Burundi + 3 more

UNDP/Donor mission to Great Lakes Region / Democratic Republic of Congo

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(From October/November Transitions Newsletter.)
In order to more deeply analyze and address the nature of the problems relating to Disarmament, Demobilization and Durable Solutions (D3), UNDP/ERD led a mapping and programming mission to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 6 August to 13 September. The main objectives of the mission were to:

  • Review the situation in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region as it relates to D3, small arms reduction and support to local reconciliation efforts.
  • Identify and catalogue existing approaches and strategies at both regional and local levels.
  • Categorize the groups to undergo D3 and the structures entrusted to transform them.
  • In close consultation with the respective Resident Coordinators, identify additional capacity needed to strengthen existing institutional structures and programs, with a focus on UNDP in support of D3 and related transitional activities.

Key contextual findings included a number of favorable currents such as the expression of general fatigue among governments and the population towards the perpetuation of the conflict; a change in the Rwandan government attitude towards ALiR rebels; changes in the attitude of the new Kinshasa government in a number of areas; the emergence of a new dynamic in eastern DRC; and the gradual disengagement of forces. Among the counter currents were noted a possible new offensive underway in South Kivu; access problems to the Kamina site and questions over the nature of the cantoned combatants; lack of clarity regarding the nature of a new political group claiming to represent the ALiR; the presence of many pockets of localized violence; and elements in the Burundi conflict that continue to have a destabilizing effect on the situation in south Kivu.

The team identified a number of priorities for strengthened UNDP support toward D3. At a regional level, increased focus on the integration of small arms reduction initiatives and the forging of stronger links between country offices is necessary. In Rwanda, the government demobilization programme, especially targeting the ALiR, deserves more support, e.g., through the revival of contributions to the UNDP Demobilzation Trust Fund. Increased support to coordination and an enhanced cross-border information campaign already launched by the government are also recommended. In DRC, it is proposed that UNDP focus on the preparation of regional recovery frameworks and support to coordinated approaches and mechanisms. Immediate actions include the secondment of a UNDP Senior Recovery Advisor to MONUC's D3 planning unit in Kinshasa/Kindu to participate in policy dialogue and formulation of D3 recovery strategies and ensure interface with World Bank structures. UNDP should also build on and expand the UNDP project based in Goma. In Uganda, UNDP may wish to consider providing some support to the government demobilization program, for instance by boosting the information campaign to ensure as complete a return as possible and by maximizing the sustainability of the reintegration activities. In Burundi, although too early for UNDP and others to become engaged in demobilization activities per se, a number of activities can nonetheless be undertaken in support of the creation of an environment more conducive to the achievement of a tangible peace settlement.

Contact Charles Petrie, charles.petrie@undp.org or Marie Dimond, marie.dimond@undp.org for more information.

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