The DRC government has submitted an application to become a member of the Voluntary Principles Initiative (VPI) on 31 March 2022. The Ministry of Human Rights led the process of compiling the application with contributions from the Ministry of Mines and the Ministry of Petroleum. During this process, government focal points from these three ministries consulted and presented their draft application to members of the Kinshasa Voluntary Principles Working Group on 3 March 2022, as well as Congolese civil society leaders engaged in the extractives sector in Kinshasa on 2 March 2022. .
As a technical partner to the government, DCAF welcomes the application from the DRC government as a step towards the creation of a national approach that will durably improve respect for security and human rights in the extractive sector. An active observer to the VPI since 2012, DCAF has supported local Voluntary Principles Working Groups in South Kivu in eastern DRC and ex-Katanga in southern DRC since 2017. The support is channelled through DCAF’s Security and Human Rights Implementation Mechanism (SHRIM). These Working Groups, steered by local partners, have demonstrated how multistakeholder dialogue can bring in challenging security environments and served as platforms of advocacy to improve governance in the natural resources sector at their level.
The Steering Committee of the VPI will review the application and a decision is expected by the end of the year. In the meantime, the DRC Government will pursue the implementation of a VPs roadmap, developed in consultation with key actors during a multistakeholder event held in Kinshasa on 22 September 2021. Mobilizing a wider group of stakeholders from the three pillars, the government will work with civil society networks, the chamber of mines, and private sector representatives. Further inter-ministerial outreach will be made to the Ministries of Defence and Interior, on issues such as human rights trainings for public security forces, as well as linkages to efforts in private security regulation and oversight. Continuous support to the VPs Working Groups in South Kivu and ex-Katanga will also be an important platform for continued exchanges on lessons learned to inform the national process.
Photo: Multistakeholder workshop organized jointly by the Ministry of Human Rights, the Swiss Embassy in Kinshasa and DCAF, 22 September 2021, Photo: DCAF.