News archive 2009
Reforms of public security in DR Congo29 Apr 2009, PR 83/09
The Conflict, Security and Development Group (CSDG) at King’s is taking part in a £60 million UK government-supported project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which was officially launched in the capital, Kinshasa, on Monday (27 April).
The aim of the Security Sector Accountability and Police Reform project, which will run for five years, is to support the development of a more efficient and accountable state that delivers security and rule of law to Congolese citizens. The project is supported by the Department for International Development and will encompass the provision of equipment and training as well as the development of strategies to enhance public oversight of government services related to public safety and security.
CSDG played a key role in winning the part of the bid which relates to ‘External Accountability’, as part of a broader consortium consisting of the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) and DAI Europe, based in London. With £10 million allocated to their part of the project, the ASSN/DAI consortium will work to develop a strategy to promote interaction between parliament, civil society, academia, relevant ministries and the security services in view of increasing public input into security policy processes.
The reform process also seeks to aid political stability by building greater consensus across government at both national and provincial levels on how to tackle the problems of conflict and insecurity which affect the Congolese people. The design phase of the project, which will last for four months, will involve extensive consultation between the ASSN/DAI team and Congolese counter-parts and development of a detailed, joint implementation plan.
Dylan Hendrickson from the Conflict, Security and Development Group and Senior Research Fellow in the Department of War Studies, said: ‘This is a challenging project that will require a politically-informed, innovative and flexible approach. The changing and dynamic situation in the DRC, including the persisting instability in the east of the country, the weakness of state institutions and widespread poverty, mean that textbook solutions will not work.
‘The involvement of the CSDG is important because we have extensive experience in supporting security reform processes in a wide range of conflict-affected countries, both in Africa and elsewhere, which will be brought to bear in the DRC. Through the African Security Sector Network we will be able to leverage African expertise to support this programme which will be essential to its success given its political sensitivity and the need for sustainable, home grown solutions.’
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been at the centre of a conflict that began in 1998 and which is often called 'Africa's world war'. The war, which lasted from 1998 - 2003, claimed an estimated three million lives, either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. Despite a peace agreement in 2003, fighting continues in the east of the country.
The launch event in Kinshasa was attended by numerous dignitaries of the Congolese government, including Professor Mutombo Bakafwa, Vice Prime Minister for Security and Defence Ministers, as well as the UK Minister for International Development, Ivan Lewis.
Notes to editors
The Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s
The CSDG is an autonomous research, policy and training unit, attached to the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. The Group’s overall mission is to contribute to the effective management and prevention of violent conflict and the emergence of conditions that allow people in countries of the Global South to live in safety, security and under the rule of law.
CSDG was established in 1999 with a three-year grant from the UK Department for International Development to examine the policy challenges associated with its work on conflict, security and development and provide advice on its assistance programmes. While CSDG continues to work closely with the UK Government, it also counts among its clients today other donor governments and agencies as well as governments across Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Group places great emphasis on working with and through its international partners, with a particular focus on enhancing complementarity between home grown and external policy responses to the conflict and security challenges facing countries in the Global South. www.securityanddevelopment.org (NB: new website to launch next week)
King’s College London
King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2008) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King’s has more than 21,000 students from nearly 140 countries, and more than 5,700 employees. King’s is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King’s has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
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Melanie Haberstroh, International Public Relations Officer
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