Violence in the Bush: How International Peacebuilding Faces Land-use Conflicts Notes de l'Ifri, February 2010
Following the conflict in Ituri (1999-2003), the International Community deployed different peacebuilding programs in this north-eastern district of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Built around a concept of democratic transition at the national level, these programs have not always acknowledged the scale of local conflicts and the fragility of local institutions, which are both the targets and the relay of such programs.
Focusing in priority on the judicial system, international intervention has shown its limits and dysfunctionings. Operators have neglected the importance of land-use issues and the necessity of elaborating an integrated strategy for action to face this critical aspect. From 2006 onwards, some actions were set up in order to support local actors dealing with land-use issues, but these actions did not embrace the whole of the issue at hand: prevalence of customs, weakness of administration, limits of an institutional approach, political aspects and the minor role played by the civil society. However, a local initiative, the creation of the Ituri Land Commission, has emerged, which seems to propose an interesting way of preventing and managing land-use conflict. Its success is however dependent on its ability to be sustainable in time, and to integration of a wide spectrum of stakeholders, as a way of entrenching its legitimacy and stimulating the finding of innovative solutions to the issue of land-use conflicts.
Florence Liégeois is the Head of the Democratic Republic of Congo's program, RCN Justice & Démocratie ASBL
Thierry Vircoulon is Reseach Fellow at Ifri's Sub-Saharan Africa program.
This paper is published in French only – Violences en brousse : Le “Peacebuilding” international face au conflits fonciers