The United Nations Security Council is currently debating the extension of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, which is up for renewal on April 1, 2014. Together with Oxfam, World Vision, and five other non-governmental organizations, the Enough Project published an open letter to the Security Council giving recommendations for MONUSCO on civilian protection, governance, and the peace process.
On February 27, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R-CA), unanimously passed H.R. 2548, the Electrify Africa Act, which seeks to improve access for 68 percent of the population in the sub-Saharan region who as of 2010 had no access to electricity. Read More »
A group of NGOs working in Congo sent a letter to the World Bank, expressing concern about the lack of progress and development of the DDR plan know as "DDR III." The other NGO signatories to the letter include International Alert, Tearfund, Norwegian Refugee Council, Christian Aid, World Vision, Care, the International Rescue Committee, and ZoA International.
On Wednesday, the Enough Project and tech company Intel co-hosted a forward-looking panel on Responsible Sourcing and Investing in the Congo and the Great Lakes Region, attended by more than 90 policymakers, business leaders, and advocates. The panel was an opportunity for the private sector, NGOs, the United Nations, and African and partner governments to discuss how to move forward in building a responsible minerals trade and positive investment in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region. This dialogue, however, was only the beginning of the conversation. Read More »
Expansion enables sourcing of key mineral from North Kivu without involvement of illegal armed groups
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. and FOUNTAIN INN, S.C. – March 13, 2014 – Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI) and AVX Corporation (NYSE: AVX) today announced expansion of Solutions for Hope to the Province of North Kivu, the conflict-prone area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The innovative Solutions for Hope platform allows tantalum from the DRC to be used in Motorola Solutions and AVX products without the involvement of illegal armed groups, or “conflict free.” Tantalum is a material used to manufacture certain capacitors that enable electronic products and is derived from the mineral coltan, which is in rich supply in the DRC.
Solutions for Hope was launched in July 2011 in the DRC’s Katanga province. For the first time in the region, it created a “closed-pipe” supply model that has proven effective. The model uses a defined set of suppliers covering the mines, smelters, capacitor manufacturers (AVX) and end users (Motorola Solutions).
As a result, Solutions for Hope not only validates that “conflict minerals” do not enter the supply chain but also creates economic benefits for artisanal miners and their families. Thus, it supports the policies of the United States and the European Union because it avoids imposition of a de facto, country-wide embargo on the DRC that would impoverish non-conflict areas.
The same closed-pipe model will engage a mine (Mwangachuchu Hizi International (MHI)) and smelters (F&X and Global Advanced Metals) to initiate a flow of tantalum within a conflict-free framework in North Kivu that will help enable miners to work and support their families and generate transparent public revenue for the DRC.
New legislation requires U.S. companies to disclose the use of certain minerals, including tantalum, used in their products and to describe the process used to ensure that the purchase of these minerals does not fund the illegal armed groups operating in the DRC. Solutions for Hope is consistent with the requirements of this new legislation.
Solutions for Hope supports the development and implementation of several initiatives already under way in cooperation with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the government of the DRC to establish a conflict-free infrastructure in the DRC, such as:
The iTSCi Programme, which provides due diligence assessment on the upstream supply chain; baseline and continual evaluation of the circumstances around the mine; facilitation of stakeholder engagement; traceability of minerals produced and independent auditing
Certification of mines by German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) Certified Trading Chains
Validation and capacity building of conflict-free supply chains put in place by the government of the DRC with support from multiple donors, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the EU
Conflict-free smelter program by the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative
Due diligence guidance and implementation by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Group of Experts
A multi-stakeholder group with representatives from AVX, Motorola Solutions, Global Advanced Metals, the Enough Project, the Public Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade and the USAID implementing partner International Organization for Migration visited the MHI mine site and North Kivu provincial authorities in November 2013 to evaluate the feasibility of the project in the region.
An independent auditor has validated Solutions for Hope so it can be used by other companies that wish to demonstrate a responsible supply chain while continuing to use DRC-mined minerals.
North Kivu is a province bordering Lake Kivu in the eastern DRC. Its capital is Goma. The region is politically unstable and has been one of the flashpoints in military conflicts in the region since 1994.
Solutions for Hope demonstrates the commitment of AVX and Motorola Solutions to being in the vanguard of companies committed to humane, people-focused responses to the conflict-mineral problem.
Motorola Solutions and AVX will continue to work with stakeholders to evaluate the project so that lessons can be shared with other industries in other regions and Solutions for Hope can be expanded.
Willing King, deputy general manager - tantalum, AVX Corporation
“AVX is dedicated to achieving the highest standards for conflict-free supply chains using innovative and reliable methods that preserve and protect human rights around the globe. AVX has been and will continue to be a corporate leader and partner to establish groundbreaking practices that set an example for other companies to reach the goal of a conflict-free supply chain without victimizing the innocent.”
“While the problem of conflict minerals cannot be solved by one company or a single industry, Solutions for Hope underscores Motorola Solutions’ commitment to responsible sourcing from the DRC. We have helped to create this supply line to demonstrate that the DRC can and should remain a viable source of conflict-free minerals. This tightly controlled supply line will validate conflict-free tantalum for these capacitors and support the conflict-free verification systems being implemented in the DRC.”
