Peace and Security Co-operation Framework for the DRC

28 February 2013 | ResolutionPossible

On Sunday eleven African states signed a UN peace deal aimed at stabilising the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The peace deal is referred to as the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region.

Kabila signs the DRC Framework Agreement

As we are writing we are finding it quite difficult to find reliable information on this Framework. First, we would love to share with you who has signed this agreement. Unfortunately, numerous sources state eleven African countries have signed it, only to then list ten (Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Angola, Uganda, South Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania and Congo-Brazzaville  – as listed in the article in the Guardian Eleven states sign United Nations deal for peace in Congo as well as on the UN News Centre site). We found on Deutsche Welle that the 11th country is in fact Zambia. We would also be interested to read the Framework for ourselves. This is currently not possible, as it does not appear to be available online.

We wonder if access to, what seems like, basic information such as the 11th country or the full peace agreement would have been more straight forward had this been a peace deal on a conflict currently more prominent in the media.

We turn therefore to others who have written about the Framework, and of course invite you as well to share with us your views in these developments.

Jason Stearns in his blog explains that the surge of violence caused by clashes between the M23 and the DRC national army is only the last ” in a long series of such surges in violence since the end of the UN-led peace process in 2006“. Interestingly, Ban Ki Moon in his remarks at the signing of the Framework seems to isolate the violence connected to the M23 when he opens his remarks  explaining how “deeply disturbed” he has been by the violence that according to him “erupted in April last year“.

As for the contents of the Framework Agreement, Stearns summarises:

  • SADC (the Southern African Development Community) has agreed to add 2,500 – 3,000 troops to the current UN troops based in Congo (MONUSCO)
  • The Agreement should prevent regional countries from interfering in each other’s affairs
  • Encourage the reform of weak Congolese institutions
  • Foster greater donor coordination and engagement

Stearns worries that one of the major issues will be that of monitoring and oversight. The Framework Agreement seems to suggest that “the oversight mechanism for Congolese state reform that in early drafts of the agreement included civil society and donors is now only made up of the Congolese government”. What this means is that the Congolese government needs to essentially ‘over see itself’. How will this work?

Stearns shares similar confusion to ours: Why is there no mention of armed groups in the Framework Agreement? What happened to  the peace talks between the M23 and the Congolese government in Kampala? Not much guidance is given on how the region is to deal with these aspects.

Other questions to think about include how useful this agreement can be when it doesn’t include representatives of armed groups operating in the region such as the M23 or FDLR. The agreement focuses on heads of state and their responsibilities, however, it does not allow input from civil society. We also wonder of the value of a framework which does not address the potential problems caused by companies and investors in the region , who surely have a role to play in the stability of eastern DRC?

Further reading:

UK welcomes new peace agreement for eastern DRC

Tony Blair defends Rwanda’s role in DR Congo

Congo rebel group, M23, splits over dismissal of president

Forty-six leading Congolese and international NGOs welcome Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, but call for further action to make peace a reality

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