Although peace agreements in 2002 brought the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) tenuous stability and some institutional progress, armed actors continue to create insecurity in the eastern part of the country, in part, taking advantage of the region’s minerals, timber, and wildlife. The U.S. Institute of Peace is leading an initiative to strengthen prosecutions that address crimes related to these natural resources. The Institute provides research, training, and technical assistance to Congolese legal professionals, and convenes local civil society and foreign experts to develop prosecutorial strategies under Congolese and international law. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on Prosecuting Economic and Environmental Crimes in the DRC.
Demand for the critical minerals powering the world’s clean-energy technologies, consumer goods and defense applications is skyrocketing. These metals are what the modern economy runs on: we need them for our phones, electric vehicles and satellites, and so much more. Forecasts estimate that in the coming decades, the world will need many times more cobalt, copper, lithium and manganese, among other minerals, than what is currently being produced. .
The Congo Basin rainforests, the world’s second largest, form the planet’s single greatest “carbon sink,” absorbing the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is overheating our planet. Yet this crucial front line against climate change is threatened by illegal and industrial logging, mining, oil and gas concessions and ongoing warfare in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). To save the rich and unique ecosystems of the Congo Basin forests, policies are needed to stop destructive resource exploitation and ongoing violence. This includes devising more effective, holistic approaches to upholding conservation laws in national parks and other protected areas.
The eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been the site of decades of conflict between the Congolese army and nonstate armed groups. The region’s conflict dynamics are profoundly affected by the combatants’ exploitation of and illegal trade in natural resources. Drawing lessons from eastern DRC, this report argues that the environmental peacebuilding field needs to do more to understand how armed actors shape resource governance and resource-related conflict, which in turn can lead to better-designed peacebuilding programs and interventions.
Much of the research that has been conducted on the impact of China’s economic engagement with Africa has focused on their economic exchanges and security engagements in isolation of one another. But few have sought to understand the interconnections between these themes. These interconnections matter, as some Chinese firms are responsible for environmental degradation, population displacement, corruption and illegal extraction activities — all of which are factors that can drive conflict.