1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Following the appointment of a transitional national government in July 2003, an event which formally ended over six years of civil war, the Democratic Republic of Congo now stands at the crossroads. The sustained financial, political and military commitment of the international community, articulated through the CIAT, MONUC and successive UN Security Council Resolutions, has brought this war-weary continent-country to a point whereby most of it is controlled by the government and elections are scheduled for mid-2005.
However the situation remains very much in the balance. The "unfinished business" of eastern Congo, in particular the unresolved grievances of Rwanda, kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese and their opponents in the Kivus, continue to cast a menacing shadow over the future of DRC. The stakes could not be higher, a fact recognised by the substantial development funds being offered by bilateral and multilateral donors in a bid to tip the balance towards stability. The 9th EDF midterm review in June thus resulted in a proposal for an unprecedented increase of the envelope, from EUR 205 to 475 million (to which can be added an envelope of EUR 105 million to support the electoral process).
Meanwhile, DRC, for the third year running, holds first place in ECHO's worldwide vulnerability ratings (GINA methodology). Its public health indicators are among the worst in the world (annex 1). Some 2.5 million people are living in a state of flux, either displaced, refugees or, for the more fortunate in the process of returning home. They, together with the millions that remained precariously in their areas of origin despite the war, continue to require the most basic of necessities of: nourishment; health care and the essential wherewithal to rebuild their shattered lives. The challenge confronting a humanitarian donor is therefore to continue to save lives in the emergency conditions that continue to prevail in many parts of the country, while preparing a smooth handover to development instruments and partners wherever possible.
Geographically, ECHO will focus almost exclusively on the red and amber zones in 2005 (annex 2). The lion's share of resources (at least 58%) will go to the red zone, still affected by, or just emerging from, conflict, comprising Ituri and the Greater Kivu region (North and South Kivu, Maniema). A smaller envelope (29% of funds allocated) will go to the amber zone, areas formerly affected by conflict but stabilising since 2002, consisting mainly of the former Lusaka front-line (part of Equateur, the Kasais and Katanga). Assuming current trends are maintained, ECHO intends to withdraw from the amber zone at the end of 2005, handing over to development partners in January 2006. In line with the strategy developed and progressively refined over the last few years, the following main sector objectives are proposed for 2005:
Health (55% of earmarked resources) : an estimated 6.75 million direct beneficiaries in 83 targeted health districts in the red and amber zones will be guaranteed equitable access to a minimum package of basic healthcare agreed and delivered by the Congolese health system, with special emphasis on women and children.
Resettlement (40% of earmarked resources): displaced, returnee and host families will receive an integrated package of community-based assistance designed to respond to immediate needs while paving the way for rapid resettlement and thus contributing to the stabilization of conflict-affected (mainly red zone) areas. An estimated 1.72 million people will benefit directly from these activities.
The envelope proposed for the ECHO DRC Global Plan for 2005 is EUR 38 million.