According to a recent poll by the Congo Research Group, 74 percent of Congolese support a call by the public and some opposition parties for Kabila to step down immediately and allow for a caretaker government to oversee the organization of credible elections.
According to a public opinion poll conducted by the Congo Research Group and Congolese polling firm BERCI, two opponents of Congolese President Joseph Kabila jointly lead a race to replace him in an election due in December.
Ten years ago, stories about endemic violence in the Darfur region of Sudan often made headlines in the West. The conflict there continues sporadically but is all but forgotten today. This month, the Security Council agreed to slash the number of peacekeepers in the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, or UNAMID, by almost half, with a view to closing the mission entirely in 2020. The decision created barely a ripple beyond the council. Nonetheless, the drawdown of UNAMID potentially marks a turning point for UN peacekeeping operations.
Since August 2016, the Kasaï region has seen one of the most dramatic escalations of violence in Congolese history. A localized struggle over customary power quickly spread across four provinces, fueled by resentment over economic and political marginalization. Within the space of a year, 1.4 million people were displaced and dozens of armed militias were formed. The Catholic Church counted 3,383 deaths due to conflict in the greater Kasaï region between October 13, 2016 and June 17, 2017 alone.
While the conflict in the Kasaïs has diminished, levels of humanitarian suffering are still extremely high, and the potential for further violence, especially in Kasaï province, remains. It is difficult to envisage a comprehensive solution to these challenges, or to prevent further violence, without addressing national dynamics. The Congolese government will need to set up initiatives, backed by donors, to address customary conflicts and to reform traditional power structures. Efforts to break the economic isolation of the Kasaï provinces, and to promote inclusive dialogue should continue. Perhaps most importantly, government officials, including army officers, must be held accountable for fostering violence or using disproportionate force to quell it.
In a major departure from previous presidencies, Donald Trump's administration has systematically deprioritized human rights. At the same time as the administration has pulled back from human rights, democracy promotion and multilateral engagement, China, Russia and other states have grown more assertive in challenging democratic norms, both at home and globally.
In July 2019, the high-level political forum on sustainable development will focus on ‘empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’ and review, amongst other goals, SDG16 (peaceful, just and inclusive societies) and SDG10 (reduce inequality). In September 2019, the high-level political forum will be convened for the first time under the auspices of the General Assembly.
Read our challenge paper on how we can maximize the potential of the high-level political forum in 2019.
As the UN works to operationalize partnerships to advance the peacebuilding and sustaining peace agendas, the work that regional organizations are already doing in terms of prevention and sustaining peace provides helpful insights.