“We Must Maximize Opportunities for Sustainable Solutions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”: Joint Appeal
Goma/Geneva – We must maximize existing opportunities to usher in transformative change for the Congolese people.
For over two decades, cycles of violence, epidemics and disasters have caused unspeakable pain and suffering to communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These cycles of violence have frayed the social fabric in parts of the country and created one of the world’s most severe and longest humanitarian crises.
Today, nearly 7 million people are internally displaced, the highest number on record in the country.
The DRC also has the highest number of people facing crisis levels of food insecurity, with over 25 million people, about one out of four Congolese, experiencing acute food insecurity in the country.
Despite the alarming humanitarian situation, only a fraction of those who need assistance have been reached. Since the beginning of this crisis, humanitarian organizations have worked tirelessly to support those most affected, reaching over 3 million people with assistance and protection. Yet, this year, they have only received 36 per cent of the funding needed to support 10 million people in the country. After decades of violence, humanitarian aid cannot be the only solution, and our approaches need to seize opportunities to address the root causes and find long-term solutions to the crisis in the DRC.
As we conclude our visit to the country, including discussions with Government officials, humanitarian partners and communities on the ground, we are calling for sustained support to the DRC to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance, and strengthen peacebuilding, resilience as well as integrated programming.
We need to continue supporting the implementation of innovative social cohesion initiatives alongside demobilization, disarmament, and community recovery programmes led by the Congolese authorities, and which has already enabled broken communities to rekindle lost bonds.
We must also continue to accompany the implementation of the recommendations of the successive peace processes to build long-term stability. These are crucial to ensuring the meaningful participation of all social groups in the country’s sustainable development, and to prevent the resurgence of conflict.
The displaced communities we have spoken with have shared with us of their wishes for peace, but also their desire to become more resilient in the face of cyclical adversity.
It is thus essential that we support livelihood opportunities that empower vulnerable and minority groups through community stabilization, transition and recovery initiatives to be self-sufficient. Women and girls often eat last and the least, even though they play a critical role in food systems. We believe they should be front and centre of our efforts to fight food insecurity and build lasting peace.
The recent resurgence of violence at the doors of the city of Goma is raising the spectre of the region’s destructive past.
Unless we act now, we risk leaving many behind, and the cycle of violence and displacement will continue.
We appeal to the international community to continue supporting the Congolese authorities and people on their path to peace, stability and resilience.
We must act. Now.
Deputy Director General for Operations, International Organization for Migration (IOM)
United Nations Famine Prevention and Response Coordinator
For more information :
Safa Msehli, IOM Geneva. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Priscilla Lecomte, Office of the Famine Prevention and Response Coordinator. Email: email@example.com.