Consultative Conference on Peace Agreements and Conflict Minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Many initiatives have been implemented to try and end the DRC conflict since 2008. Most of these initiatives have had only marginal successes. The key aspect of the conflict that these initiatives have failed to resolve has been how to stop the illegal exploitation of mineral resources by the different local and external armed groups. There is good evidence that resources and civil war are causally linked in the DRC. The control and access to mineral resources are among factors that contribute to fuelling instability in the DRC. Conflict minerals and bad resource management are seen as major factors that hinders peace and democracy in the DRC. Beside the conflict minerals in the east of the country, President Kabila’s government has also been involved in dubious mineral deals in the Katanga province selling minerals below the market pric

The international community responses have been geared toward stopping aggression between states, and to controlling or limiting the spread of warfare without trying to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict. Inadequate responses to the conflict minerals in the Congo have resulted in inadequate interventions. Following the signature ceremony, fighting has redoubled in the eastern part of the Congo. The national Congolese army (FARDC), supported by the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), and up to 50 rebel groups continue to alternatively conquer and relinquish large areas in North and South Kivu provinces, each time forcing thousands civilians to flee the violence.

This Conference  fits and builds on to SARW’s programme of work in the DRC. SARW in the DRC promotes governance of minerals that is transparent and accountable. SARW has promoted the renegotiation of mining contracts, the review of the mining code and very recently has started the monitoring of the illegal exploitation of Gold in the east of the country. These efforts have contributed to raising awareness and putting pressure on the DRC government. SARW’s Conflict Gold project undertaken by Congolese researchers has demonstrated that the illegal trade in Gold is promoted by government agents than by rebels and militias. This demonstrates the need to involve and listen to Congolese people when solutions to their problems are being designed.