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.

Featured   Publications

Saving Congo’s Forests Means Changing ‘Law Enforcement’

Saving Congo’s Forests Means Changing ‘Law Enforcement’

Thursday, December 22, 2022

By: Judith Verweijen

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.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Environment

Armed Actors and Environmental Peacebuilding

Armed Actors and Environmental Peacebuilding

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

By: Judith Verweijen;  Peer Schouten;  Fergus O’Leary Simpson

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.

Type: Peaceworks

Conflict Analysis & PreventionEnvironment

Four Lessons from Outbreaks in Africa for the Age of Coronavirus

Four Lessons from Outbreaks in Africa for the Age of Coronavirus

Monday, March 30, 2020

By: Aly Verjee

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and new behavioral practices—from social distancing to avoiding handshakes and hugs—become expected norms overnight, there are crucial policy lessons to be learned from struggles against previous outbreaks of disease in Africa. Despite widespread poverty, weak infrastructure, and relatively few health professionals, there is an encouraging, long record of African countries—often with significant international assistance and cooperation—eventually managing to overcome dire health challenges. For non-African countries already facing large numbers of COVID-19 infections, as well as for African countries where the epidemic is now at an early stage, policymakers would do well to recall these four lessons of past epidemics—of both what to do and, perhaps almost as importantly, what not to do to confront this global threat.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global HealthHuman Rights

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Current   Projects

Peace and Security Issues in Africa-China Economic Relations

Peace and Security Issues in Africa-China Economic Relations

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. 

EconomicsEnvironmentFragility & ResilienceHuman Rights

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