The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has long been one of world's neglected crises. In February I wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, in support of the UN's ambitious 2006 Humanitarian Action Plan for the DRC, which aims to address better the enormous unmet needs across the country. In this letter I called on other national governments to increase their humanitarian aid to the DRC in the same way that the UK has done. The UK has committed £60 million to the Action Plan over two years.
I visited DRC in September to meet the two presidential candidates in the run up to the second round of elections. I used this visit to call again on other donor countries to increase their support to DRC, in support of a similar plea from Jan Egeland, the UN's Humanitarian Co-ordinator.
DFID and FCO staff make regular representations in DRC, in national capitals and in the institutions of the EU for more, better and longer term development assistance to the DRC. As well as more development assistance to DRC, we need it to be better and more effective. The UK is leading efforts in DRC to improve donor working and impact. For example, in the transport sector we have used our planned support to reach agreement among all major donors on integrating critical maintenance elements into all future roads programmes. We are also trying to find ways of rapidly expanding access to basic social services in the future. These are practical ways to show how we can scale up impact in DRC and give donor partners the confidence to increase their support. We are also working with bilateral and multilateral partners to develop more co-ordinated and coherent strategies for post elections assistance to DRC.
The UK's programme of development assistance has increased rapidly in recent years, from £5.6 million in 2001-02 to an available package of £62 million this financial year. We plan to continue increasing this, so long as the peace process remains on track.