During the last decade, conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)--one of the world's poorest countries--led directly or indirectly to the deaths of an estimated 5.4 million Congolese. A U.S.-supported peace process began in 2001, and the country's first democratically elected president in 40 years was inaugurated in 2006. However, conflict in the country has continued. In enacting the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006 (the Act), Congress established 15 U.S. policy objectives that address humanitarian, social development, economic and natural resource management, governance, and security concerns in the DRC. The Act mandated that GAO review U.S. programs in the DRC that support these policy objectives. In this testimony, based on its December 2007 report, GAO identifies (1) U.S. programs and activities that support the Act's objectives, (2) major challenges hindering the accomplishment of the objectives. For its report, GAO obtained and analyzed program documents for seven U.S. agencies--the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Defense (DOD), Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor (DOL), State, and the Treasury and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). GAO also met with officials of these agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGO) active in the DRC.
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