Countries of the Great Lakes region organize to better neutralize negative forces in eastern DRC

Amb. Basile Ikouebe, AU Special representative for the Great Lakes region (left) and Amb. Huang Xia, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, at the 4th meeting of the Contac and Coordination Group, Bujumbura, Burundi, 6 July 2021

7 Jul 2021

Countries of the Great Lakes region organize to better neutralize negative forces in eastern DRC

Bujumbura (Burundi), 6 July 2021 – Heads of intelligence and security services of the Great Lakes countries, including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania, met on 5-6 July in the Burundian capital to review and adopt an action plan of the Contact and Coordination Group in the context of the fight against negative forces in eastern DRC. The action plan was developed during a meeting of experts on 3-6 May in Goma, DRC.

The action plan adopted at the end of the meeting is structured around four key areas of intervention, namely: facilitating the disarmament and repatriation processes of negative forces through an approach involving local communities and civil society; preventing the resurgence of negative forces through the fight against arms, troops and finance supply networks; strengthening  Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programmes; and the reinforcement of cross-border cooperation with a view to generating economic opportunities aimed at young people in particular.

The establishment of the Contact and Coordination Group is the result of a consensus reached between military and civilian intelligence services of the Great Lakes countries on the need for a comprehensive approach in the fight against illegal armed groups in eastern DRC. This approach aims to complement military action against such groups with non-military measures. It calls for the involvement of civil society organisations, local communities, provincial authorities, and national DDR commissions in the pacification efforts of this region plagued by chronic instability. The adoption of the action plan will make it possible to officially launch the activities of the Contact and Coordination Group.

Huang Xia, United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region also took part in this meeting alongside Ambassador Basile Ikouébé, Special Representative of the African Union for the Great Lakes and João Samuel Caholo, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR); as well as representatives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, MONUSCO.

The final communique of the meeting is available here