The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has enormous potential to strengthen cohesion between the different actors and flows of assistance. This is one of the reasons why, in 2018, the country was identified as a suitable environment for the implementation of a policy approach known as the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. Chihiro Mitsuda (Japan) was a UN Volunteer Programme Analyst with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office (UNRCO) from May 2020 to May 2021. She shares her reflections in retrospect.
The DRC has faced myriad challenges, ranging from significant humanitarian assistance needs and chronic underdevelopment to political instability and protracted armed conflict in the Eastern part of the country. Humanitarian, development and peace actors are all present to support the government and the population with its recovery and development pathway.
The implementation of the nexus involves a wide range of actors, with the Government at the head. A revitalized Nexus Core Team provides technical support, and includes representatives of the Government, donors, international and national non-governmental organizations, civil societies and the UN. A dedicated Nexus Donor Group also provides support. The UNRCO ensures overall coordination in the country.
I joined the UNRCO as a Programme Analyst and was able to use my experience to roll-out the nexus approach on the ground. I provided support to the UNRCO team in coordinating responses and other communications between UN agencies, funds and programmes and between UN country team and external partners.
Already in October 2019, the first consultation workshop on collective outcomes for the Triple Nexus had been held in Kinshasa. During the workshop, participants had identified four collective outcomes aimed at reducing the long-term humanitarian needs, risks and vulnerabilities among the poorest and most at-risk people in the DRC. These were to reduce insecurity and malnutrition, strengthen equitable access to quality basic services, provide a holistic response to forced displacement and prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The UNRCO invested its efforts in rolling out activities and operationalizing the collective outcomes.
Building on this, I conducted research, monitoring and analysis of key issues in the DRC and proposed relevant interventions to the UNRCO. My assignment took me on field visits to the Kasai, Kasai Central and Tanganyika provinces. There, I identified peacebuilding challenges and supported the implementation of the triple nexus approach. This coincided with the withdrawal of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) from these provinces.
One of my achievements was organizing the Nexus workshop for the Kasai, Kasai Central and Tanganyika provinces, under the initiative of the Government.
With the objective of strengthening the contextualization and implementation of the Nexus approach, the workshop brought together 60 humanitarian, peace and development actors. While contextualization is important, our experience can be one of building on good practices: it is important to keep the ball rolling. – Chihiro Mitsuda, UN Volunteer with UNRCO in the DRC
In all our work, we strove to ensure coherence between the four collective outcomes and the various strategic plans and frameworks that existed or have since been developed, including the National Strategic Development Plan, the Humanitarian Response Plan, the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, Sustainable Development Goals, renewal of PBF eligibility, as well as MONUSCO's renewed mandate and its withdrawal and exit strategy.
For the UNRCO Kinshasa, having the support of an international volunteer with prior experience working on questions related to peacebuilding was of great added value. Chihiro’s programme management experience also proved to be a great asset to our daily work and team. –Barbara Kobler, Development Cooperation Officer/Economist with UNRCO, DRC
“Chihiro demonstrated a very good understanding of the humanitarian, development and peace nexus approach and contributed significantly to advancing its operationalization in the DRC,” Barbara Kobler concludes.