The AWEPA parliamentary support programme in Rwanda began in 2003 and has continued to focus on both members and staff of the Parliament. AWEPA’s support is mainly geared towards peace-building and conflict prevention, as well as parliamentary capacity building.
Since 2011, a significant proportion of the activities focused on strengthening relations between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as strengthening multilateral cooperation on major issues such as refugees, trans-boundary natural resource management, and the revitalisation of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC).
- Facilitate field visits for parliamentary commissions in view of ensuring law enforcement.
- Evaluate the functioning of international judiciary institutions dealing with the genocide of 1994.
- Analyse the legislative reforms and their impact on the improvement of the business environment.
- Contribute to the installation of a trust-based relationship between the Rwandan and Congolese Senates;
- Provide support to the endeavour of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) towards economic development and peace in the sub-region.
In 2013, the Rwanda and DRC programmes of AWEPA functioned in synergy in order to facilitate several bilateral and multilateral parliamentary meetings. An initial meeting between Rwandan and Congolese parliamentarians was organized in Kigali in May. On this occasion, the President of the DRC Senate travelled to Kigali, where he met his Rwandan counterpart and the President of the Rwandan Republic.
After this successful meeting, other opportunities for multilateral cooperation emerged. In light of its long-term experience working with parliamentary diplomacy in Central Africa, AWEPA successfully supported multilateral cooperation by facilitating key activities. A regional seminar on the protection of natural trans-boundary areas was organized in the DRC in September. In October, the President of the Rwandan Senate travelled to Kinshasa to reach an agreement on shared priorities with his Congolese counterpart. Lastly, in December, a regional seminar on the revitalisation of the ECGLC took place in Gisenyi, Rwanda.