The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) in 2018 for the period 2019-2022. The DRC’s second NAP provides a detailed overview that evaluates the implementation of the first NAP, addressing positive developments and ongoing challenges. The NAP is in tandem with the country’s National Gender Policy with its focus on advancing women’s and girls’ human rights during and after conflict and working against impunity for crimes perpetrated against women and girls. A post-conflict recovery framework also marks the NAP, as the document states that the general objective of the country’s second action plan is “to promote a secure environment that guarantees the fair inclusion of women, men and young people in consolidating peace in the DRC” (p. 10). The NAP identifies 11 objectives, which are compiled under four thematic priority axes: inclusion; prevention; protection; and recovery. While the NAP has a detailed implementation matrix, with specific actions and indicators, it does not have an allocated budget.
The DRC’s second NAP is preceded by one another NAP, adopted in 2010, without a specific period of implementation. The DRC’s second NAP includes a standalone chapter that serves as a status report for the findings of the implementation of the first NAP, including lessons learned and best practices. Specifically, the NAP states that implementation suffered from a “low awareness of NAP among the general public; poor uptake of NAP by the government; weak support from partners in the implementation of the NAP; and non-inclusion and lack of integration of young women and women living with disability [sic] in the implementation of the NAP,” among others (p. 17). As such, the second NAP is more detailed and substantive, with the inclusion of an implementation matrix that incorporates quantifiable measures into the action plan. Furthermore, the second NAP highlights the importance of disarmament by including “control and reduction of the circulation of small arms and light weapons” as an objective under the second priority axis of prevention.
The DRC reported on the implementation of its NAP, as well as WPS commitments, in its national reporting for Beijing+25 and in preparation for CSW64 (2020). Specifically, the country included the following among its achievements (p. 46):
- The establishment of the national secretariat for the implementation of Resolution 1325 in 2015 for better coordination;
- The establishment of Provincial Secretariats 1325 in 21 out of 26 provinces;
- The strengthening of the capacities of various members of these committees at both the national and provincial levels;
- The participation of women in the various dialogues, particularly the OAU City Dialogue or the African Union City Agreement for the organization of peaceful, credible and transparent elections in the DRC (61 women out of 262 participants or 23.2%); global and inclusive political agreement of the interdiocesan center commonly known as the CENCO Agreement or New Year’s Eve Agreement (3 women out of 29 participants or 10.3%);
- Since 2017, the country has been working to install community early warning mechanisms in the 26 provinces of the DRC, which include men and women of all categories. In addition, as part of police reform, the DRC is striving to expand the establishment of local security councils that include men and women in the prevention and fight against insecurity.
The DRC gained independence from Belgium in 1960, after decades of colonial rule. The country went through a civil war that lasted from 1997 and 2003, resulting in five million casualties. Women were disproportionately impacted by wartime atrocities, with mass rape used as a weapon of war. The DRC has since experienced sporadic acts of violence that continue to mark everyday life in the country. Armed groups are still active in the country’s eastern provinces, and the political situation in the DRC remains volatile due to the uncontrolled flow of small arms and light weapons into the country. In 2019, UNHCR noted that there are over 5 million internally displaced people inside the DRC, while, as of February 2020, over 918,000 refugees and asylum seekers from the DRC were being hosted in African countries.