1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2556 (2020), in which the Council requested me to report to it 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/2021/306) and covers the period from 16 March to 15 September 2021.
II. Major developments
A. Spread and implications of the coronavirus disease pandemic
2. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continued to adversely affect the Great Lakes region. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the signatory countries of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework had reported a total of 3,702,375 confirmed cases and 103,465 fatalities as at 14 September. In July, the United Republic of Tanzania resumed reporting of COVID-19 cases in the country, which had been suspended since May 2020. Several countries experienced another wave of the pandemic, leading to renewed containment measures, including partial lockdowns, although borders were mostly kept open. Meanwhile, vaccine shortages, among other factors, continued to limit the administration of vacc ines in the region. As at 14 September, WHO reported that a total of 27,032,479 vaccine doses had been administered in 12 of the 13 signatory countries, amounting to an estimated 6 per cent of the total population in the region.
3. The socioeconomic impact of the pandemic remained a cause for concern. While the economies of the signatory States of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework were expected to rebound in 2021, per capita incomes are, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2025. The slow roll-out of vaccinations in many countries, which is partly attributable to high costs, could further undermine economic growth, with IMF estimating that broad coverage is not expected before the end of 2023. In addition, the number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to increase in a context of rising food prices, high unemployment rates and mounting debt.