Security and Governance in the Great Lakes Region
Several recommendations emerged from the Franschhoek policy advisory group seminar of May 2015. Autocratic governance structures throughout the Great Lakes region hinder national socio-economic progress, and have spread instability. Regional states themselves should adopt measures to ensure public debate and accountability for their foreign policies. Central to any peacemaking strategy in Burundi must be efforts to address the divisions in the country’s ruling CNDD-FDD and opposition parties, as well as the violence of the CNDD-FDD’s Imbonerakure youth wing.Security sector reform throughout the region is a critical need. The Great Lakes region is a militarised space, in which political and military institutions have often become fused in ways that have hindered the development of democracy. Grassroots, bottom-up initiatives to promote peace and reconciliation, such as the work of local non-governmental organisations (including women’s organisations) and traditional conflict resolution processes, should be supported with financial, logistical, and technical resources. Governments in the region and their external supporters should strengthen the conflict resolution capacity of existing regional structures, such as the Southern African Development Community, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and the East African Community. The African Union and the United Nations should take the lead in efforts to address the challenges of the Great Lakes region, assisted by African powers such as South Africa. There must be a process of consultation and coordination among SADC, the AU, and other regional organisations, backed by the UN (including its technical bodies, such as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations [DPKO]), and the EU, to create a concrete roadmap and a unified strategy to resolve the impasse between the UN peacekeeping mission and the government of the DRC in order to forestall similar difficulties in the future.