ABSTRACT

The conflict that unfolded in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – the former Zaire – in the mid-1990s has often been referred to as “Africa’s world war”.1 During the first and second Congo wars, lasting from 1996 to 1997 and 1998 to 2002 respectively, more than five million people lost their lives, untold numbers became refugees and millions were injured, raped, and orphaned.2 Following the official ending of the second Congo war in 2002, a national power-sharing agreement was implemented; one year later a transitional period began, leading to the first round of national elections in 2006. However, conflict in the DRC, and especially in the country’s eastern provinces, continued even after the war had officially ended. The devastating situation of the population provoked not only massive interventions in terms of humanitarian assistance but also, increasingly, peace-and statebuilding interventions and stabilisation efforts on the part of the international community. This chapter specifically focuses on the implementation process of the international stabilisation efforts under the framework of the International Security and Stabilization Support Strategy (ISSSS). The latter was developed by UN agencies, international organisations and foreign donors in 2008/2009 to consolidate and strengthen the political progress made in the aftermath of the 2006 elections. The motivation was to lay the foundations for sustainable peacebuilding by combining security, political, statebuilding and return and recovery interventions. Simultaneously, the ISSSS became the main vehicle of external actors in supporting the Congolese government in its own national stabilisation approaches defined in the Stabilization and Reconstruction Plan for War-Affected Areas (STAREC).3