Global Witness Briefing: Agenda for Reform in the Natural Resources sector of the DR Congo

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This Global Witness briefing sets out proposals for reforms in the DRC’s natural resource sector, covering the three key industries: mining, hydrocarbons and logging. Through their implementation the new government would show a clear commitment to ensuring the Congolese people benefit from the country’s natural wealth.

Agenda for Reform 2012 puts forward three key areas for reform for Congo’s legislators:

Transparency in the mining and hydrocarbons sector

The previous Congolese government secretly sold off lucrative mining assets to opaque offshore-registered companies. Some assets were sold for far less than most reported commercial estimates of their value. Global Witness believes that there should be much fuller disclosure of all the details relating to these sales and impartial investigations should be launched into any suspected cases of corruption. The new government should introduce legislation that would ensure competitive and transparent bidding for mining and oil assets, and guarantee the publication of all revenues generated from these sectors.

Establishing a minerals trade free from conflict in the eastern Kivu provinces

Armed groups and criminal networks within the Congolese army are financing themselves through illegal control of mines and trading routes in parts of eastern Congo. The Congolese authorities should ensure that recent domestic legislation making supply chain due diligence obligatory is fully implemented by all those involved in the minerals trade. In addition, the government should fulfil its commitment to remove the army from mine sites and prosecute those who are involved in mineral smuggling.

Maintaining the current freeze on giving out new large-scale logging rights

The freeze on giving out new large-scale logging rights should remain in place until steps are taken by Congo’s authorities to identify how land is used by local communities who rely on the forests for their livelihoods.

On March 22, UN radio station Radio Okapi interviewed Global Witness’s DRC Campaign Leader Daniel Balint-Kurti as part of a panel on its flagship programme Dialogue entre Congolais (Congolese Dialogue). The 45-minute programme on the widely-listened-to station centred around a discussion of the recent Global Witness briefing Agenda for Reform in the Natural Resources Sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo, outlining policy recommendations for the new Congolese parliament and government. Mr Balint-Kurti discussed the issues raised by the briefing with Lem’s Kamwanya, a representative of the Promines mining reform project, and Willy Kalengay, General Manager of Geopolis magazine.