details

The Consultation Group (CdC), Orientale

CdC is registered as an NGO with the district government; it applied for provincial registration in April 2011.

Location

Bunia, Ituri district, Orientale province
The Ituri district, with a focus on areas of gold, oil, and timber exploitation

Sectors of Intervention

Environmental protection; human rights; economic development; conflict prevention; corporate responsibility

History

In 2007, a coalition of community-based organizations and church groups formed CdC(Cadre de concertation) to address development and conflict issues related to the exploitation of goldin the Mongbwalu area of the Ituri district. Between 1996 and 2007, various Congolese and foreignarmed groups fought to control the production and trade of gold from Mongbwalu, which is oneof the major goldfields in DRC. The militarization of the gold mines had disastrous effects for localpopulations and was closely tied to war crimes and human rights abuses. With assistance fromCAFOD, Human Rights Watch, and Pax Christi Netherlands, CdC officially started work in April2007 with a meeting in Mongbwalu. The initial aim of CdC was to be the voice of the communityregarding mining issues. The unifying issue among the 20-odd groups that formed CdC was to makesure that gold exploitation benefited local communities and consolidated the peace. It also wanted toensure that the company planning industrial exploitation—AngloGold Ashanti—paid attention tohuman rights issues.

CdC restructured in 2009 in response to demands that it expand its work beyond gold to the othermajor natural resources in Ituri, namely timber and oil. To address these issues, CdC is alsoexpanding to cover the entire Ituri district, rather than just the Mongbwalu goldfields. CdC isundertaking programs to build the capacities of member organizations to follow and monitor naturalresource exploitation. CdC will also continue its work on the social responsibility of companies,including corporate compliance with Congolese law. CdC is also trying to ensure companies complywith the terms of their contracts. The goal is to get local communities and groups to talk directly withcompanies and the government, so that future generations of Iturians are not victimized by resourceexploitation in the ways previous generations have been. CdC has a blog: http://cdcituri.wordpress.com/. It has worked with international funders, including CAFOD and Pax ChristiNetherlands.

Mission

Be the interface between local communities, government, and companies to ensure that exploitation of natural resources benefits local communities

Objectives

  • Educate and improve the capacities of local communities to monitor natural resource exploitation
  • Engage in participatory research on natural resources in Ituri and publish the results
  • Network with groups at a variety of levels (local, national, regional, international)

Populations Served

The general population of Ituri, with a focus on populations affected by the exploitation of gold, timber, and oil

Programs

  • Oil: CdC is currently researching the terms of the government’s contract with Oil of DRC to exploit petroleum in Lake Albert. CdC helped the Civil Society of Ituri to create a position paper that outlines community concerns about oil exploration and exploitation. CdC is strengthening local organizations to monitor the social, economic, and environmental effects of oil drilling.
  • Timber: CdC is just beginning to address deforestation and timber harvesting, which is particularly severe and rapid along Ituri’s borders with North Kivu and Uganda. CdC is establishing a network of organizations working on this topic and will increase its capacities to monitor timber harvesting and promote responsible forestry as well as reforestation.
  • Gold: CdC formed to address gold mining in the Mongbwalu area and has a strong network working in this area. CdC has organized meetings with AngloGold Ashanti (the mining company in Mongbwalu), government officials, and communities in gold-mining areas. It has assisted workers in negotiations with the mining company and played a vital role in preventing conflicts between local miners and AngloGold Ashanti.

Governance

CdC has a general assembly of representatives from 17 member groups, which meetsonce per year. The general assembly selects the board of directors, which consists of five memberswho each serve two-year terms. The board meets once each month and issues reports to the generalassembly. The general assembly selects the permanent secretary, who is the only paid staff member.CdC relies upon the voluntary work of its member groups to undertake projects and activities.

CdC has an account with BIC in Bunia. For financial, administrative, and personnel management,CdC has:

  • A procedures manual with policies for financial management; hiring and personnel issues; and purchasing policies and procedures: NO
  • A computerized accounting system: NO
  • A clearly defined accounting process: YES
  • Clear procedures for management of payroll, petty cash, procurement, and disbursements: YES
  • Staff with the technical expertise to undertake projects: YES

Strengths

  • A wide range of members, including faith-based groups, women’s groups, development NGOs, human rights groups, and local leaders
  • A permanent secretariat and an office (which it rents from Caritas)
  • Is the only organization working to hold companies and the government accountable for exploitation of natural resources, and advocating that resource exploitation benefit local communities

Needs

  • Greater cohesion among the various member groups
  • Improvement of the capacities and knowledge of the member groups and its staff and leaders
  • Its own office, plus greater materials to support its work
  • CdC would like to attract more groups to become members and have a better distribution of member groups throughout Ituri (currently most groups are located in either Irumu or Djugu territories)

Funders and Budget

For 2010, CdC’s budget was $23,180. Its sole funder was CAFOD.

Accomplishments

  • CdC helped workers from Mudogo Didi (MD) in Mongbwalu to negotiate for contracts and better wages with AGK in Mongbwalu. The MD workers were paid less than other workers doing the same or inferior work for AGK. The workers were upset about their salaries, but also by discrimination they suffered on the job. In May 2010, the workers stopped working, and CdC helped them dialogue with the company and get contracts. The workers started a union, which AGK recognized; the union has a representative who dialogues directly with the company. In January 2010, AGK agreed to a contract that CdC helped the workers to write. In addition to having a contract, the workers also received the “thirteenth month” salary as a bonus, which AGK employees received, but local workers previously did not.
  • CdC helped the Civil Society of Ituri to prepare a “cahier des charges,” which outlines community expectations for Caprikat, the oil company with the contract to exploit oil on Lake Albert. The document was approved at a community meeting on March 24, 2011.
  • CdC has been specially consulted by SRK, the consulting firm doing the social and environmental assessments of gold exploitation in the Mongbwalu area. The final SRK report is due in April.
  • In 2007, members of CdC played a key role in preventing conflict in Mongbwalu following the closure of the Adidi mine, which at that time was the most productive gold mine in Ituri. CdC members convinced angry miners to forgo a demonstration that had a high likelihood of turning violent in favor of engaging in dialogue and negotiations with the mining company.

Organizational Vision

Ensure that local populations and the Ituri population in general benefit from natural resources. CdC would like to see more roads, schools, hospitals, and electricity in Ituri, which can help promote social improvement.

Project Proposals

  • Building the capacities of member organizations: CdC proposes organizing a series of trainings for its member groups, in order to improve their capacities to collect and analyze data about resource extraction, write reports on their results, and monitor and follow up on their projects. Cost: $25,000
  • Building the capacities of CdC: CdC would like to organize trainings for its staff and governance bodies on financial, administrative, and project management. This project will also provide salary support for the permanent secretary. The goal is to improve the internal functioning and coordination of CdC. Cost: $35,000

Contact

Jimmy Mugisa, permanent secretary, +243.815.134.070, cdcituri@gmail.com, and Abbé Alfred Ndrabu Buju, coordinator, +243.995.096.220, alfredbuju@yahoo.fr

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