Laila Bourhil from Goma: “Transition is Not a Simple Handover Process But a Transformation of UN Presence in DRC”

19 Jun 2023

Laila Bourhil from Goma: “Transition is Not a Simple Handover Process But a Transformation of UN Presence in DRC”


MONUSCO and the government validated Thursday, June 15 in Goma, the Terms of Reference of the integrated provincial transition team. This team is now operational in North Kivu.

The integrated provincial transition teams are established by MONUSCO, the Government and other partners in various provinces where the Mission is still operational, in particular, North and South Kivu, as well as in Ituri.

They are mainly aimed at explaining the Mission's gradual transition plan to different sections of the population so that they can take ownership of it.

These teams also aim to create a necessary framework for consultation and work on the transition with all the partners involved: the provincial authorities, MONUSCO, the Agencies, Funds and Programs of the United Nations system as well as members of the civil society organizations and various partners and donors.

Among the other tasks assigned to them is the development of joint analyzes on the situation in the North Kivu province in a context of transition, emphasizing the challenges to be met at the security, economic or community levels, but also in identifying opportunities.

These mechanisms are therefore a framework for consultations but also for awareness and familiarization with the transition process, which highlight both the opportunities and the implications of MONUSCO’s gradual exit.

In her remarks during the launch and validation of the Terms of Reference at the Thursday, June 15 session in Goma, the head of MONUSCO office, Laila Bourhil warned "this is not a simple handing-over process but a transformation of the United Nations’ presence in the DRC with the objective of consolidating and perpetuating MONUSCO’s achievements, particularly in the fields of security, protection of civilians and stabilization”.

The ceremony took place in the presence of the fifteen members who make up this committee, chaired by the Military Governor, Lieutenant-General Ndima Kongba Constant. The vice-presidency is awarded jointly to the head of MONUSCO office in Goma and to her counterpart from Beni office who was also present in the room.

The establishment of the integrated provincial transition team in Goma, comes after that of South Kivu and Ituri respectively on May 3 and June 14.

These new structures derive their genesis from the joint transition plan adopted in 2020 between the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and MONUSCO. This plan sets out the minimum conditions for the gradual and responsible withdrawal of the UN Mission. The mechanism had been developed in close collaboration with the Government and in consultation with the United Nations system and members of the civil society.

It includes eighteen milestones and 83 indicators as well as the identification of areas of intervention with the key, the respective levels of responsibility of the stakeholders as well as the deadlines for this collective march towards an organized transition which will make possible a gradual transfer of responsibilities assumed today by MONUSCO to the Congolese authorities. To do so, Laila Bourhil insists: "regular and joint communication will be necessary to ensure that the population of North Kivu is informed and have a good understanding and appreciation of the transition process".

This joint communication will be all the more necessary in an era of disinformation, misinformation and attempted manipulations consisting in spreading doubts, misleading and generating violence and hatred,” the head of office specified. 

Ms. Bourhil listed the major milestones, and noted in order of priority: firstly, security and the protection of civilians; secondly, monitoring of the existence of greater capacity to respond to threats against the protection of civilians and to resolve inter-communal conflicts; thirdly, disarmament and demobilization; fourthly, PDDRCS’s contribution in a sustainable reduction of the number of armed groups, and  the 15th one being  the organization of credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections to be held within the constitutional deadlines.

Let’s avoid stating the obvious

Closing the working session, the Military Governor, Lieutenant-General Ndima Kongba Constant urged the heads of the provincial institutions to faithfully debrief their constituents on the lessons learned during this workshop which is the starting point for the development of a roadmap that would prepare MONUSCO’s exit.

Lieutenant-General Ndima took the opportunity to remind the youth in the province to "avoid stating the obvious" and particularly insisting on the fact that "MONUSCO is not a foreign Force in the DRC".

The representative of the United Nations country team, Jean François Dubuisson, Head of the UNDP Field Office in Goma, considered that the establishment of such as unit constitutes “an important milestone in the transition process, urging local and provincial actors to become fully involved in an orderly and responsible transition".