UNDP Administrator wraps up visit to DRC

15 Jun 2009

Kinshasa - Speaking in Kinshasa after wrapping up a four day official visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, also known as DRC, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark spoke of need for a peace dividend and the participation of women at all levels of society and government.

“It is important to recognize that a lot of the progress is being made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly the progress made in relations with the neighbors in the East, which is making it possible to look ahead to a longer term settlement of the issues,” said Clark.   “We think it’s very important that in the West of the country, which is at this time settled, it’s important to have a peace dividend.  And in the East, the stabilization and reconstruction strategy should also be leading toward that peace dividend.” 

While in Kinshasa, Helen Clark met with Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito, Foreign Minister Alexis Tambwe Muamba, and other key ministers.  She then traveled to Goma and Rutshuru in North Kivu and met with the Governor of the North Kivu Province Julien Paluku Kahongya.

“We have had a great deal of discussion about the presence of armed groups and about the demobilization and reintegration of former combatants in society,” Clark said.  “The business of UNDP is to support countries building capacity and developing capacity. There are obviously very big jobs to be done in the supporting of governance in many areas.  We want to be able to support reform in the justice sector, the security system reform, the ability to deliver services and support the strategies for revitalization and diversification of the economy in the DRC."

Throughout her visit, Clark stressed the need for increased participation for women in all levels of government, local as well as national.

“What I hope to promote by coming here is the great importance of the participation of Congolese women at all levels of the society and government, to support the participation of women in the electoral and political process, to support the empowerment of women and lifting their status in society so we can more effectively tackle more of the horrific issues of sexual and gender based violence,” Clark said. “This issue is of huge importance to the United Nations and I believe that one of the ways forward is to support the empowerment of women as part of the rebuilding of the fabric of a stable and peaceful  society community and families.”   

While in North Kivu, the Administrator flew to Rutshuru to visit an income generating program for women and to tour an IDP camp filled with Congolese who had fled the violence.

Clark begins a four-day official visit to Ethiopia this evening. 

Additional photos: Helen Clark's trip to Africa

Video: Helen Clark in the Democratic Republic of Congo