DRC peace process

The Network of African Women Parliamentarians and Ministers (REFAMP), International Alert's partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim to step up efforts to end the armed conflict in the country.

REFAMP, together with other civil society organisations, presented a memorandum on DRC to Ban Ki-moon and Jim Yong Kim in Kinshasa on 22 May 2013. The organisations voiced their concerns about the worsening conflict and urged the UN to tackle the rebel forces in the east of the country.

The civil society groups also urged for the inclusion of a gender dimension in the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework on DRC, signed by 11 nations on 24 February. In addition, they stressed the need to improve monitoring of the mineral trade and to put an end to illegal natural resource exploitation in the region. They welcomed the willingness of international organisations such as the World Bank to contribute to innovative partnerships in the reconstruction of the country.

In response, Ban Ki-moon noted that civil society had a crucial role to play in fostering local governance and consolidating the rule of law in DRC, and confirmed that efforts were being made internationally to produce a peace dividend. For his part, Jim Yong Kim highlighted a link between peace and development and pledged $1bn dollars in development aid for the Great Lakes region, including DRC.

The previous day in Kinshasa, civil society representatives met with Mary Robinson, the UN's special envoy for the Great Lakes region. They voiced concerns about whether the February peace agreement framework would be fulfilled, to which Robinson replied that it would only be respected if everyone plays his or her part.

After the meeting, Robinson met separately with REFAMP and other women's organisations. They discussed their shared willingness to involve women from all countries that signed the framework agreement and to give them a greater role in the monitoring, supervision and evaluation of the implementation of commitments made by their respective nations.

REFAMP is one of the partners on the 'Women, citizenship and peacebuilding' project, which International Alert and the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation have implemented together since 2011. The partnership with REFAMP is particularly focused on national advocacy aimed at increasing women’s political participation in the peace process. During the following months, the project will continue its advocacy work to request the DRC government to finalise the promulgation of the parity law and to prevent the purchase of votes.