Now in its thirteenth year of existence, the United Nations (UN) mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has for the past three years worked at “transformation” of the world body’s presence rather than a handover.
Integrated provincial teams are key to a joint transition plan set up by the UN and DRC government in 2020. The plan, a MONUSCO statement has it, has 18 milestones and 83 indicators as well as identification of areas of intervention with respective levels of responsibility of stakeholders and deadlines for “this collective march towards an organised transition”.
This will make possible a gradual transfer of MONUSCO responsibilities to Congolese authorities. Laila Bourhil, head of the MONUSCO office is on record saying “regular and joint communication will be necessary to ensure the population is informed and have appreciation for and understanding of the transition process”.
The newest provincial team – in North Kivu – became operational in June joining others in Ituri and South Kivu.
Operationalisation of the North Kivu team took place in the eastern city of Goma home to the South African composite helicopter unit (CHU). It along with an infantry battalion and quick reaction force (QRF) attached to the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) are South Africa’s major commitments to continental peacekeeping. The Ramaphosa administration’s other continental peace intervention is in Mozambique as part of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission.
The DRC provincial teams, among others, are tasked with creating a framework for all partners to work on the transition. Included are provincial authorities, MONUSCO; UN agencies, funds and programmes as well as civil society organisations, other partners and donors.
In North Kivu the team will work on joint analyses in the transition context emphasizing the challenges at security, economic and community levels as well as identifying opportunities.
The mechanisms are a framework for consultations and for awareness and familiarisation with the transition process highlighting opportunities and implications of MONUSCO’s gradual exit the statement reads.
It further has Bourhil saying: “This is not a simple handing over process, rather a transformation of the UN presence in DRC with the objective of consolidating and perpetuating MONUSO achievements”. She referred specifically to protecting civilians, security and stabilisation.