Stephen Cahill, Global Logistics Cluster Coordinator and Julien Marcheix, Logistics Cluster Desk Officer for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), flew to Kinshasa last week to meet with representatives of the logistics humanitarian community active in the country.

DRC is a country suffering a long-standing humanitarian crisis exacerbated by limited infrastructures, often in poor condition, which hamper access to the population in need of humanitarian assistance, mostly living in hard-to-reach, remote areas.

Logistics coordination is therefore crucial in order to allow for the efficient running of humanitarian operations and ensure access to the affected population.

The Logistics Cluster is operational in Kinshasa and in the provincial capitals of Bukavu, Goma, Bunia, Kalémie and Lubumbashi to coordinate the logistics response and to provide critical operational information.

Nevertheless, to be effective in such a complex operating environment and remain relevant in a longstanding crisis it is necessary to maintain the engagement of responding organisations and adjust the strategy to new and emerging priorities.

The mission of the Global Logistics Cluster to DRC was aimed at renewing commitment and work with all participating organisations on defining the Logistics Cluster in-country strategy for 2017.

In a meeting convened on 31 January with 30 staff members from 19 organisations, including OCHA and the Forum des ONGI, participants discussed the role of the Logistics Cluster and the way forward.

While the Logistics Cluster platform was unanimously recognised as crucial for DRC, participants agreed on the need for a new strategy.

It was therefore decided to prepare and disseminate a survey to collect information on common logistics issues and priorities. The survey will serve as a baseline to draft the new strategy, which will be defined by the end of March.

As donor engagement will be necessary in order to implement the new strategy, Mr. Cahill also met with a number of donors, namely: the Belgian Development Cooperation, DFID, EDA - Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, GIZ, JICA, OCHA and USAID to seek commitment to support the humanitarian community in DRC in the year to come.