UNHCR’s protection strategy in the Republic of the Congo is built around the High Commissioner’s five strategic directions. In 2021, the Office will continue to build on previous achievements, to improve the protection environment, while continuing to provide essential services and pursue durable solutions for people of concern. This will entail ensuring continuous access to basic needs and essential services such as health care, education, water, sanitation and hygiene.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown and border closures adversely impacted an already ailing economy in the Republic of the Congo. Markets that allowed economic activity and exchange with neighboring Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic were closed, impeding the livelihoods of people of concern and host communities. Projections show an expected 3.2% contraction in economic activities, meaning the economic outlook may worsen in 2021.
In 2021, UNHCR will continue to advocate for the comprehensive inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers in the national health strategy, as well as access to land. To this end, the Congolese Government has demonstrated a commitment to collaborate with UNHCR and the broader humanitarian community through compliance with good practices from the Global Compact on Refugees. The humanitarian-development-peace nexus will be strengthened at the national level through enhanced partnerships with development actors and international financial institutions.
As part of the #IBelong Campaign, UNHCR will also continue to support the Congolese Government, which has already demonstrated its willingness to fight against statelessness by adhering to the various related conventions and making firm commitments in accordance with the global action plan to combat statelessness.
Likewise, with the Congolese Government having demonstrated its willingness to adhere to the Kampala Convention by expressing its intention in 2014 and initiating a bill on IPDs, UNHCR will therefore continue in 2021 to provide support to finalize the ratification of the convention and its subsequence promulgation into national law.
In 2021, UNHCR will focus on:
- Improving the protection framework by reinforcing national capacities, strengthening registration and documentation (for both refugees and IDPs), and promoting durable solutions (with an emphasis on voluntary repatriation) and income-generating activities.
- Supporting the Government in preventing statelessness with a target of nearly 5,200 birth certificates to be issued.
- Providing refugees, asylum-seekers and IDPs with essential services to meet their basic needs.
- Protecting 6,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from violence and exploitation, in both gender-based violence cases, and child protection activities.
- Enhancing efforts to leverage development partners’ involvement in securing durable solutions for people of concern.