Today marks a decade of developing tools and building civil society capacity to support responsible minerals sourcing and trading through the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA). The PPA is a multi-sector initiative between leaders in civil society, industry, and government that supports projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the surrounding Great Lakes Region of Central Africa that improve the due diligence and governance systems needed for ethical supply chains.

Launched in 2011 in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the PPA today has 46 member organizations—spanning government, international NGOs, academic institutions, and companies across the electronic, jewelry, automotive, and aerospace sectors—and one observer. Members have contributed roughly $2.5 million in private funding in addition to $36 million in parallel funding by USAID to on-the-ground activities in the Great Lakes Region.

Over the past ten years, the PPA has leveraged the diversity of perspectives and depth of expertise within its member body to advance progress towards ethical supply chains through a multi-pronged approach. Its contributions to responsible minerals trade have taken a variety of forms, including:

  • Convening regional and international stakeholders to promote alignment and coordination: The PPA has brought together the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, member states, due diligence systems, supply chain actors, and civil society in eleven sessions to highlight and identify a path forward for technical and policy coordination gaps.
  • Supporting Congolese organizations' programs to mitigate human rights abuses: PPA grants have supported learning about the link between women's leadership, reintegration following sexual violence, and economic inclusion - and the long-term vision of a more responsible minerals economy with less risk of serious human rights abuse.
  • Addressing key financial barriers to responsible minerals trade: Commissioned research on the potential roles and existing barriers to financial institutions in promoting responsible minerals trade paved the way for a current pilot to expand access to finance and banking for tin, tantalum, tungsten (3T) and gold artisanal and small-scale miners in the DRC.
  • Testing tools and models for enhanced upstream due diligence and reporting: The PPA has made grants to test models for collecting and disseminating due diligence data in the gold and 3T sectors, including funding Congolese and international NGOs managing a hotline to report minerals fraud, civil society training in monitoring and reporting, and educating military representatives to support disengagement from and demilitarization of mine sites.

The PPA is grateful for our partnerships and collaboration over the last decade and is planning for impact in the coming year and beyond. Most recently, the PPA has made an award for research artisanal and small-scale mining cooperative governance models to inform recommendations to PPA and others for policies and interventions that can promote equity within these organizations. That research will conclude in early 2022 and will be followed by a PPA Data for Impact Symposium to profile existing tools, methodologies, models, indicators, systems, and other approaches that could provide a basis for a sustainable, just framework to build data sets and analysis and inform future action for improved socioeconomic outcomes and local benefits. In addition to supporting in-region grants and coordination among other initiatives, we are looking inward and actively working to bolster shared learning and collaboration between our many members working actively in this space.

As the PPA takes stock of the positive impacts, challenges, and lessons learned that have surfaced over the past decade, we recognize PPA members for having created a unique and vital platform for promoting progress on responsible sourcing from the Great Lakes Region. The PPA has enabled members to take collective action at a greater scale than any one member could have achieved, and we look forward to exploring how a next phase can build on this network to support local organizations and convene tripartite leaders to help establish and scale-up impactful and effective minerals due diligence, governance systems, and risk mitigation to promote economically sound and ethical global supply chains.

Jen Peyser, Taylor Kennedy, Tommie-Lynne Enright


November 15, 2021

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