n Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor - An intervention force for the Congo? - : Central Africa - issue in focus

Volume 2013, Issue 05
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On 28 March 2013, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved an intervention brigade for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is a unique precedent in peacekeeping and, in the words of Secretary- General, Ban Ki-moon, "a new, comprehensive approach aimed at addressing the root causes of instability in the eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region." This conflict has been dragging on since Laurent Kabila rebelled against President Mobuto Sese Seko of then Zaire in 1996. After the overthrow of Sese Seko in 1997, a second war broke out, which ended with the Lusaka Agreement of October 1994. Since then, some form of insurrection has been smouldering in one or more of the provinces of the DRC.

The road to this resolution has been long and marked by failures. There are different opinions about what the 'root causes' of the conflict may be and also what the solutions may be. Many initiatives have been tried and many have failed. For instance, the promising Stability and Reconstruction of the Congo (STAREC) was initiated in 2006 by United Nations experts and officials of the DRC Government as a plan to counter the insurgency and lawlessness in the eastern DRC. This plan was adopted by UN agencies and became DRC Government policy in 2009 and would have seen a systematic development of transport and administrative infrastructure in the war-torn provinces. However, it failed to generate continuing political support from the government and funders. Perhaps the time is now ripe for re-launching a comprehensive reconstruction plan?

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