Conflict and Fragility

Reports and papers

Going around in circles: Peacekeeping and stabilization in Congo

03 Aug 2015 - 16:08
Source: MONUSCO Conducts Joint Operation with Congolese Forces in Beni / Flickr / CC / un_photo

With the aim of explaining the cyclical recurrence of crisis and conflict in the DRC, this report identifies and explores two main causes. First, the government of Congo’s engagement with the eastern provinces is used to maintain and extend a state that is kept purposefully weak so as to better manipulate it on behalf of private interests.

Second, the international community, MONUSCO first and foremost, has been unable to counter these dynamics due to a series of acute constraints and a limited set of technical formats for interventions. These formats, particularly those involved in ‘restoring state authority’, have become so ingrained that more innovative ways of undertaking peacekeeping and stabilization have been neglected.

Illustrative in this regard is the International Security and Stabilization Support Strategy (I4S). The I4S experience shows that technical interventions for peace consolidation, popular as they are with the government and MONUSCO, do not ‘stabilize’ the eastern DRC. It also points at the limitations posed by a the central government that is not interested in political peacebuilding or social transformation. Finally, it suggests that MONUSCO is not capable of engaging with stabilization and peace consolidation in a manner that is not in line with its limited strategy.

This report concludes with a mix of good and bad news. On one side, there is little evidence for optimism about the future. The international community has proven itself unwilling to engage more strongly with Kinshasa, or to think of a more original approach for peacebuilding in eastern DRC. On the other hand, the report shows that the Congolese experience with stabilization and peacekeeping has provided critical lessons for future international engagements.

The full report can be found online on our webpub

Hugo de Vries was also interviewed by the blog Congo Siasa about this report, listen to the full podcast below.