On November 15, 2011, the Enough Project, along with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and a coalition of private sector partners, civil society, and other organizations, formally launched the Public Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, or PPA.
The alliance is part of ongoing efforts by a multi-stakeholder group to support the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other governments in the Great Lakes Region of Africa to severe the link between the trade in conflict minerals and ongoing violence and human rights abuses. It aims to provide leverage through financial and technical resources from several governmental and non-governmental sectors to promote a responsible minerals trade in the region. Additionally, the PPA provides a mechanism for coordination and information sharing among government, industry, and civil society actors seeking to support conflict-free sourcing in the Congo and surrounding region.
To mark the event on Tuesday, November 15, the United States Institute of Peace, or USIP, hosted a panel discussion and an official signing ceremony. The event included remarks from senior U.S. government officials such as Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Maria Otero, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State's Bureau of African Affairs Donald Yamamoto, and USAID Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Sharon Cromer. Representatives from industry and NGOs including HP, Motorola Solutions, and PACT, also chimed in.
Enough Congo policy analyst Aaron Hall, who was in attendance at the USIP signing, said afterward:
The Enough Project is encouraged by today’s signing of the Public Private Alliance. This coalition of stakeholders brings critical resources and commitment to bear not only in efforts to establish a transparent and credible mineral supply chain out of eastern Congo, but also to the development and economic diversification of affected communities in the region. Given the complexities of conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa, it is clear that no one organization or entity is capable of finding a solution on its own. The advent of the PPA now adds tremendous value as a platform for harmonization and multi-stakeholder cooperation between governments, industry, and civil society.
Although the alliance is a significant achievement and a step in the right direction, the PPA is still in the early development stages so it will be important to monitor going forward.
"We are pleased to be a part of the PPA and believe that it holds a lot of promise,” added Enough Project Executive Director John Bradshaw. “But we are going to be carefully scrutinizing the progress of the alliance and will push to make sure it lives up to its potential."
Photo: Mine in eastern Congo (Jeff Trussell / Enough Project)