Great Lakes Region
View the Great Lakes Region slideshow by clicking on the images above.
The Great Lakes Region, encompassing Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, north-eastern DRC, and north-western Kenya and Tanzania, has witnessed some of the direst conflicts on the African continent, rooted in longstanding tensions over ethnicity and citizenship, grievances over access to resources, including land and minerals. A total of 56 million people live below the national poverty line in the region, of which 47 million, or 71 per cent, are in the DRC.
Since early 2012, ethnic tensions and inequitable access to land have led to renewed violence in the east and north-east of the DRC, resulting in the internal displacement of more than 2.2 million. Almost 70,000 people have crossed the border into neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.
Thousands have become victims of violence and abuse, with women bearing the brunt of the conflict and subsequent humanitarian crisis. Sexual violence against women is one of the main features of the conflict, and between December 2011 and November 2012, the UN documented 764 cases, including 280 children.
Great Lakes Region
In Burundi, UNDP is using the 3x6 approach, an innovative response to the social and economic reintegration of ex-combatants, to help set the country on the path to sustainable development. The 3x6 approach assists communities to formulate development plans which articulate priorities such as rebuilding roads, health centres, schools, rehabilitating irrigation and marshlands and other projects. Critical community infrastructure is therefore re-established, benefiting all community members regardless of whether or not they participate directly. UNDP has implemented the approach in Burundi since late 2010 and since then, a total of 12,437 ex-combatants, returning refugees, internally displaced persons and vulnerable households in host communities have benefitted.
In the eastern DRC, UNDP programmes aim to build peace among communities and help them recover fom conflict through job creation and access to basic services, including justuce. UNDP is also providing medical support and helping to empower women and girls who have endured rape. UNDP has established 12 multifunctional community centres in North and South Kivu provinces, two of the areas most affected by conflict which offer mediation, literacy classes, financial advice, work-skills training and other services to more than 4,500 people. Of these participants, 2,000 have joined a community credit union where they learned techniques to save money and were able to access microloans.
In February 2013, 11 African countries (Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, the DRC, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania) and the UN signed on to the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Great Lakes Region, a comprehensive plan to tackle violence and create conditions for peace and development. UNDP's support to the Region will therefore focus on recovering livelihoods and reducing vulnerability in support of the Framework's implementation.
Map of the Region
- 27 Sep 2013: Helen Clark and CAR Prime Minister discuss country's recovery
- 24 May 2013: UN and World Bank chiefs tour Great Lakes region to accelerate peace consolidation
- 30 Oct 2012: International community commits more than $2 billion to accelerate Burundi’s development progress
- 12 Jul 2012: Rwanda: Women helping lead country’s transformation
- 20 Apr 2012: Northern Uganda: Peace and incomes help to boost recovery
- 11 Apr 2011: Security returning to DR Congo