The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has adopted two National Action Plans (NAP) to date, in 2010 and 2018. While the first NAP did not have a specific time frame or period of implementation, the second NAP is to be implemented for the period of 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 DRC 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. However, in 2019, the transfer of power from former President Joseph Kabila to then Opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi marked the first peaceful transition of power in DRC’s history. The DRC has since suffered sporadic acts of violence that continues 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. According to the UN, there are 4.5 million internally displaced persons in the DRC and over 800,000 DRC refugees in other nations.
There is a persistent gender imbalance in all the domains of economic, social, cultural and political development in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Congolese women constitute 53% of the DRC population: their visibility and contribution to food security for the survival and running of the Congolese society is undeniable and internationally recognised. However, access of women to decision-making tables, as well as to national economic resources and production factors remains very limited. The situation has deteriorated in latter years with the negative effects of wars in repetition, to the current persistent insecurity. In fact, 61.2% of Congolese women live underneath the poverty threshold against 51.3% of men.