Part two: Inter-Agency Appeals
People in need
2.6 million
People targeted
1.5 million
Requirements (US$)
585 million
Type of appeal
Refugee Response Plan
Refugees targeted
Host community targeted
Countries covered
Angola, Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia

Analysis of the context, crisis and needs

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains one of Africa’s most complex and long-standing humanitarian crises. Ongoing conflicts in eastern DRC, as well as intercommunal violence across different areas of the country, continue to cause forced displacement within DRC and into neighbouring countries. This has come with tragic loss of life, widespread sexual violence against women and girls, protection risks for the most vulnerable, including children and young people, and destruction of communities. The situation is further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ebola and measles outbreaks and severe food insecurity. It is compounded by natural disasters including the 2021 volcanic eruption in the east of the country. Within a fragile socioeconomic context, development challenges and continuous instability characterized by serious threats by armed groups, the underlying drivers of displacement and humanitarian need are expected to persist.

During 2021, nearly 962,000 Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers were being hosted across the African continent, with the majority living in the seven neighbouring countries that form part of the inter-agency Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) for the DRC Situation: Angola, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. Asylum-seekers have mostly fled from eastern areas of North and South Kivu and Ituri Provinces, as well as from Kasai, Haut Katanga and Tanganyika Provinces.

New Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers require urgent protection and basic assistance, while those in protracted situations – many for decades – remain in need of solutions and humanitarian support. RRP partners promote self-reliance with the aim of reducing dependence on humanitarian assistance, but this process is slow and mostly underfunded. Therefore, most Congolese refugees continue to rely on multisector humanitarian programmes, and there is an urgent need to increase opportunities for complementary humanitarian-development nexus interventions.

In many host countries, refugee settlements and camps have reached or exceeded capacity; the available basic services are stretched to their limit, including those for affected members of host communities. Food insecurity across the region remains a growing concern for refugees and host communities, compounded by food ration cuts in refugee camps and settlements due to underfunding. Where possible, inclusion into national and local basic and social services remains vital to ensure refugees meet their basic needs and have equal access to quality services, as well as livelihood opportunities. Reports continue of incidents of discrimination and xenophobia in some refugee-hosting countries, which highlights the need to intensify work on social cohesion and peaceful coexistence, improve accountability, address prejudice, and include both refugee and local communities in decision-making.

Projected situation in 2022 and beyond

Moving into 2022, it is expected that in addition to ensuring protection for all refugees and asylum-seekers, there remains a need to continue delivering basic services and humanitarian programmes for the surrounding populations, and promoting resilience and linkages with development programmes. Countries in the region have demonstrated commitment to maintaining open borders for asylum-seekers, and Congolese are expected to continue benefiting from safe access to asylum and international protection in 2022. Governments implemented border closures in 2020 and 2021 as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19, but in most cases refugees and asylum-seekers continued to be granted access to territory. In situations where this may not be the case, RRP partners are committed to engaging with governments to ensure asylum-seekers still have safe access to territory.

Some host countries – Uganda being a key example – have adopted policies allowing refugees freedom of movement, and the right to work, establish a business, own property and access national services, including primary and secondary education and health care. Some host countries have also taken active steps to provide refugees with land for agriculture and opportunities to engage in the local economy, while others have pledged to strengthen asylum and enhance refugee protection and solutions. These enabling environments promote resilience and increased self-reliance and serve as good practice for the region.

In contrast, some host countries still impose restrictions on freedom of movement, and the right to work, land and property rights, and access to education and justice. RRP partners will continue to advocate for these restrictions to be lifted and for the adoption of policies in the spirit of the GCR that mirror good practices in the region, such as the Southern African Development Community commitments to improve protection of refugees and asylum-seekers.

With regards to solutions, a modest number of Congolese voluntarily repatriated in 2021, and it is anticipated that others will return in 2022, mainly from Angola and Zambia. Yet, the majority of Congolese refugees are expected to remain in their countries of asylum. Resettlement is a possibility for some, but spaces remain very limited. Therefore, local socioeconomic integration remains the most appropriate solution for most Congolese refugees. Meanwhile, for the majority of Congolese refugees and asylum-seekers still living in camps and settlements, the need for site expansion, improved infrastructure and expanded services in camps and settlements will continue into 2022.

DRC RRP: Evolution of needs and requirements

Response priorities in 2022

In the spirit of the GCR and in line with the Refugee Coordination Model (RCM), host governments will be supported to provide protection and assistance to refugees in their territory and to ensure a comprehensive refugee response. Partners will aim to address the immediate needs of new arrivals, including prevention of expulsion and deportation, and to provide protection and solutions to those in protracted situations. Partners will also seek to assist members of host communities through integrated services, benefiting both refugee and host communities. Particular attention will be paid to identifying and improving opportunities for the most vulnerable, including children, youth and women, as well as for people with specific needs, including those with disabilities.

Protection priorities in 2022 include the prevention and risk mitigation of and response to gender-based violence; strengthening child protection through community-based approaches; registration and documentation support; and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. Voluntary repatriation to DRC will be facilitated, where conditions allow. Local integration will continue to be supported where conditions allow, while the cases of people who need resettlement will continue to be processed.

Subject to resources available, partners will seek to adhere to minimum standards of assistance, while strengthening approaches that are accountable to affected populations and localized. Support to communities will include maintaining and improving medical services; enhancing nutritional status; addressing food insecurity through in-kind and cash assistance; improving shelter and basic infrastructure; rehabilitating and constructing water and sanitation facilities; and ensuring quality education through training, infrastructure support and basic supplies. Preparedness and response for the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other health epidemics, will continue to be included in operations and mainstreamed into regular programming.

Partners will seek to mitigate environmental impacts and address clean energy needs by facilitating and promoting the use of energy-saving stoves and alternative fuels, including solar energy where funds allow. Tree-planting will be expanded in the vicinity of camps and settlements alongside awareness-raising initiatives to address environmental degradation and promote peaceful coexistence with host communities.

Humanitarian assistance remains an essential component of the DRC RRP. However, there will be an increased focus on developing sustainable livelihoods opportunities and promoting socioeconomic inclusion in line with the GCR. This will include, but is not limited to, strengthening partnerships with development actors and international financial institutions to ensure a humanitarian-development nexus approach. The aim is to achieve greater impact by responding to immediate needs while at the same time building resilience and self-reliance.

Further reading


  1. UNHCR Operational Data Portal - DRC Situation
  2. Refugee Coordination Model - Updated Refugee Coordination Guidance Note