During a timely event last Friday at the United States Institute of Peace, or USIP, representatives from Enough Project and Amnesty International's Adotei Akwei tackled the complicated problem of advancing a lasting peace process in Congo. In light of the expected signing of a new framework agreement, which took place on Sunday, the panelists agreed that there was reason for "cautious optimism." However, a looming question was how or why this agreement would be different from past failed agreements in Congo. To follow up on this point, moderator Raymond Gilpin of USIP referred to a Reuters report in which the latest Congo peace agreement was described by the M23 Movement as "being similar to 'arranging a wedding ceremony without the bride.'" Gilpin went on to highlight the fractious state of M23 forces and the uncertainty surrounding their intentions to sign or adhere to the latest agreement.
While Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast admitted to similar doubts and concerns, he conversely brought to light four opportunities that he believes have increased the ripeness for peace in Congo:
The Dodd-Frank Act and an increasing consumer demand for conflict-free products;
The international community's recent whistle-blowing and subsequent suspension of donor aid over evidence of cross-border weapon supply;[view whole blog post ]