Stabilization Strategy (ISSSS)

Stabilization Strategy (ISSSS)


Both the ISSSS and STAREC were developed in 2008-2009 to consolidate the security and political gains from the 2008 Goma accords and the 2009 Peace Agreements between the GoDRC, the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) and 14 local armed groups. The ISSSS is designed to support STAREC and to deliver tangible peace dividends and reinforce political progress. 

In 2013, following a request by the Security Council, a revised strategy was developed for 2013-2017, based on the lessons learned from the first phase (2008-2012). 

Since its inception, the ISSSS has become a key instrument to harmonize and coordinate the stabilization interventions of the international community and GoDRC. 

Click here to open the revised ISSSS.

Stabilization approach

The revised ISSSS (2013-2017) adopts a radically different approach of stabilization based on the lessons learned from the review of the first phase (2008-2012) during which 69 projects worth 369 million USD were implemented. This shift in approach is based on the fact that despite large-scale investments, armed groups continue to proliferate in Eastern DRC and cause major threats to civilians, their livelihoods and general instability, in addition to a widespread mistrust between the communities and the state. In particular, the review concluded that military responses and technical solutions are insufficient to address the complex conflict dynamics in Eastern DRC which relate to an interplay of security dilemmas, mobilization around land and identity, the exploitation of natural resources and regional dynamics. 

Instead, the contextual understanding of communities affected by conflict is placed at the heart of the revised ISSSS, which aims to transform the conflict by addressing the political and structural drivers of conflict in Eastern DRC based on a solid conflict analysis. By doing so, it seeks to tackle the deeper root causes of the conflict (such as patrimonialism, fragmented identities, socio-economic pressure, poverty and access to land) rather than provide a merely reactive response after conflicts have occurred. More precisely, stabilization is defined as ‘an integrated, holistic, but targeted process of enabling state and society to build mutual accountability and capacity to address and mitigate existing or emerging drivers of conflict, creating the conditions for improved governance and longer term development’. 

ISSSS Pillars

The revised ISSSS remains a holistic five pillar structure in order to address multi-sectorial and multidimensional challenges. The pillars have however been restructured to address conflict dynamics in an integrated approach. It is this integrated process that seeks to mobilize the communities and the state around a common framework that is both top down – enabling the state to deliver, and bottom up – empowering communities to hold the state accountable. It is also targeted through its concentration in 13 Priority Zones validated jointly with the GoDRC.

The Integrated Program Framework for the ISSSS consists of five core objectives:
1. Democratic Dialogue: Support national and provincial governments to advance peace processes and implement key commitments under existing agreements. 
2. Security: Reduce threats to life, property and freedom of movement. 
3. Restoration of State Authority: Progressively restore and strengthen public security, access to justice and administrative services.
4. Return, Reintegration and Recovery: Support the secure return and durable socio-economic reintegration of internally displaced persons and refugees in their place of origin, and contribute to local economic recovery.
5. Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV): Ensure a coordinated response of all those involved in combating sexual violence, in the implementation of the Comprehensive Strategy on Combating Sexual Violence, with a view to fight impunity, and improve prevention and response.

Gender Strategy

To ensure an effective gender-responsive approach to the ISSSS programming, the ISSSS Secretariat created the ISSSS Gender Guidelines which will support all members of the Secretariat as well as the different funding boards and all implementing partners with practical technical advice on how to ensure the ISSSS activities are gender responsive. 

Central to the ISSSS Gender Strategy is the requirement to dedicate a minimum of 15% of all financing to gender responsive outcomes, and, thus far, all call for proposals have included this requirement. It is believed that, by more systematically tracking funds allocated to promoting gender equality, the specific needs of women, girls, boys and men within communities will have a more significant impact through the ISSSS interventions.

1. An overview of the gender and stabilization normative framework; 
2. Gender principles within each of the five pillars of the ISSSS; 
3. Standard Operating Procedures on gender mainstreaming within the program cycle;  
4. Guidance on gender responsive budgets.

The gender guidelines are supported by practical examples to support stakeholders’ understanding of key concepts. This document was shared with other Gender Advisors in other peacekeeping missions as well as UNHQ and UN Women to ensure it is harmonized with existing tools. 

ISSSS within the Global Peace and Security Policy Framework

The ISSSS is closely aligned with new policy approaches promoted by the United Nations Head Quarters following a number of high-level reviews conducted in 2015 related to UN peace operations, peacebuilding architecture, the women, peace and security agenda, as well as the youth, peace and security agenda. The ISSSS is in line with the main conclusions of those reviews: peace operations need to focus on politics, people, and partnerships; a comprehensive approach is needed, both in terms of actors and scope, to sustain peace; women and youth’s engagement and voice is critical in any efforts to create a future free of insecurity and conflict and to avoid manipulation of those groups. In particular, the recognition that lasting peace can’t be achieved solely through military and technical engagements but through political solutions, is at the heart of the ISSSS.

High-level reviews: