The First–Ever High–Level Humanitarian Conference on RDC

A Save the Congo! briefing, April 2018

In October 2017, the United Nations declared the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo a Level 3 emergency. This is the UN’s equivalent to dialling the emergency services. Level 3 emergency category is reserved for the worst-of-the-worst global humanitarian crises. It puts Congo on par with Syria, Yemen and Iraq; the only other Level 3 emergencies in the world.

Why has the UN sounded the alarm? Because for a little over a year and half, Congo has been experiencing multiple and diverse conflicts in different parts of the country at the same time. The violence has not only been widespread, it has been unimaginably brutal. Massacres of women and children, razed villages, attacked schools and children recruited as soldiers are the hallmarks of this crisis.

The top hotspots are Kasai, Tanganyika, Beni, Ituri and South Kivu — and Mr Kabila’s regime have, in places such as Kasai and Beni, fuelled the crisis, and in other places, allowed it to worsen as a political tactic to delay elections and allow Mr Kabila, whose second and last constitutional mandate ended on 19 December 2016, but has been refusing to cede power or organise elections, choosing instead to attack people and communities questioning his legitimacy, to cling to power.

High–Level Humanitarian Conference on RDC

On Friday 13 April 2018, , following the joint–visit of the UN Under‑Secretary‑General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, and the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, to, among other places, Katanika, a 6,000 people camp in Kalemie near Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo in early March, the Kingdom of Netherlands, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) will co–host the world’s first–ever High–Level Humanitarian Conference on DRC to raise $1.7 billion (nearly four times the amount secured last year ) the UN needs to halt the crisis.

What would the $1.7 billion used for?

The $1.7 billion the UN is raising will be used to provide urgent and sustained life-saving food, water, shelter and health care to 13.1 million Congolese –– including children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers –– to not only get by but to survive this year.

“I don’t care and I would not attend”

Mr Kabila and his regime in Kinshasa say they do not care and will not attend the conference, accusing the UN and co–host of the conference of exaggerating the problem. In Geneva, Mr Kabila’s representatives have been using Congo’s mineral wealth to blackmail countries that have announced their participation to the conference; and some, (the United Arab Emirates is a perfect example) have cancelled their participation.

Five facts you need to know about Congo

  • 13 million Congolese, nearly 20 per cent of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s estimated 70 million population, are in need urgent and coordinated life-saving protection, treatment, aid and emergency food
  • 7 million Congolese, a little over 10 per cent of the population, are struggling with food shortages brought on by conflict.
  • More than 4.6 million children in Congo are acutely malnourished, including 2.2 million suffering severe acute malnutrition.
  • One in four people in Kasai is facing starvation; with 400,000 malnourished children at risk of dying of starvation.
  • 5 million Congolese are currently internally displaced, having fled violence – making Congo the continent’s largest displacement crisis

The epidemics you need to know about:

  • The worst outbreak of cholera in 15 years
  • An epidemic of sexual violence – most of it unreported and unaddressed – and much of it against children
Leave Comment