Global Policy Forum

UN Experts Seek Tougher Rules on Congo Resources

January 31, 2007

UN experts urged the Security Council on Tuesday to step up international efforts to end the illegal trade in valuable minerals and other resources plundered from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The council should help the newly elected government in Congo set up a system to better monitor the exploitation of the vast central African nation's natural resources, with an eye to more effectively cracking down on illegal exploiters, the four outside experts said in a new report. They said all Congolese officials with responsibility for monitoring the exploitation of minerals, timber, oil and other resources should be required to submit regular reports to the 15-nation Security Council which could provide the basis for imposing sanctions -- such as a travel ban or a freeze of financial assets -- on violators.

The Congolese officials should be asked to disclose all efforts they have undertaken to ensure that resources are legally exploited, to certify the origin of exploited resources, and to disclose any permits they have granted for mining, timber or petroleum concessions, they said. The Security Council and the Congo authorities should in addition set up a joint committee to oversee the development of the new natural resources control system, which likely would have to be funded by international donors, they said.

Four years after a peace agreement ended Congo's five-year civil war, which drew in most of the vast central African nation's neighbors, some of those neighbors are still believed to play active roles in the illegal export of its resources including gold, diamonds, medicinal barks, cobalt and copper. Others involved in the illegal exploitation of these resources include the Congolese military and various armed militias, the experts said.

Until Congo's industry, mining and transport networks are brought firmly under state control, it will be impossible to ensure peace and security in the country, they said.

More Information on the Security Council
More Information on the Democratic Republic of Congo


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