Building Peace and Advancing Development in the Great Lakes Region23 Jan 2014
The Great Lakes Region (GLR) has been prone to conflict for several decades, and has witnessed some of the worst conflicts on the African continent. These conflicts are rooted in long-standing tensions over ethnicity and citizenship rights, which are in turn related to grievances over access to resources, particularly land but also mineral and other natural resources.
Most peace initiatives in the region have failed to take into account the complexity of the conflict and its implications, not only at national levels, but also at regional and international levels. Moreover, most initiatives have relied solely on the willpower of the states involved, thereby neglecting local communities’ participation in the process of peace negotiations.
In February 2013, representatives of the 11 countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) met in Ethiopia to sign an accord that pledged to help end the conflict in the DRC. The accord gives a framework for hope, stability and progress for DRC and the GLR. The present report looks at the possibilities that exist for putting the region back on the path of peace, stability and development, looking at the immense complexity of the conflict unfolding there.