Guarantors of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Great Lakes region rally behind coordinated efforts to contain COVID-19
Nairobi, 2 April 2020 - Representatives of the Guarantor institutions of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework (PSC Framework) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region held a consultative meeting via videoconference on 2 April to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, the meeting discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of the PSC Framework and the planned 10th Summit of the Regional Oversight Mechanism (ROM) scheduled to take place in the DRC this year, as well as the exchange on recent peace and security developments in the Great Lakes region.
The Guarantor institutions of the Framework agreement include the United Nations, the African Union, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Guarantors noted with grave concern the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential adverse impact on the countries and the people of the Great Lakes region.
If not well contained, they noted, the pandemic could cause considerable economic disruption, social tensions, and tremendous human suffering, significantly threatening vulnerable populations, including women and youth, who are already adversely impacted by the consequences of decades of conflict.
In attendance were Huang Xia, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region (Chair), and Zachary Muburi Muita, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) both from Nairobi. Also participating were Basile Ikouebe, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission for the Great Lakes region, joining from Bujumbura, Burundi, and Commander Fillipus Hashondili Nghilondwa, representing Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) from Gaborone, Botswana.
The Guarantors expressed condolences to the Governments and those bereaved as a result of the pandemic while wishing a speedy recovery to recuperating victims. They welcomed and expressed full support to coordinated efforts and joint decisions by the countries of the region to fight the pandemic, both at the national and regional levels, including the outcome of the meetings of Ministers of Health of SADC and of the East African Community held on 9 and 25 March, respectively.
Noting the multi-dimensional impact of the pandemic, the representatives of the Guarantors called on the signatory countries of the PSC Framework to take every measure to protect the most vulnerable populations and to ensure regional supply chains remain functioning through the free movement of goods.
In line with the appeals by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, the Guarantors expressed their readiness to engage international financial institutions and partners to mobilize the resources required to address the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. They also pledged to pro-actively support early recovery plans to sustain recent gains on the development track.