“Building a conflict-free mine in the heart of eastern Congo is both a tremendous and courageous step in an area where deadly armed groups roamed just a year ago. Motorola Solutions, AVX, and MHI deserve serious praise for making this happen. We look forward to seeing concrete benefits for Congolese miners and communities from the project, as we have seen from other clean mines in the region.”
Diana Putman, USAID mission director for Democratic Republic of Congo
“The start-up of legitimate conflict-free mining in North Kivu is a significant milestone and supports USAID's long-term goal of establishing a more stable economic environment in eastern Congo that generates benefits for local populations and transparent revenue for the Congo’s government. These efforts demonstrate to the world that with the proper cooperation of governments, civil society and industry a truly conflict-free supply chain can be developed within some of the more historically troubled areas of the DRC. We applaud and support the efforts of companies that engage in conflict-free sourcing from the DRC.”
Motorola Solutions is a leading provider of mission-critical communication products and services for enterprise and government customers. Through leading-edge innovation and communications technology, it is a global leader that enables its customers to be their best in the moments that matter. Motorola Solutions trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “MSI.” To learn more, visit www.motorolasolutions.com. For ongoing news, please visit our media center or subscribe to our news feed.
AVX Corporation is a leading international supplier of electronic passive components and interconnect solutions with 26 manufacturing and customer support facilities in 15 countries around the world. AVX offers a broad range of devices including capacitors, resistors, filters, timing and circuit protection devices and connectors. The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: AVX).
About Solutions for Hope
Solutions for Hope is a platform that supports companies, civil society organizations and governments working together to responsibly source minerals from regions experiencing conflict and where market access is limited by opaque supply chains. The program manages risk for participating companies and offers recognition for participation. The Solutions for Hope model is being explored for further expansion to gold and to other locations where increased transparency, traceability and supply chain due diligence is sought for tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. The Solutions for Hope program is part of RESOLVE’s Solutions Network.
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2014, the Enough Project organized and co-hosted an event last Thursday with the United Nations Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict entitled “Elevating the Conversation on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict.” Read More »
This post was written by guest blogger and UNC-Chapel Hill student Danielle Allyn.
In the Kiswahili language, spoken by many in eastern Congo, methali (proverbs) play an important role in society. One such proverb reads Penye nia pana njia or, “Where there is a will, there is a way. Read More »
Congo: New Opportunity on DDR for Congo Peace Process
Goma, DRC and Nairobi, Kenya – Ahead of the March 5-6 meeting of the International Contact Group on Congo, the Enough Project released a new report today outlining challenges to the successful implementation of the national disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration, or DDR, strategy known as DDR III. The report, “Crafting a Viable DDR Strategy for Congo,” argues that resolving outstanding differences on DDR III must be a priority in the overarching regional peace agenda for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the UN, nearly 8,000 combatants from a range of armed groups have surrendered since the official defeat of M23 in November 2013. Of that 8,000, 2,674 combatants, accompanied by 3,084 dependents, surrendered to the Congolese national army, or FARDC, at the transit camp of Bweremana, in Masisi, North Kivu province. The Enough Project report states that an effective program to rehabilitate ex-combatants is hindered by questions concerning funding, the current security environment, the fate of M23, and where and how to resettle ex-combatants. Additionally, previous DDR programs have been ineffective in the inclusion of justice and accountability while incentivizing defection.
Aaron Hall, co-author of the report and Enough Project Field Consultant, says,
“Implementing a viable and effective national DDR strategy in eastern Congo is now an urgent issue. New opportunities for the Congolese government and its international partners to establish stability in eastern Congo have become apparent since the signing of the U.N. Peace and Security Framework, and the fall of the M23. However, the speed and efficacy with which they implement a national DDR strategy will to a great extent determine the future of peace and economic growth in the region."
The report urges the United Nations and U.S. Special Envoys to the Great Lakes, Mary Robinson and Russ Feingold, other leaders and donors, and the Congolese government to address these issues before the International Contact Group on Congo meeting on March 5-6. Integrating lessons from previous national DDR strategies can help the Congolese government effectively and swiftly disarm a large portion of armed groups in eastern Congo and reintegrate ex-combatants into the military or provide alternative livelihoods, further incentivizing existing armed groups to surrender to the FARDC.
Timo Mueller, co-author of the report and Enough Project Field Researcher in Congo, says
"The success or failure of the DDR process is a major factor that determines the propensity of renewed violence. At its worst, an ill-designed program might become a conflict driver itself. Implementing partners should draw on the lessons learnt and pay particular attention to the reintegration of combatants, the most difficult part of the DDR process."
The national DDR strategy is one element of the peace process. The report states that it must be implemented in coordination with related regional peace and security agreements, including the U.N. PSC Framework and the International Security Stabilization and Support Strategy, or I4S. Coordinating these efforts will determine the success of DDR efforts and the long-term peace and stability of the region.
The president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo last night for a conference of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), being held in the capital city of Kinshasa. Read More »