Insecure livelihoods series

Introducing the Insecure Livelihoods project

 If we can draw one overarching conclusion from violent conflict in eastern Congo, it is the growing disconnect between the existing international conflict response toolkit and the complexity of violent conflict on the ground.

The struggles for power over people, territory, and resources in the DRC take place at different scales (local, national, regional, international) and cut across diverse social and political networks. They often turn violent and their outcomes are often unpredictable, making insecurity and uncertainty central characteristics of eastern Congo’s political and social landscape.

Consequently, one-size-fits-all approaches to conflict resolution and management are unlikely to work. The overwhelming yet under-addressed need to manage conflict complexity, including transnational dynamics and the proliferation of non-state actors in conflict, is at the core of current policy debates about types and ranges of interventions by international and regional organizations and has particular relevance for stabilisation efforts in the DRC.

Driven by the aim to bridge this gap, the Insecure Livelihoods Series publishes independent, regular and field-driven information and analysis on the complexity of conflict and security. The Insecure Livelihoods reports are based on independent, non-partisan collaborative research and co-published by the Governance in Conflict Network (GIC), Conflict Research Group (CRG, Ghent)) and the Groupe d’Etudes sur les Conflits et la Sécurité Humaine (GEC-SH, Bukavu).

Using a socio-anthropological approach to violent conflict, the Insecure Livelihoods Series start from the recognition that the causes of violent conflict are to be located in numerous interconnected socio-cultural, economic, and political factors, and is designed to capture this complexity. The project focuses on the strategies employed by actors who possess the capacity to mobilise social groups around political and socio-economic issues and who may thus function as either driving or mitigating actors of conflict.  The series  recognises that in eastern Congo, conflict and violence are often linked to the competition between different power networks. over resources, territory and political authority. A key characteristic of these networks – as is the case with the networks of the Congo wars – is that they are unstable, changing, and constantly adapting and multi-scalar in essence. The Insecure Livelihoods Series therefore acknowledges that while violent conflicts are often localised, they are closely linked to national, regional, and international dynamics.

the reports

Le passé dans le présent

Le présent rapport analyse l’interaction entre les problèmes d’identité ethnique, la politique et les conflits dans l’est de la RDC, plus particulièrement dans le territoire de Kalehe et sur l’île d’Idjwi, dans la province du Sud-Kivu. Il démontre que ces liens sont ancrés dans des processus historiques à long terme.

The Past in the Present

Since colonization and throughout the independence period, ethnic iden- tity has played a major role in the politics and conflicts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This report investigates how issues of ethnic identity intersect with politics and conflicts in eastern Congo, and particularly Kalehe territory and on Idjwi Island, South Kivu Province.

Politique violente et commerce silencieux

Ce rapport analyse les dynamiques de la coutume, la contrebande et la rébellion qui s’entrecroisent dans le territoire de Lubero en province du Nord-Kivu, dans l’est de la RDC. Le rapport explore les différentes émanations du pouvoir politique et économique dans une région souvent considérée comme non gouvernée et périphérique, par le biais de la gouvernance locale, la mobilisation armée et le commerce transnational des ressources.

Violent Politics and Silent Trade

This study offers an analysis of the intersecting dynamics of custom, contra- band and rebellion that mark Lubero territory in eastern Congo’s North Kivu province. Through the angles of local governance, armed mobilization and transnational resource trade, the report looks at different emanations of political and economic power in a region often considered ungoverned and peripheral.

Neither peace nor war?

This report investigates the security context in Kalehe territory in South Kivu from the time the FARDC conducted operations against the CNRD armed group in December 2019 until the resurgence of violence in the same area in May 2021. More than a year after the destruction of the CNRD strongholds in 2019, the report identifies three main security dynamics that have been reshaped.