The Platform of Civil Society Organizations Working in the Mining Sector (POM) is a network, founded in 2009, that currently includes 18 non- governmental organizations (NGOs). POM is located in the Katanga province in the Southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is bordered by the neighboring countries of: Angola, Zambia and Tanzania. The Katanga province is very rich in mineral resources such as copper, cobalt, and uranium.
While Katanga province is resource rich, it suffers from the proverbial “resource curse,” where local populations receive minimal benefits, whether economic or social, from mining operations there.
POM is working to reform mining sector governance in the DRC with the goal of improving the living conditions of populations impacted by mining projects. Efforts are primarily focused around improving transparency, strengthening the accountability of public leaders and representatives, building capacity of civil society organizations, and bolstering laws and regulations and their compliance.
The work of POM is organized into three areas of intervention:
- Strengthening the capacity of member organizations and local communities
- Advocacy and lobbying.
During the past two years, POM has been actively working on the revision of the DRC mining code and improving the quality of the DRC’s Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) reports, which reveal company payments to the government and government receipts from companies.
POM was the first civil society organization to conduct a rigorous analysis of the mining code and produce a systematic document indicating the weaknesses of the code and providing proposals for its amendment, on which POM has based its advocacy campaign.
Since producing the analysis, POM has participated in several forums organized by civil society and the DRC Government on the revision of the mining code. The revision of the mining code remains in progress, therefore, POM continues to monitor the process.
POM is not without its challenges. It is a very young network and the context in which it works is such that, placed alongside the government (public power holder) and mining companies (holders of economic and financial power), civil society is usually the weakest party.
Resource mobilization for its actions, as well as building capacity for advocacy and strong synergies with other civil society organizations both within and outside the DRC also presents challenges. However, now as a new member, since 2013, of the global Joining Hands Initiative of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, POM is faced with opportunities for the enrichment and strengthening of its actions, especially through the experience and the support of others engaged in this work.
In 2014, POM will structure work around three main components:
- Continuation and consolidation of the process of revising the mining legislation: analysis of mining regulations to identify its weaknesses and inconsistencies with the revised mining code and formulation of proposals for amendment, production and dissemination of a document of proposals for amendment of the Mining Regulations; advocacy and lobbying on the code and the mining regulations revision.
- Monitoring of the Extractive Industries obligations (financial, social and environmental) by civil society organizations and local communities: capacity building on the analysis of mining conventions/contracts; Dissemination of information sheets on the mining companies obligations and communities rights, support to monitoring actions of the mining companies obligations; establishment of an information center on extractive industries; monitoring the publication of contracts; advocacy.
- Contribution to the implementation of the DRC-EITI process: Organization of a national workshop on capacity building and development of a strategic civil society plan on the implementation of the 2013 new EITI standards; contribution to the determination of the scope of companies and flow for the 2012 DRC-EITI report, analysis of the 2011 and 2012 EITI reports, dissemination and discussion about the 2011 and 2012 EITI reports.