Viewing cable 06BRUSSELS504

06BRUSSELS5042006-02-14 16:24:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Brussels
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1. (U) Summary.  At the launch of the Humanitarian Action 
Plan (HAP) for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 
February 13, the UN and EU called on donors to fund 330 
projects worth almost $682 million that will benefit 60 
million people in 2006.  In a taped address to the 
Ministerial Conference, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said 
that 1200 Congolese die each day as a result of the conflict 
and that "every penny" of the integrated, comprehensive plan 
is "desperately needed".  The amount called for in 2006 is 
over three times larger than the consolidated appeal of $220 
million in 2005 (less than two thirds of which was funded by 
donors).  End Summary. 
Need, expectations huge 
¶2. (U) Virtually every speaker added to the catalogue of 
despair in describing the Congolese tragedy: 
-- equivalent to one Asian tsunami every six months; 
-- four times as deadly as the Rwandan genocide; 
-- over 4 million deaths in the last six years (of which only 
1.5% as a direct result of violence); 
-- 16 million hungry; 
-- 1.664 million IDPs, with 14,000 newly displaced each month; 
-- 1.7 million recent returnees needing assistance; 
-- a 10-year drop in life expectancy since 1992 to just 43 
-- 3 million suffering from HIV/AIDS, with 900,000 new cases 
expected in 2006; 
-- 33,000 child soldiers (40% girls); 
-- 50% of schools destroyed in the war; 
-- infant mortality rates (128 dead per 1000 births) and 
mothers dying in childbirth (1289 per 100,000) among the 
highest in the world; 
-- most people living on under 50 cents a day; 
-- only 8% of the population with access to running water; 
¶3. (U) Speakers also noted that progress made towards holding 
the first free elections in 45 years, largely the result of 
intense efforts by the international community, had raised 
expectations among the Congolese people.  However, many 
speakers expressed concern that once the elections had been 
concluded, interest among the donors in DRC would wane. 
According to Special Representative of the Secretary-General 
(SRSG) William Swing, "exponentially expanding expectations" 
would emerge with successful elections and a dramatic 
improvement of the humanitarian situation would be critical 
for consolidating peace.  In the same vein, Belgium,s 
Development Minister Armand de Decker said that with 
democratically elected representatives the Congolese 
expectations would be gigantic and that failure to meet them 
would result in great despair. 
International Response Unclear 
¶4. (U) While acknowledging the HAP was sizeable, Deputy SRSG 
Ross Mountain observed that the UN appeal for Sudan was $1.5 
billion to assist 40 million people, including 680,000 
returnees (twice as much money to assist far fewer).  The 
International Rescue Committee,s Richard Brennan also 
compared assistance levels in various ongoing crises, noting 
that tsunami victims received on average $130 per capita and 
Iraqi victims $138 per capita in aid while Congolese victims 
received only $4 per capita. 
¶5. (U) In presenting details of the HAP, Deputy SRSG Mountain 
said that over 900 proposals worth $1 billion had been 
submitted for consideration, but not all had been selected. 
He outlined the three components of the plan as follows: 
-- 1) Saving Lives:  133 projects ($273 million) 
-- 2) Protecting Communities: 197 projects ($409 million) 
These projects will focus on education ($23 million), food 
($225 million), health ($155 million), logistics/coordination 
($15 million), nutrition ($22 million), protection ($59 
million), returns/reintegration ($120 million), shelter and 
nonfood items ($14 million), water/sanitation ($21 million) 
and emergency telecommunications.  Mountain said that 
protection activities would assist in reducing violence 
(particularly against women), arbitrary arrests, rape, mines, 
as well as demobilizing and disarming combatants and ensuring 
the army personnel was paid and fed in order to discourage 
looting and pillaging. 
-- 3) Promoting Stability:  a separate launch will take place 
this summer in Brussels 
This third component will link the relief efforts to 
reconstruction over a two-year period.  Peacebuilding 
activities will center on six high-impact projects to fast 
track poverty reduction and will also address thematic issues 
such as human rights, gender equality, HIV/ADIS, and ethnic 
¶6. (U) Oxfam International presented a briefing note that 
calculated the "fair share" of the 22 major donors -- based 
on gross national incomes -- in allocating the $682 million 
HAP appeal.  To meet the apportioned amounts -- U.S. ($275 
million), Japan ($107 million), Germany ($56 million), UK 
($45 million), France ($42 million), Italy ($34 million), 
Canada ($20 million), etc. -- Oxfam said that all countries 
would have to sizably increase their contributions in 2006. 
