The collaboration between the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and AWEPA dates back nearly 20 years. In the beginning, this collaboration was primarily dedicated to capacity building for new parliamentarians elected during the transition period between the Second and Third Republics.
Today, AWEPA’s focus lies in facilitating political exchange between the DRC Parliament and other parliaments in the Great Lakes Region. This process is carried out in view of a regional context characterised by political, security and humanitarian crises. As such, the cooperation programme between AWEPA and the Parliament is largely devoted to the prevention of internal and external conflict through capacity building and parliamentary diplomacy.
During 2015, the general objectives of AWEPA’s programme with the DRC Parliament were to contribute to capacity building and conflict prevention.
The specific objectives for this period were:
- To strengthen the capacities of members of the Parliamentary Commissions responsible for the Environment, the Economy and Foreign Affairs, specifically in the field of environmental protection with respect to the issues raised during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21);
- To strengthen the capacities of members of the Commissions responsible for Foreign Affairs in the fields of parliamentary diplomacy with a view to conflict prevention and resolution.
Example of activities
Among other activities, AWEPA organised a large-scale Seminar on Environmental Protection on 11 October 2015 at the initiative of the Environmental Commissions of both chambers of the DRC Parliament. This seminar aimed to deepen the parliamentarians’ knowledge surrounding environmental challenges, climate change and the evolution of the international negotiations carried out between the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 20) in Lima in 2014.
This seminar paved the way for a number of activities, during which the Congolese parliamentarians defined a parliamentary plan of action and a number of strategies in the run up to COP 21, which was attended by a delegation of 12 MPs and five parliamentary advisors from DRC.
AWEPA carries out capacity building activities in close collaboration with the DRC Parliament. Through AWEPA’s work, the Parliament is strengthened in a number of technical fields. This requires the input of international experts who share informed opinions.
Based on the learning outcomes of the Seminar on Environmental Protection, the Congolese parliamentarians were able to influence the Government’s environmental policy. As a result, the Government’s position reflected the necessary political consensus which will contribute to the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, and government measures in this field will transcend traditional political divides.