Buying Time for Peace" is a documentary that will take you on a journey into the heart of the Great Lakes region to show you the unique role of an international partnership that is trying to break the conflict cycle and create the conditions for peace in central Africa. You will meet and hear from adult ex-combatants and children formerly associated with armed forces as they try to reclaim their lives after conflict. They are participating in the largest program of its kind in the world: the Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP), a multi-agency effort funded by the World Bank and 13 donor governments, that supports the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants in Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda. You will also meet MDRP specialists living and working in the region, such as Dinga, a former Colonel from Chad now in Burundi, Gromo in Rwanda, who has spent most of his life working on humanitarian issues in Africa and who witnessed the Rwandan genocide in 1994 first hand, and Harald, who spends much of his time in the more unstable parts of eastern Congo.
This film was directed by Philip Carr and produced by Bruno Donat.
The film is not available for embedding on our site but you can watch it on Youtube here: http://youtu.be/fsJMHBo9EPQ.
Policy and Research Papers
Tintin is no longer in the Congo – A Transformative Analysis of Belgian Defence Policies in Central Africa
This study examines Belgium’s involvement in Central Africa over the last two decades, with a particular focus on the role of the Belgian Defence. The objective is twofold: on the one hand to analyse Belgium’s changing policies towards its former colonies during the last twenty years, and on the other hand to take an in-depth look at the military collaborations on the ground and establish an empirical and practical take on what role they fill, how they function and what aims they achieve through interviews and field observations. The analysis is made through the adoption of a transformative approach which includes evolutionary explanation factors, such as national political-administrative history, culture, and style of governance and static factors like national polity features, visible in constitutional and structural factors.
The author argues that the divided nature of Belgian internal politics, which is noted both in its polity features and its political-administrative history, influences its foreign policy towards Central Africa in an inconsistent manner. This is exemplified in the absence of a long-term strategy for the region. Yet, Belgium shows a strong desire to remain involved in the region, which, in the absence of a comprehensive and coherent strategy, results for the most part in a variety of one-dimensional short-term projects. It is recommended that Belgium, as one of the most trusted partners in the region, exploit its expertise in a more efficient manner and develop long-term three-dimensional projects, involving the three D’s (Defence, Diplomacy and Development), which would both benefit the reform processes under way in the partner countries, and Belgium’s visibility in the latter.
Identifying the Spoilers in the Security Sector Reform - Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Process in the Congo
The Congolese security sector reform – disarmament demobilisation and reintegration (SSR-DDR) process has suffered from setbacks in its military sector during the last 10 years, such as insufficient funding, lack of coordination and domestic reluctance to major changes, with as a result, a very fragile and disjointed Army. These problems have deepened as officers have defected from the Army and caused new instability in the East of the Congo. This article aims to analyse the recent mutinies and the reaction by the Congolese government by applying a capabilities-based approach in combination with a typology of spoilers. The objective is to identify and classify the spoilers and answer the questions of why they emerge now and how they are dealt with on a national level. From the analysis, the author suggests that there are several spoilers involved in the current situation – the most powerful being the Congolese and the Rwandan governments, prompting the question of whether an international involvement is necessary to solve the problem.
This working paper suggests the best practices in reintegration program design include: planning of pilot activities for reintegration support at the start of the DDR process; investing in regular communication and outreach with ex-combatants, communities and other stakeholders; ensuring specialised services and program adaptations for vulnerable groups of ex-combatants including children, women and the disabled; and building broad-based partnerships that facilitate the evolution of reintegration activities into wider development programming.
As evidenced by the successes and challenges of reintegration programs around the world, the institutional structures and arrangements governing DDR and reintegration programs can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of these operations. Minimum institutional features of particular relevance include: strong national ownership; the separation of political oversight and technical implementation bodies; decentralized program structures; timely and regular monitoring and evaluation; rigorous financial systems and controls; and a clear exit strategy
To access the full paper, click here.