¶7. (U) Several delegations announced their 2006 intentions, 
as follows: 
-- European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian 
Issues Louis Michel said that the DRC was at the top of the 
EU,s list of priorities, stating that the Commission had 
committed 750 million euros for humanitarian activities since 
the beginning of the transition, including a pledge for 38 
million euros this year.  He said this represented 8% of 
ECHO,s budget for 2006.  (Note.  When adding in money for 
logistic support via ECHO flight, the total increases to over 
10%. End note.)  Most of ECHO,s funds are used to address 
health issues, overwhelming the largest killer in DRC, and 
are targeted to the conflictive Eastern regions.  Michel said 
that ECHO also supports the work of UNHCR in neighboring 
countries to care for refugees. 
-- Belgium said that the DRC is its top aid recipient and 
pledged 9.4 million euros for the following humanitarian 
activities:  food (4 million euros); violence reduction (1.9 
million euros); refugee returns (2.5 million euros); and 
500,000 euros into the pooled fund.  This amount exceeds 
Oxfam,s "fair share" calculation of $7.32 million for 
Belgium.  De Decker noted its role, along with the U.S., in 
fostering Good Humanitarian Donorship in DRC.  He mentioned 
that in 2007, Belgium would double the amount of its 
contribution to the pooled fund. 
-- Sweden announced an initial contribution of 10 million 
euros to the pooled fund and said it will channel an 
additional 7 million euros through international and 
non-governmental organizations, also exceeding its "fair 
share" of $7.29 million. 
-- The UK welcomed the HAP, particularly for its 
comprehensive analysis of the need, its focus on the 
continuum between relief and reconstruction, and its 
contribution to coordination.  The UK pledged approximately 
$50 million for humanitarian activities in each 2006 and 
2007, also in excess of its "fair share". 
-- Germany praised the HAP for its needs-based analysis and 
the coordinative framework it provided.  The German 
representative pledged 24 million euros for 2006, of which 11 
million euros will go to meet humanitarian needs such as 
water/sanitation and health. 
¶8. (U) Other countries did not announce specific amounts, but 
offered some ideas regarding the HAP and related issues: 
-- Speaking on behalf of the Acting USAID Administrator, the 
USEU Development Counselor expressed appreciation for the UN 
efforts to launch the HAP, recognized the humanitarian needs 
in the DRC and noted USAID will use the HAP to guide programs 
which address the critical needs outlined in the plan.  She 
then highlighted USAID's efforts in the DRC. 
-- France expressed its "astonishment" that the HAP was in 
English only, noting that DRC was the largest francophone 
country in the world.  France said it supported a favorable 
EU response to the UN,s request for a standby military force 
should the upcoming elections be accompanied by unrest.  The 
French representative said the pooled funding mechanism was 
useful, but said its methodological approach needed 
clarification.  She said the HAP would only succeed if there 
were an effective link to poverty reduction and the army 
reintegration process. 
-- Norway welcomed the pooled funding mechanism and said it 
would contribute a substantial amount (similar to its 2005 
contribution) without earmarks in 2006. 
-- Finland said it would use its EU Presidency to play an 
active role in raising awareness and funds for the DRC.  The 
Finnish representative said that his country,s contribution 
to DRC would be higher in 2006 than 2005. 
¶9. (U) In his closing remarks, UN Emergency Relief 
Coordinator Jan Egeland stressed that although the launch of 
the HAP was not intended as a pledging conference, he 
expected donors to communicate their firm intentions to him 
in the coming days and weeks.  He stressed that the UN would 
be transparent in recording and reporting back to donors on 
progress in implementing the HAP. 
¶10. (U) The hard facts provided by an array of UN and 
non-governmental organizations made a compelling case for the 
need to robustly support the Humanitarian Action Plan. 
However, if donor participation at the launch is any 
indicator of donor interest, this comprehensive appeal will 
be severely under-funded.  Despite labeling the conference as 
"ministerial", only the hosts provided that level of 
participation.  The U.S. can expect continued pressure from 
the EU to show as much interest in what Kofi Annan 
characterized as "the deadliest conflict since World War II" 
as it has shown for the victims of the tsunami and conflicts 
in Sudan and Iraq.