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

From Saviour to Perpetrator and Back to Saviour? How To Prevent Sexual Exploitation And Abuse By United Nations Personnel

Sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by United Nations (UN) personnel was first documented in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2004 and has since been a violation the organization has been criticized for. Addressing the case of the eastern DRC, this paper attempts to find new ways of addressing SEA by focusing on grassroots solutions and the perspectives of diverse actors.

Lorsque les bonnes intentions ne suffisent pas … L’état de siège dans les provinces du Nord-Kivu et de l’Ituri

Ce rapport analyse l’état de siège déclaré dans les provinces du Nord-Kivu et de l’Ituri depuis 2021. Cette politique du gouvernement congolais est considérée comme un échec, car les efforts du gouvernement pour reprendre le contrôle de son territoire et résoudre les problèmes de sécurité n’ont pas abouti.

D’autres préoccupations relatives à d’autres enjeux

Les phénomènes politiques sont conjoncturels et, par nature, changeants. Un intérêt disproportionné pour les facteurs politiques des violences ethniques comporte le risque d’empêcher de déceler ce qui est permanent et structurel dans leur persistance. Au-delà de leurs différences, en effet, il existe des facteurs structurels communs aux violences ethniques. La persistance de ces dernières est due à ces facteurs structurels plus qu’à la compétition politique à laquelle la violence ethnique est trop souvent associée. Pour tenter d’identifier ces phénomènes structurels, cette étude se concentre sur la violence au Katanga qui oppose régulièrement communautés kasaïennes et katangaise

The “Balkanization” of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Taking a historical and ethnographic perspective, this study looks at the longue durée of the phenomenon. It demonstrates that each time the country goes through political crisis, the spectre of “balkanization” rises anew. The debate’s protagonists denounce an international conspiracy using Rwanda to partition the DRC. Others criticize Kinshasa’s inability to develop the country and suggest federalism or balkanization. Despite discussions, most Congolese do not see balkanization as an option due to fears of invasion. Therefore, the debate remains open.

La « Balkanisation » de la République Démocratique du Congo

Ce rapport discute d’abord du concept de balkanisation et de ses applications à la République Démocratique du Congo. Ensuite, il inscrit le discours autour d’un potentiel démembrement de la RDC dans une perspective historique. Enfin, il propose une explication à la survivance, au fil du temps, des tendances séparatistes en RDC. Ce rapport inscrit ce débat sur la longue durée. Il a donc été utile de compulser la littérature disponible et de procéder à une recherche de terrain dans une perspective ethnographique.

Vacuum Governance in Eastern DRC

This report investigates the social and security dynamics in Shabunda territory (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Located in westernmost South Kivu province and bordering Maniema province, Shabunda is an isolated,
enclaved region that has known high levels of insecurity consequent to the activities of residual armed groups known collectively as the Raia Mutomboki.

Un « vase clos » à l’Est de la République Démocratique du Congo

Ce rapport est consacré à l’analyse des dynamiques sociales et sécuritaires dans le territoire de Shabunda au Sud-Kivu (RD Congo). Située dans l’extrême ouest de la province, à la lisière de la province du Maniema, Shabunda est une région enclavée en proie à l’insécurité perpétrée par des groupes armés résiduels issus des milices Raïa Mutomboki.