On February 22, 2013 I attended the discussion on the Democratic Republic of Congo. The co-founder and the policy analyst for the Enough Project as well as representative from Amnesty International discussed the current situations in the Congo.
Collectively, they discussed the current policies that fail to have a large impact on creating stability in the Congo. It was largely aimed at assessing what else could be done to ensure the security of the people and establish a stable government. John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, discussed four points of opportunity to create peace in the region. They were aimed at ensuring conflict-free minerals with the help of international companies, sanctions on those in the region who partake in the cross-border supply of weapons to rebel militias, accountability, and reform of the United Nations peacekeeping missions. I think these four points were significant because they continue to be on the agenda to pursue peace in the Congo, but with lack of implementation they have not been successful.
Later in the discussion they addressed the policies that were already established and how well they were working. One they mainly focused on was the Dodd Frank act that is to ensure that minerals are conflict-free. Many companies are beginning to implement it, but they are still lost as to how to go about making sure they have conflict-free minerals. The panel of speakers made a point that companies need to take their own time to actually go to the Congo and go to the mines and evaluate the situations before buying the minerals. It is an extra step in the process, but it slowly cuts off the rebel militias from profiting in smuggling minerals.
At the end of the discussion, the panel was opened up to questions from the audience. Questions they answered dealt with what is going to happen to the displaced people and what political reform was needed. The political reform they suggested not only dealt with the national, but also the local communities and how they need to be more involved.
Overall it was a very good discussion on what needs to be done in the Congo. The main point out of all of it was that there needs to be more implementation. Agreements are made and policies are established but nothing is being done after that. They need stronger negotiators and more implementation plans after leaving bargaining tables.