The day-to-day reality for ordinary people in the Democratic Republic of Congo includes all of the following: latent insecurity, ongoing military operations, and systematic attacks by armed groups – including units of the Congolese military. The international community has been providing humanitarian assistance to the DRC for over a decade and a half, but the need remains acute. The local UN peacekeeping operation (MONUSCO) dedicates the majority of its scarce resources to the protection of civilians, and will need to maintain this critical effort for the foreseeable future. Creative protection efforts by the peacekeepers need to be reinforced and supported. Protection monitoring and coordination efforts – led by the UN Refugee Agency – also need to be repaired.
Erin Weir and Peter Orr assessed the humanitarian conditions and security situation in the DRC in March 2012 and came to the following policy conclusions:
- The U.S. and ECHO should provide funds to restore UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) protection monitoring staff in North Kivu to prior levels.
- Donor governments should call on UNHCR – in its capacity as Protection Cluster lead – to strengthen its work on IDP protection. UNHCR protection monitors should be given the task of tracking IDP movements in order to reinforce OCHA’s information gathering, strengthen overall capacity to project the scale of displacement, and respond with timely and adequate assistance.
- The U.S. should identify bilateral funding – in addition to the assessed contributions to UN peacekeeping dedicated specifically for the support of additional Community Liaison Assistants (CLAs), communications equipment, and transportation.
- Donor countries – specifically the U.S., the UK, and the EU – and their institutions must coordinate priorities and key conditions for ongoing support to the government of the DRC. Coordinated offers of funding for development projects must be predicated upon progress in the areas of corruption and impunity, as well as a concrete demonstration of will and a plan to make progress in key areas such as the reform of security sector institutions.