Minister for Foreign Affairs Announces More Active Role for Ireland in Great Lakes Region of Africa
“The consolidation of peace in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi which are just emerging from years of conflict represents a crucial task for all in the international community.”
“Ireland is already extensively engaged in supporting the building of peace in the Great Lakes region. Joining the MDRP will enable Ireland to make a direct contribution to one of the most important peace-building tasks facing the Great Lakes, namely assisting former combatants and their families to return to their communities and resume normal lives.”
The decision to join the MDRP was also warmly welcomed by the Minister of State with responsibility for Development Cooperation, Mr. Conor Lenihan, T.D.
“Ireland has long been active in the provision of humanitarian and development assistance to countries of the region. Supporting the MDRP will be complementary to our overall development activities in the Great Lakes region, through our bilateral development programme in Uganda and the considerable emergency and recovery assistance Irish Aid has provided to countries such as the DRC, Burundi and Rwanda over recent years”, stated the Minister of State.
The MDRP is a partnership involving the countries of the Great Lakes region, donors, the UN, and the World Bank which administers the Programme. The MDRP coordinates international and donor support for demobilisation and reintegration activities in the Great Lakes region and explicitly addresses the challenge of demobilising and reintegrating child soldiers. The largest programme of its kind in the world, MDRP currently targets an estimated 350,000 former combatants in seven countries: Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. The Government is pledging initial support of €500,000 to the multi-donor trust fund, with a target of $300 million, to which participating donors contribute.
22nd November 2006