Civil Affairs facilitated the organization of the National Civil Society Symposium (May 2009). The Symposium represents a major step forward in establishing a credible and organized civil society that can participate in the national policy-making process on development. Some 130 representatives from major CSOs nationwide attended the Symposium and adopted the “Nganda Declaration” which established a consultative framework of civil society structures and initiated a strategic dialogue on development with institutional and international partners.
The Symposium produced, inter alia, the civil society charter and a “Roadmap” to establish the adopted principles nationwide. The Charter and the Roadmap were disseminated through workshops organized by Civil Affairs in all the provinces of DRC. The Roadmap seeks to reorganize civil society and enable it to work alongside the Government and the international community as an important component of the development partnership. The Roadmap constitutes the basis of the Civil Affairs strategy to strengthen civil society as a key partner in national development, inter alia, by organizing capacity building for CS-TWGs. The CS-TWGs seek to facilitate dialogue and political debate at national and provincial levels between provincial governments and civil society on issues such as human rights and social and economic development.
Despite MONUSCO’s support, CSOs still lack the institutional basis and funding to achieve their objectives. As shown in Graph 1 (below), only a small number of CSOs were able to obtain the necessary funding to implement sustainable and viable programmes. 6% of the 3,300 recorded CSOs have an annual budget estimated at more than $ 1,000,000, while 73% have an annual budget estimated to be less than $ 10,000. Only 9% of the CSOs are members of a network. Civil Affairs aims to help civil society to improve its coordination and build synergies for a more strategic and efficient use of its resources.
Civil Affairs will continue to support civil society by providing capacity building that will allow it to become a more reliable partner in terms of representing the population and will further mainstream civil society in the dialogue on development. This will be done by organizing workshops, supporting the establishment of CS-TWGs, facilitating a sustainable dialogue between the Government and civil society at national and provincial levels, enhancing CSO coordination and networking mechanisms, involving grassroots communities, mainstreaming civil society in United Nations activities, mobilizing Groupe Inter-Bailleurs sur la Société Civile (GIBSOC) funds and supporting CSO activities during the electoral process.
Capacity building and facilitating the establishment of CS-TWGs at national and local levels are among the most important requirements needed to mainstream Congolese civil society initiatives in the global process of recovery. In 2011-2012, Civil Affairs facilitated capacity building in particular in communication and in negotiation and management skills. As a result, CS-TWGs, aligned to the PRSP themes, have been established in all provinces. Civil Affairs will continue to support civil society in order to:
- Facilitate capacity building so that civil society can participate as a reliable partner in peace consolidation and development activities, including budgeting and cross-cutting issues such as conflict prevention/resolution;
- Identify specific activities to establish sustainable links between CS-TWGs and the Gov-TWGs for a sustainable dialogue at national and provincial levels;
- Facilitate the extension of the CSO network for improved coordination at the grassroots level;
- Facilitate the establishment of CS-TWGs in districts and territories;
- Focus support on youth and women’s networks.
The CSO directory contains 3,300 entries and is an indispensable tool for locating strategic civil society actors and for networking. Civil Affairs will hand over the management of the directory to the Comité Consultatif de la Société Civile (CCSC) (Civil Society Advisory Committee) during the year.
Civil Affairs will continue to support the CCSC, comprising members of the Comité de Suivi du Symposium (Symposium Monitoring Committee) and United Nations agency focal points for civil society . Civil Affairs, in coordination with UNDP, will facilitate the formulation of a strategy and substantive activities that will enhance cooperation between civil society and the UNCT and facilitate the quarterly coordination meetings. The Symposium Monitoring Committee and the CS-TWG team leaders will meet to discuss specific CSO activities related to supporting the accelerated MDG Achievement Plan
. Moreover, Civil Affairs will facilitate the mobilization of civil society experts country-wide to participate in the MDGs 2015 post-consultation exercise.
Civil society represents the population from all walks of life, at all levels, and formulates the population’s concerns. CSOs can mediate to help find solutions when tension arises and mitigate the consequences, inter alia, through local problem solving and links with local authorities to find sustainable solutions. The Civil Affairs civil society unit is responsible for understanding local issues and building confidence with civil society and the population to address those issues. Hence, the Civil Affairs civil society unit will play a key role in facilitating, supporting and coordinating the activities of the section’s activities and in particular in establishing a dialogue on common concerns between the Government and the population on POC, conflict resolution and the restoration of State authority.
Civil Affairs will provide support for CSOs to build a strategic partnership with the CENI at national and provincial levels; carry out electoral activities and advocacy campaigns (the CS-TWG “Elections and Parliament"); and organize electoral education programmes and electoral observations. Civil Affairs will focus in particular on supporting youth networks in organizing activities for free and fair elections.
Read more about this subject in the ECHOS de la MONUSCO:
Click here to access the ECHOS de la MONUSCO article: Comment la section des Affaires civiles de la MONUSCO a sensibilisé la jeunesse congolaise en vue d'aboutir à un processus électoral apaisé
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to access the full magazine.
Click here to access the ECHOS de la MONUSCO article: MONUSCO: mobilisation tous azimuts de la Division des Affaires civiles lors de la crise à l'Est de la RDC
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to access the full magazine.