Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes: Challenges and opportunities for the EU in the DRC


Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes: Challenges and opportunities for the EU in the DRC

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.

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. As a result, substantial financial and human resources are currently being dedicated to the democratic transition process which is taking place in the DRC. In 2004, DRC ranked first in the list of recipients for EU Member States and EC aid, with disbursement totalling $1.1bn. This represented 62% of all overseas development assistance received by DRC this year.

It is hoped that the multi-party elections taking place in 2006, the first to be held in the country in 40 years, will lead to the legitimisation of the state and the pacification of the country. Yet, it is clear that, even, assuming the results of the elections are accepted, this alone will neither put a rapid end to chronic instability in the region nor lead to genuine democracy in the short to medium term.

This paper was produced as part of the EU-funded Conflict Prevention Partnership. 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.