- The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2556 (2020), in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to report every six months on the implementation of the commitments under the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region and its linkages with the broader security situation in the region. It provides an overview of peace and security developments in the Great Lakes region since the issuance of the previous report (S/2020/951) and covers the period from 16 September 2020 to 15 March 2021.
II. Major developments
A. Spread and implications of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
While some countries in the Great Lakes region took prompt measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the pandemic continued to have a negative impact on the region. As of 15 March, the 13 signatory countries of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region reported a total of 1,894,326 confirmed cases and 58,520 fatalities, according to the World Health Organization. Following an increase in new infections between September and December 2020, the overall percentage of new cases decreased again from early January onwards. The number of reported fatalities rose at a slow yet steady pace.
Measures to curb the spread of the pandemic significantly affected the socioeconomic situation in the region. Whereas, prior to the pandemic, the 2020 gross domestic product forecast for the 12 States members of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) stood at 3.2 per cent, recent statistics by the International Monetary Fund and the Economic Commission for Africa confirm a sharp downturn, with a regional average of -2 per cent gross domestic product growth for 2020. According to the International Monetary Fund, a debt crisis is looming, despite the support provided by international financial institutions and bilateral public creditors. In November, Zambia became the first African country to default on debt owed to private investors since the start of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particularly adverse impact on women, many of whom have lost their livelihoods and have been victims of gender-based violence linked to lockdown measures. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has voiced concern over the negative impact on human rights across the region of some emergency measures taken to contain the virus.