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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he is taking to encourage transparency over mining activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (112617)

DFID is encouraging transparency in mining activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Support to this way of improving revenue transparency is a major part DFID’s planned support in the minerals sector in DRC. The Government of DRC signed up to the EITI in March 2005. Since then important progress has been made in implementing EITI. A multi-stakeholder national EITI Committee was established by Presidential Decree in November 2005 charged with ensuring the DRC implementation process complies with EITI criteria. In February 2006, the DRC Government named members of the EITI Committee and allocated a budget for its operations from the Government’s finances. In addition, an EITI baseline study for the exploitation of copper, cobalt and diamonds is currently under way.

However, a lot more work will be needed before EITI is fully implemented in the DRC. Continued political commitment from the newly-elected DRC Government as well as capacity building and improved co-ordination within relevant DRC Government institutions will be crucial. Strong engagement from civil society, the private sector and wider international community stakeholders will also be required. When the new Government is in place, we will press them to take early action to improve transparency in natural resource management.

DFID is also developing plans for public-private partnerships with a select group of international mining companies to support local development priorities in mining areas and to encourage responsible business behaviour.