The recent history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is marred by wars, both those fought across its borders, as well as inside its territory. Though the internal conflicts have a variety of local causes and triggers the results are the same: successive periods of violence shifting to different regions.
In mid 2019, increasing violence in the three astern provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri led to massive displacements. By the end of 2019 an estimated 4,5 million people were internally displaced in East Congo.
UNHCR declared a Level 31 (L3) Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) emergency in Ituri,
North, and South Kivu in November 2019 to enable the operation to increase staffing and receive the operational resources required to address the protection, assistance and coordination needs in the context of the rapidly deteriorating situation.
In addition to the internal displacements, the DRC continues to host over 524,000 refugees from Burundi, the Central African Republic, Rwanda and South Sudan. Multiple health crises present further challenges to the humanitarian situation in the DRC: Ebola, measles, the plague, cholera, and Covid-19. As a result of the recurrent internal displacements and influxes of refugees, the DRC has been in different humanitarian emergency situations for 9 out of the last 10 years. The impact of the continued instability and conflicts has placed a heavy toll on the population and the cyclical nature of the crises has pushed the limits of the capacities of the Government and humanitarian agencies in DRC.
In line with UNHCR’s Emergency Policy2 , and Policy on Evaluation3 , that stipulate a mandatory evaluation of all Level 3 (L3) emergency operations, this evaluation sets out to assess UNHCR’s emergency response to the L3 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) emergency in the DRC from November 2019 to November 2020, in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu provinces, for accountability and learning purposes. Given the state of recurrent emergencies in DRC, the evaluation seeks to build on previous evaluations – in particular the recent 2018 evaluation of the last L3 response.
The evaluation has the following objectives:
• To analyse the extent to which UNHCR provided a timely and effective response to the L3 IDP emergency in three eastern provinces in DRC, including enabling and constraining factors in this response.
• To provide insights on UNHCR’s operational role and ability to: fulfil its protection mandate in IDP emergencies (including the application of the 2019 IDP Policy); respond to particular IDP emergencies that require rolling response approaches and that occur simultaneously to refugee response situations, such as in DRC.
• To provide good practices and lessons learned, and recommendations on UNHCR’s emergency response capacity that can feed into the operationalization of the new Emergency Policy, due to be finalized before the end of 2021.