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3rd Management Board Meeting in Nairobi

On 19 February 2019, Amb. Said Djinnit, the United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region (SESG-GL) and the co-champion of the Great Lakes Regional Strategic Framework (GLRSF), Lola Castro, Regional Director of the World Food Program (WFP) for Southern Africa chaired the third meeting of the Management Board (MB) of the GLRSF in Nairobi. The aim of the meeting was to discuss progress and performance made towards the implementation of the GLRSF since the second Board meeting in Nairobi, January 23, 2018 and to discuss GLRSF key priorities and management arrangements for 2019.

This Management Board came at a critical moment for the Great Lakes region and the United Nations (UN). In fact, a number of positive developments were registered in the region but there is still lack of progress in some situations, such as the impasse of the Burundian dialogue and the continued activity of armed groups in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with negative impact on regional dynamics.

To read more, download the final report of the meeting.


Key Progress and Challenges from 2018

GLRSF made progress on the delivery of the expected results at a higher rate compared to 2017  with focus on Mobility, Gender as well as Justice and Conflict Prevention (Pillars Three, Five and Six) and increased support to the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).  The first cross-border project officially started its activities across Burundi and Tanzania border in January 2018 [Video: Building Peace Across Borders] and a second regional initiative was launched in Burundi in December 2018. Several other initiatives, funded through diverse channels, contributed to the objectives of the GLRSF demonstrating its capacity to influence cross border action and strengthen the United Nations coordinated response to peace and development challenges in the region.

PBF Countries MapSpecifically, thanks to the partnership with the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), in 2018 the border areas between Burundi and Tanzania, specifically Makamba and Ruyigi provinces in Burundi and Kigoma region in Tanzania, was the site of a pilot cluster initiative for implementation under Pillars Three and Six.

Key  achievements include i) establishment of peace-making and conflict resolution systems; ii) improved resilience of border communities through socioeconomic reintegration of returnees and IDPs; iii) new operational crisis management guide/manual and SOPs for humanitarian border and crisis management; v) joint trainings between immigration and border police officers increase knowledge in protection sensitive humanitarian border management and capacity building; viii) monitoring of protection situation of refugee returnees and facilitating access to basic services, including health, education, administrative documentation, justice and legal assistance, including related to Gender-based violence (GBV), child protection and land disputes’ resolution [Report: PBF Cross-Border Project Annual Progress].

Moreover, the European Union (EU) funded project “Peace and Security in the Great Lakes Region’ was jointly launched with ICGLR and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Bujumbura in December 2018. The project aims at strengthening ICGLR Peace and Security Program and supporting the implementation of the Protocol on Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children in the region. The UN participating agencies will implement activities in support to ICGLR capacities in mediation and DDR, including options for insider mediation at local level, in support to four ICGLR fora (women, youth, private sector and civil society), to promote awareness of GBV as well as the transcription of the above-mentioned protocol into national laws.

At regional level, progress continued in support to Durable Solutions for those forcibly displaced and their host communities as well as for strengthening the humanitarian and development nexus in the response to displacement in the region. As an example, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have published a joint programming booklet to respond effectively across the humanitarian-development nexus to the DRC situation and find sustainable solutions for Congolese refugees and host communities, in line with the objectives of Pillar Three Mobility of the GLRSF. Moreover, sustained progress was registered on judicial cooperation through the Great Lakes Judicial Cooperation Network (JCN) established in 2016. In 2018, designated senior public prosecutors began to address cases involving cross-border crimes that require enhanced regional judicial cooperation and started receiving related trainings.

However, challenges remain for transposing the GLRSF into practice, in particular the appropriate and sustainable funding. Up to now, USD 3.7M have been channelled through the dedicated Great Lakes Region Cross-border Fund against an estimated need of USD 95M.  The Great Lakes has largely remained a “forgotten crisis,” yet focus on the region is critical if the SDGS are to be achieved and no one left behind.

The next Management Board is planned to meet in the third quarter of 2019.