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Securing Legitimate Stability in the DRC: External Assumptions and Local Perspectives

Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
September, 2019

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is undergoing its first peaceful transfer of power at the same time as a strategic review of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is being conducted. It is a pivotal time to be reflecting on the best ways forward.

This policy study uses both research and fieldwork to compare the aims of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and MONUSCO with the end state that local populations, authorities and other key stakeholders in South Kivu province would like to see. The study focuses on the objectives of stabilization activities in terms of state legitimacy, security sector reform and social cohesion between groups in society. It examines these activities against the perceptions of those that are supposed to benefit from them and asks: Do assumptions match expectations?

The findings highlight key discrepancies and develops recommendations aimed at international actors and the Congolese Government on how best navigate risks and identify opportunities for achieving legitimacy and stability.

A complementary policy study on the Central Africa Republic, Securing Legitimate Stability in CAR: External Assumptions and Local Perspectives, is also available. The policy report Towards Legitimate Stability in CAR and the DRC: External Assumptions and Local Perspectives synthesizes the findings of the two studies.


I. Introduction

II. Methodology

III. Ongoing international efforts

IV. What is the role of the state?

V. How should security and justice be provided?

VI. Who should be part of the social contract?

VII. Summary

VIII. Conclusions and recommendations



Dr Jaïr van der Lijn is a Senior Researcher and Director of the SIPRI Peace Operations and Conflict Management Programme.
Hans Hoebeke is a London-based independent consultant working on the African Great Lakes region. He is also a Senior Associate Fellow at the Africa Programme of the Egmont Institute (Brussels).
Dr Tim Glawion is a political analyst and field researcher on issues of local security and civil war in fragile states.
Nikki de Zwaan is an expert on security and justice at the Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (CORDAID).