North Kivu: MONUSCO Chief Martin Kobler visits Rutshuru; Assesses Progress on “Islands of Stability”
Goma, 22 August 2014 – The Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Martin Kobler, on an evaluation tour of “Islands of Stability” in the eastern North Kivu province, visited the towns of Rutshuru and Kiwanja in Rutshuru territory on 20 August 2014.
The head of MONUSCO was accompanied by Abdallah Wafi, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary- General in charge of Operations in Eastern DRC; Julien Paluku, Governor of North Kivu; the US Ambassador, the British High Commissioner and other members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Upon arrival in Kiwanja, Mr. Kobler said the purpose of his visit was to evaluate the progress made so far in the restoration of State authority and the protection of civilians in these territories after the defeat of M23 and other armed groups.
The Special Representative explained that the Islands of Stability initiative is intended to kick-start the process of restoring State Authority, to provide technical support in order to enhance state capacity, and to support the government in its leadership role in the development of the Province and of the country as a whole. And that is why, he said, there is a reconfiguration of the mission which has brought more staff from the West to the East to better interact with the population in the implementation of the concept of the Islands of Stability and the Mandate.
He added that "The Islands of Stability" is meant to act as a quick response to a specific conflict in an attempt to stabilize the area and ensure the protection of civilians. He however emphasized that activities of Islands of Stability do not replace the Government or UN humanitarian and development agencies.
Mr. Kobler therefore called on the government, provincial and national, to put their hands on deck to make the concept a reality, because, as he put it, "the Islands of Stability is also one of the strategy /indication for the mission's exit". The Special Representative however added that "the mission will not leave behind a fragile but a stable Government in terms of security and development".
The Governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, in response said that the concept of Islands of Stability is a brilliant idea from MONUSCO and that the government was ready to support to make it a success.
The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in charge of Operations in the Eastern DRC, General Abdallah Wafi, said MONUSCO is leaving no stone unturned to make the concept a success. He said that staff members from different components of MONUSCO: United Nations Police, Corrections Unit, Civil Affairs, Child Protection and Military on the ground for constant interaction with the Territorial Administration, Civil Society, DRC National Police (PNC) and Armed Forces (FARDC) for capacity building through training and coaching for the protection of civilians, which is one of the pillars of MONUSCO Mandate.
He mentioned MONUSCO's enormous logistical support efforts for the FDLR voluntary disarmament process and the Mission's resolve to assist in putting the country back on its rails. Finally, he called for good collaboration, dialogue and mutual co-existence amongst population and ethnic groups.
The US Ambassador in his remarks lauded MONUSCO for the good initiative which, he said, had encouraged them in the construction of a school as part of their contribution to the development of North Kivu.
Earlier, the Territorial Administrator for Rutchuru also appreciated the Island of Stability initiative in his territory and called on MONUSCO to provide the staff with necessary logistics to kick-start the process.
MONUSCO Staff in Kiwanja later presented their areas of intervention, collaboration and concerns to the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative and his delegation.
They were asked to make a list of needs and requests to be made available as soon as possible.
The Special Representative and his delegation later left Rutchuru heading to Walikale in continuation of his evaluation tour of the Islands of Stability in Eastern DRC.
Martha Biongo / PIO Goma