Sustainability of In-Country Working Groups: How Multi-Stakeholder Input and Engagement Ensures Longevity

The In-Country Working Group on the Voluntary Principles (ICWG) based in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, has existed for close to ten years, starting as a company initiative and weathering numerous transitions to become a multi-stakeholder structure with a strong anchor in local institutions.

In 2012, Tenke Fungurume Mining and the civil society organisation Pact Congo established the working group as a platform for monthly multi-stakeholder meetings on security and human rights incidents emerging in the quickly industrialising province. The meetings provided the opportunity for participants to exchange knowledge on challenges and good practices. Participation in meetings was open to all extractive companies in the area.  

During a first phase of transition in 2014, a local human rights civil society organization, Justicia ASBL, was nominated to coordinate the group. Justicia ASBL was elected due to its long-standing engagement and good reputation. Tenke Fungurume Mining provided the finances necessary for the meetings.  

Participation was open to government actors, civil society and companies:  

From the governmental side, the Children’s Tribunal, the National Intelligence Agency and the prosecutor’s office of the high court participated in the group.

Several local civil society organizations, as well as the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), participated in the meetings.

Besides Tenke Fungurume Mining, private sector members included MMG Limited and Ruashi Mining. In addition, senior-level managers of private security companies often represented their companies.  

In 2015, the Katanga province was split into four new districts with new units of administration. The in-country working group experienced some challenges in ensuring sustainability and managing this transition. It was revitalized after a multi-stakeholder event in 2017 initiated by International Alert concluded that closer coordination with the existing multi-stakeholder platform Investissement Durable au Katanga would ensure the working group’s sustainability. IDAK addresses all types of challenges in the extractive industry, while the in-country working group provides expertise on security challenges.

After the workshop, the participants resumed their meetings with more robust participation, including a marked involvement from the cabinet director of the Haut-Katanga Ministry of Interior, who was able to anticipate and defuse many situations of tension between mining police units and communities. Today, the group in Lubumbashi continues to operate and to raise new actors’ awareness of the Voluntary Principles.