Natural resource issues
The Republic of Congo has a wealth of natural resources, including oil, forests and minerals.
The challenges to the sustainable management of resources include a lack of resources to monitor implementation of laws; a poor system of tax recovery from private companies; a lack of transparency in the management of revenues; a weak industrial sector to transform raw products; and a large informal sector.
However, the government is engaged in certain initiatives that aim to address some of these challenges, including: the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the VPA/FLEGT mechanism and the REDD+ process.
Civil society in the Republic of Congo and its challenges
The non-governmental sector in the Congo is young: most non-governmental organisations have only come into existence since 1994. One major challenge to civil society in the Congo is the fact that the majority of organisations are based in Brazzaville, but those that have more direct links to communities affected by natural resource exploitation are based in the Departments, and there is very little collaboration between them. In addition, some civil society organisations are run by people who are closely connected to the government, which has led to some mistrust and polarisation within the sector.
Well Grounded in the Republic of Congo
Since starting up in June 2010, Well Grounded has been active in the Republic of Congo. The founders of Well Grounded both have a long history of working with civil society in the country; some of the sector's actors were involved in early discussions about the need for more focused support for institutional development that led to the establishment of the organisation. Well Grounded is also actively involved in coordinating with other international non-governmental organisations working in the country.