such conflict-affected environments.
Over the past 10 years, a number of countries in the Great Lakes Region have undergone a process of political transition following a period of conflict. In countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), there has been a significant improvement in women’s participation in decision-making following the period of conflict. However, a number of challenges exist that need to be addressed.
This is the report of a consultation workshop jointly organised by International Alert and the Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) in partnership with the Women and Gender Studies Department at Makerere University. The workshop is part of a regional research project aimed at assessing the impact of women’s political participation in countries emerging from conflict in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. The workshop was attended by members of civil society, parliamentarians, provincial governors, and International Alert and EASSI partners from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC. The discussions focused amongst others, on issues such as the nature of women’s participation, factors facilitating women’s participation in political transition processes and hindrances and constraints to women’s participation.
This comprehensive survey of UNSCR 1325 related activities carried out by women, civil society, national governments and international actors has allowed the identification of achievements, good practice and challenges facing the women, peace and security agenda in Afghanistan, the DRC, Nepal, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka. On the basis of our research, it is possible to identify seven key findings and recommendations for national and international policy makers and practitioners.
The Global Monitoring Checklist is a pilot research project designed to contribute towards international understanding on women, peace and security efforts. It highlights relevant activities at the local and national level by women, civil society, national governments and the international community. It is not a comprehensive survey of all initiatives relating to women, peace and security; rather, it is a first step in gathering and collating information that links directly to UNSCR 1325 implementation. International Alert is an active member Gender Action for Peace and Security UK (GAPS) and also hosts the working group at the London offices. GAPS is a research and advocacy group working to bridge the gap between the realities of women (activists and non-activists) at the local level in conflict and post-conflict regions with UK decision makers and practitioners working on peace and security.
Small-scale trade in agricultural goods (cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruit, cooking oil, etc.) between the province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda’s West Province is very significant. ‘Small-scale cross-border trade’ is defined as commercial activity generating daily transactional revenues of less than US$100 by trader.
The small-scale cross-border trade in agricultural products between DRC and Rwanda constitutes a survival economy sustaining thousands of people on both sides of the border. This report analyses this trade between the towns of Goma (DR Congo) and Gisenyi (Rwanda) and the relationship between Congolese and Rwandese women traders, in order to understand the impact that improving this trade would have on good neighborly relations, peace and security. The report is based on extensive field research and the findings are used for dialogue between Congolese and Rwandan women traders, aiming to strengthen trust through addressing issues of common interest. The report makes recommendations to the traders, to Congolese and Rwandese authorities as well as to regional institutions on establishing cross-border markets, signing small-scale trade cooperation agreements and establishing a network of Congolese and Rwandese traders.
1. Gold and various metals of the tin group (cassiterite, coltan, niobium and tungsten) have been mined in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since the beginning of the 20th century. The mining sector was heavily affected by the disintegration of the Congolese state, by widespread corruption and by the destruction of local infrastructure. The national mining companies in the eastern DRC (OKIMO, SOMINKI) collapsed during the 1990s, leaving the way open for informal artisanal mining, in which thousands of miners were employed.
For more than a decade, research has stressed the importance of the economic dimension of conflict, and of the economic interests of belligerents. Competition among political, military and business actors for the control of mineral resources in the east of the country is being increasingly recognised as a pivotal factor in assessing the causes of instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This report is based on a thorough review of all the main literature on the subject since the year 2000. It describes and assesses the different categories of actors and the processes, chains and linkages that are involved in mining and trading of minerals in the Kivu provinces and in the territory of Ituri. It also reveals some of the main gaps in the information on the issue that is needed to develop and refine more effective peace-building strategies by national and international interveners.
Left unmanaged, the return of the Congolese refugees risks destabilising large parts of North Kivu, re-opening ethnic tensions and unravelling the fragile peace process. The question of refugee return is both sensitive and important, and the mandated authorities – the governments of DRC and Rwanda, plus UNHCR must assume their responsibilities. A number of measures can be taken to manage the process, and reduce the risk of conflict.
Inter-community violence and successive wars and rebellions have caused large-scale displacement of populations in the Great Lakes region of Africa. And when refugees and internally displaced people return, that can be the pretext for further outbreaks of violence. The displacement of people and also their return can often be exploited by political interests, and even if the people themselves are not being manipulated, rumours and false information can be orchestrated to heighten fears and tensions between communities. All these things are happening to some degree in the east of DRC, particularly at present in North Kivu. This short report is issued by International Alert to warn of the dangers and advocate action that should be taken.