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Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is rich in timber, oil and minerals and is an emerging frontier for agribusiness. Working with Congolese civil society, we are campaigning to ensure the country’s natural resources are managed in the interests of its people and to prevent destructive deforestation in the name of profit.

Global Witness has been campaigning for over 15 years alongside Congolese NGOs for the responsible management of the DRC’s forests, copper and cobalt, gold and other mineral resources in the interests of its people rather than elites, cowboy companies and warring factions.

Responsible mineral sourcing

In eastern DRC, we have exposed how armed groups profited from the mineral trade by directly exploiting artisanal mines or levying illegal taxes. Although conflict and trading dynamics have changed in recent years, armed taxation and control of mining areas reportedly persists in some mineral-rich areas.

Our influential research into the exploitation of DRC’s resources has helped prompt both domestic and international responses. The US passed landmark legislation in 2010, known as the Dodd Frank Act Section 1502, requiring US-listed companies to carry out supply chain due diligence on minerals sourced from DRC and nine neighbouring countries. The EU has also brought in a Responsible Sourcing Regulation and several other countries have adopted similar measures.

Investigating secret sales

Meanwhile, huge multinational mining companies are investing heavily in the country’s copper belt. Yet citizens have not seen the benefit of this boom as money paid to the state-owned mining company routinely goes missing.

Through our work to bring transparency to the oil, gas and mining sector and exposés into Congo’s secret sales, we have helped bring justice and accountability closer for those involved in suspect transactions. In late 2019 we wrote about the news of a probe by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office into commodity trader Glencore’s dealings in DRC, which we have been investigating for many years.

Protecting DRC’s forests

The Congo Basin forest - the world’s second largest rainforest and home to millions of people who depend on it for their survival - has long been under threat from industrial loggers.  Together with other civil society groups, we have campaigned for the maintenance and respect of DRC’s moratorium on the allocation of industrial logging concessions.

Our research into timber supply chains, including our reports Total Systems Failure and Buyers Beware, has shown that EU companies could be importing illegal timber from DRC. Our work has led to investigations under the EU Timber Regulation, a law that aims to curb EU imports of illegal wood. Today, we continue working to safeguard Congo’s forests through our campaign to cut off the financing behind forest destruction.

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Congo Forest

Total Systems Failure

We reveal systemic illegal logging by a major European company in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while Norway and France are on the brink of funding expansion of the country’s industrial logging sector