Democratic Republic of Congo - Humanitarian Action Plan 2007

30 November 2006

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reached an historic milestone in 2006.  For the first time in over 40 years, the people of the DRC cast their ballots and chose a president through democratic elections widely acclaimed as free and fair.  A new government will soon be in place and it will face enormous challenges, not the least among them meeting the high expectations of the Congolese people who have suffered through years of war, poverty and neglect. For now, there is hope, as well as a commitment of the Congolese people to improving their lives.  

One can observe the positive signs across the country.  Most notably, the surrender of a few key rebel leaders and their followers, and marked improvements in the security situation in a number of return areas, have encouraged many Congolese displaced populations and refugees to go home.  At the same time, certain parts of the DRC continue to remain volatile. Fighting between militia groups and the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) in the eastern provinces has created displacement – over 500,000 people to abandon their homes in 2006 – and been accompanied by widespread human rights violations including torture, forced labour, rape and summary executions.  Women and children tend to suffer most.  Despite the marked progress towards recovery, humanitarian needs remain high.

The year 2006 has been an important one for humanitarian actors. The DRC is a pilot country for a number of new coordination and funding tools, including the cluster approach, the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) initiative, the Pooled Fund and the expanded Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The DRC 2006 Action Plan was the first of its kind.  It brought together the broadest possible group of humanitarian actors, both United Nations (UN) and non governmental organisations (NGOs) alike, within one common humanitarian strategy and regional action plans. Although the plan was instrumental in helping to secure additional funds for humanitarian assistance in 2006, and we applaud the extra efforts of a number of donors to increase their support in line with GHD principles, funding levels continue to fall short of overall requirements.

The Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP) for 2007 is the result of a collaborative effort involving UN agencies, international and national NGOs, Congolese Government officials and donors.  The plan is indeed ambitious, and it should be.  Humanitarian actors have estimated their funding requirements for 2007 at USD 687 million. Their budgets are based on regional action plans developed by technical experts in the field to target priority humanitarian zones and the vulnerable populations that inhabit them.  These regional action plans will support the achievement of agreed objectives and indicators by sector.  We must continue to further refine the plans and ensure proper linkages and complementarity between the HAP 2007 and reconstruction and development programs. Only if displaced populations are able to go home and stay home, because they have access to basic services and are able to support themselves, will we begin to break the cycle of crisis in the DRC. 

It is important to emphasize that the HAP 2007 is a living document.  While it serves to help secure funding for humanitarian action in the DRC, it is intended first and foremost as an implementation and monitoring tool for humanitarian actors in the DRC.  It should adapt and evolve in tandem with the humanitarian situation. We welcome the willingness of donors to participate in this evolution and help ensure a common strategy for early recovery.  At their suggestion, we intend to establish a technical dialogue along these lines, involving humanitarian, development and government actors.

In order for the HAP 2007 to be gauged a success, humanitarian organizations and donors will need to match the Congolese commitment to improvement and ensure a more predictable, efficient and effective response to humanitarian needs across the country.  It certainly will not be easy, and within the humanitarian community we will face our own challenges, but like the new government, we can not afford to let the Congolese people down.

Ross Mountain

Humanitarian Coordinator
Democratic Republic of the Congo


 

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30 November 2006

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