The working environment of the Civil Peace Service (SCP) is characterized by a climate of fear and mistrust, as well as many traumatized people. Unlike many societies that have gone through wars, civil society organizations and churches in the Great Lakes Countries are competent, strong and networked. That is why the CPS can build its work here even more than elsewhere on cooperation with local partners. The SCP operates in all three phases of conflict to prevent, transform or manage conflicts. These three phases can not always be distinguished from each other.
Elements of incitement to violence
In the DRC, the last fifteen years have been marked by violence, armed conflict and the non-existence of the State. The presidential, parliamentary and regional elections in 2006, the establishment of a nationally elected government and parliament as well as the provinces in 2007 have given immense hope to people who hope for a peaceful and stable future. But the root causes of recent wars, widespread insecurity and a culture of violence, including the plundering of natural resources and the impoverishment of populations, the absence of a functioning state apparatus at all levels, conflicts identity and the exclusionary logic of the other on the basis of political manipulation, the continued existence of armed groups of all kinds are still relevant.
In the DRC it is particularly important to analyze continuously the different actors and factors in and around conflicts in order to be able – given the frequent fluctuations of alliances and power relations – to take strategic decisions together with local partners . It is a question of taking into account the political as well as the economic and cultural aspects integrating:
Good governance must be done from above but at the same time from below,
that is to say at the national and local levels,
The construction of the rule of law, The culture of peace and citizenship through churches and civil society,
The judicious exploitation of mineral and other resources,
The challenge remains: from the use used for the well-being of the people and for the establishment of the rule of law and an administration,
The Congolese populations, who have long proven their inventiveness and capability to survive in impossible situations. But the Achilles heel remains the cultural and ethnic diversity. (Indigenous versus non-originating), The problems of the Congo, as well as the possible solutions, are not only at the national level, but also at the subregional level. For this reason, work for peace must be cross-border and must take into account and positively influence regional links.
The opening up of the DRC to the outside world and the strengthening of professional cooperation at the subregional level can be an essential basis for a lasting peace and can contribute to the development and stabilization of an identity that values diversity in the unit.
Contribution of SCP / EED professionals
Development of structures for dialogue and rapprochement crossing the lines of ethnic,
Strengthening of information and communication structures in relation to the causes and effects of violent conflicts,
Reintegration and rehabilitation of groups suffering in particular from violence,
Counseling and training for civil conflict management, peace pedagogy,
Strengthen the implementation of laws at the local level (eg work for human rights, strengthening of local institutions),
Strengthening structures at the political and societal level (of state and non-state institutions) is particularly important in the Great Lakes countries in order to create stability, effectiveness and sustainability.
The specific circumstances of unstable situations and violent conflicts in different regions require considerable flexibility in the SCP program.
On the basis of existing co-operation, the German agencies holding the SCP in the Great Lakes Countries and in the subregion began by developing a “landscape” of their local partners and the themes concerned. In April 2007 they began a process of “Do No Harm-Local Capacities for Peace”. Other German partners on the spot and bilateral cooperation are integrated as much as possible. In DRC there is already a good working relationship (eg KfW / Heal Africa in Maniema, and CCEF with GTZ)
Based on a more complete picture of the work of the relevant organizations in the Great Lakes Countries and the Great Lakes region, as well as basic elements, criteria will be developed for cooperation and identification of needs not yet affected as well as potential strategically important partners. The result will not be a joint action plan, but a concerted approach, working methods and direction to the impacts of the German agencies.
The initiative and responsibility of the local partners in relation to on-site work remain essential. It is therefore important to integrate them from the beginning into the processes and to reinforce their responsibility. The local staff with which the professionals work must be funded and they must participate in repeated training at the regional level. The professional exchange aims at strengthening it and facilitating the necessary networking within the DRC, but also at the subregional and international level. The SCP / EED works to build peace and not only to eradicate violence! The nuance is fundamental here.
Working to eradicate violence is a process of conflict resolution that takes into account its pre- and post-conflict phases. This work is useful but not sufficient for the medium and the long term. Working for the construction of peace commits the actors present on a geographical area in the analysis of their context, the identification of the major factors driving conflict, the analysis of actors in order to value the potential for building peace .
In the latter case, it is the context combined with the roles of the actors that underpins the SCP’s activity. In other words, in a difficult context like that of the DRC, each organization will have to consider how to play a role in stabilizing and promoting peace from its position (place in society), its themes, its partners, its capacity and its links with other players in the field in order to mobilize the socio-political level around the actions undertaken, and so on.