Kinshasa, 7 April 2011 - The Civil Affairs Section of the United Nations Stabilization Mission for the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) supported a landmark meeting about civil society engagement in Kinshasa on 30 and 31 March. The meeting attracted more than a hundred Civil Society Organizations to discuss socio-economic priorities for the 24 municipalities that make up Kinshasa, the Congolese capital.
Since July 2007, the Civil Affairs Section and other partners, in cooperation with the National Ministry of Planning, have bolstered the efforts of Civil Society Organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A Civil Society National Symposium was held in Kinshasa from 25 to 27 May 2009, which included six provincial delegates from each province.
According to Apôtre Paul Lukusa, a member of the organizing committee, “this was an opportunity to consolidate the experiences of the National Symposium Group and create a dialogue about how to effect change on the ground in Kinshasa.” Twenty provincial thematic groups were adopted at the meeting reflecting those previously established by the Symposium Committee of the National Civil Society Organizations, which mirror the socio-economic priorities set by the national government and donors groups. “Of the 20 thematic groups adopted, participants prioritized education, transportation and the environment as central to the development of Kinshasa as a province,” Mr. Lukusa added.
For many Civil Society Organizations in Kinshasa, this was the first opportunity to learn about how advocating for Aid Effectiveness can influence local and provincial budgetary decisions in Kinshasa. According to Hortense Shidi, who was involved in the Civil Society Engagement for the Civil Affairs Section, “they learned about how to engage collectively on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) 2 and the Paris Declaration, which is a key priority for Civil Society Organizations in the coming months.”
The planning adviser to the Provincial Ministry of Planning, Mr. J.P. Disu, announced the roll-out of Local Development Committees in every municipality across Kinshasa. These Committees comprise municipality authorities, the private sector and Civil Society Organizations. He said that he now has a clear counterpart within Civil Society to ensure that participatory budgeting translates into improved access to public services. The Civil Affairs Section and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have already supported a similar process in Nord Kivu province and it will take place in other provinces over the next couple of months.
Marjorie Henderson/ MONUSCO