On June 29th, the Security Council welcomed the Secretary General’s ‘Regional Strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army’ (‘UN Regional Strategy’ or ‘Strategy’). The United Nations Office on Central Africa (UNOCA) led the development of the Strategy, which had been requested by the Security Council, and consulted widely within the UN system, the AU, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) while drafting. UNOCA’s careful consultations, transparent process, and collaborative approach yielded impressive results.
The response from local activists and international NGOs to the Strategy was clear – the UN got the elements right. The Strategy’s five goals are thorough and comprehensive: 1) operationalization of the AU’s Regional Cooperation Initiative (AU-RCI), 2) enhanced protection of civilians, 3) expansion of DDRRR activities to all LRA affected areas, 4) a coordinated humanitarian and child protection response, and 5) long-term peacebuilding, human rights, and rule of law development.
Yet progress towards each of these goals has been slow.
This report, commissioned by 11 organizations, provides an assessment of that progress to date, and recommendations for how to close the gap between the aspiration to end the scourge of the LRA and the current reality.
The report was drawn up on the basis of research carried out by a consultant from September-November 2012. Most of the information collected was received through interviews conducted by the consultant in person, by phone, or via email. Representatives from the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) as the lead agency in implementing the UN Regional Strategy were frequently consulted.
The report first introduces UNOCA, the main UN vehicle tasked with coordinating implementation of the UN Regional Strategy, and outlines its inherent limits and need for high-level political support. It then assesses progress toward achieving each of the Strategy’s five goals in turn. For each, the report analyzes progress made to date and outlines critical gaps in Strategy activities that must be corrected if the Strategy is to succeed.
For too long, the people of the DRC, CAR, South Sudan, and Uganda have suffered from unspeakable atrocities committed by the LRA. Their children have been abducted and murdered. Their families have been forced from their homes and their livelihoods destroyed.
Their communities have been torn apart.
The UN has shown great leadership, and invested a great deal, in developing a Strategy to support these populations and respond to the horrors of the LRA. It must not fall short now. There is too much at stake and too much to lose.