More Links in Peace Programs

Extractive Industries Governance

  • Backlit photo of two men working in a Congo mine.

    Congolese men work in a Lubumbashi mine. (Photo: The Carter Center/ G. Dubourthoumieu)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the richest nations on Earth in terms of natural resources, but most Congolese people haven’t enjoyed the benefits from the billions of dollars in investments in the DRC’s extractive sector over recent decades.

Corruption, mismanagement, and insufficient institutional capacity have allowed revenues to be channeled away from investment in the country’s sustainable development, leaving local communities to suffer the negative environmental, health, and human rights impacts of the oil, gas, and minerals industries, often with no effective means of recourse.

The overarching goal of the Carter Center’s Extractive Industries Governance Project is to advance transparency and accountability in the extractive sector. Working with national civil society organizations, the Center strengthens partners’ capacity to monitor, analyze, and report on specific mining projects and sector-wide governance issues.

The Carter Center trains and supports local partners to track resource and revenue flows and to conduct human rights impact assessments to determine how communities are negatively impacted by specific major industrial mining projects or hydrocarbon operations. This information, along with contracts and other key documents, is published on the Center’s CongoMines website and linked to an interactive map of extractive projects in the DRC.

Further, the Center actively helps communities understand the impacts of extractive operations on their lives and teaches them how to engage companies and the government to address their concerns. It uses revenue analyses and human rights impact assessment findings to produce public reports and advocacy plans, which civil society partners use to provide actionable recommendations to key stakeholders in government, business, and the international community. The Center encourages constructive dialogue with government and company representatives on specific concerns and recommendations. It also trains organizations to work with communities to raise awareness of key concepts, such as human rights and corporate social responsibility.

Over the past 15 years, 30 Congolese civil society organizations have benefited from the Carter Center’s technical and financial assistance, including women-led groups seeking to engage in a traditionally male-dominated sector. Each addition further strengthens a civil society sector specializing in natural resources by giving it the skills necessary to engage and influence decision-makers and protect communities.

The project’s accomplishments include:

  • Securing the disclosure of hundreds of contracts and related documents that can now be found, along with an interactive map, on the CongoMines website, which the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative recognized in 2019 as an important online tool to catalyze investigations into the management of extractive sector revenues.
  • Contributing to increased oversight of the DRC’s state-owned companies through a 2017 investigation and report on mismanagement at the country’s largest state-owned mining company, Gécamines, which revealed over three-quarters of a billion dollars in unaccounted revenue.
  • Supporting Congolese partners as they conducted the first-ever civil society-led fiscal case studies of extractive operations, identifying millions in lost revenue for the DRC treasury and uncovering questionable accounting practices, undisclosed tax carve-outs, and revenue diversion.
  • In partnership with Congolese partners, conducting nine human rights impact assessments of extractive operations in the DRC, uncovering environmental problems such as air, water, and soil pollution; health problems such as chemical burns and breathing conditions; and social and economic problems such as land seizures and the loss of livelihoods. Subsequent advocacy campaigns based on these findings have resulted in legal reforms and changes in specific practices. In May 2016, The Carter Center received the International Association for Impact Assessment's Institutional Award for this work.
  • Supporting the negotiation, implementation, and oversight of 51 local development agreements between mining companies and communities, representing over $210 million in community investments.

In addition:

  • In 2018, when the Democratic Republic of the Congo enacted a new mining code, it incorporated key recommendations from The Carter Center and its partners that strengthen legal requirements on information disclosure, revenue transparency, community protection, and local development.
  • In February 2019, the chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative International Secretariat thanked former U.S. President Jimmy Carter for the Center’s contribution in advancing transparency and accountability in managing natural resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.