Religious leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are banding together to help prevent conflict and violence ahead of elections planned for later this year. Monsignor Donatien Nshole and Reverend Eric Nsenga, who represent two of the largest church organizations in the country, discuss their efforts to support better governance in the DRC, what’s blocking political agreements from being implemented, and the importance of civic engagement at the local level to maintain peace. [English translation is in closed-captioning.]
The Latest @ USIP: Religious Actors Work Together for Peace in the DRC
Saving Congo’s Forests Means Changing ‘Law Enforcement’
The Congo Basin rainforests, the world’s second largest, form the planet’s single greatest “carbon sink,” absorbing the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is overheating our planet. Yet this crucial front line against climate change is threatened by illegal and industrial logging, mining, oil and gas concessions and ongoing warfare in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). To save the rich and unique ecosystems of the Congo Basin forests, policies are needed to stop destructive resource exploitation and ongoing violence. This includes devising more effective, holistic approaches to upholding conservation laws in national parks and other protected areas.
Armed Actors and Environmental Peacebuilding
The eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been the site of decades of conflict between the Congolese army and nonstate armed groups. The region’s conflict dynamics are profoundly affected by the combatants’ exploitation of and illegal trade in natural resources. Drawing lessons from eastern DRC, this report argues that the environmental peacebuilding field needs to do more to understand how armed actors shape resource governance and resource-related conflict, which in turn can lead to better-designed peacebuilding programs and interventions.
Four Lessons from Outbreaks in Africa for the Age of Coronavirus
As the coronavirus pandemic continues and new behavioral practices—from social distancing to avoiding handshakes and hugs—become expected norms overnight, there are crucial policy lessons to be learned from struggles against previous outbreaks of disease in Africa. Despite widespread poverty, weak infrastructure, and relatively few health professionals, there is an encouraging, long record of African countries—often with significant international assistance and cooperation—eventually managing to overcome dire health challenges. For non-African countries already facing large numbers of COVID-19 infections, as well as for African countries where the epidemic is now at an early stage, policymakers would do well to recall these four lessons of past epidemics—of both what to do and, perhaps almost as importantly, what not to do to confront this global threat.
Jonas Claes on Election Risk in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ukraine
Jonas Claes provides risk analysis for elections taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo in December and in Ukraine in March, 2019. A combination of complicating factors ranging from ongoing conflicts, outside meddling, logistical hurdles and voter apathy top Claes’ concerns that election violence could be stoked in both elections.