Towards an EU initiative on responsible sourcing of minerals originating from conflict and high-risk areas

The European Commission will soon propose a legislative initiative on responsible sourcing of minerals originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. As a first step, a public consultation was launched in late March 2013. The trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, aims to table a « comprehensive EU initiative on minerals originating from conflict and high-risk areas » before the end of the current legislature.

In order to galvanize and maximize the European Parliament’s influence on the decision making process, two MEPs, Catherine Bearder(ALDE) and Judith Sargentini(Greens/EFA), Piotr Kaczynski (EPP political advisor) will participate in a mission to the Great Lakes Region (Rwanda-DRC-Burundi) from the 26 October to 2 November 2013, organized by the European Network for Central Africa (EurAc), the Belgian Network on Natural Resources (BNNR-RBRN), the Jesuit European Social Centre, the French development NGO CCFD-Terre Solidaire and the Belgian Justice & Peace Commission.

One of the main challenges for the future EU initiative is to ensure its applicability on the ground. Any initiative that does not fit the reality and needs on the ground will fail to have a positive impact. Therefore it is of paramount importance for decision-makers to be fully informed of the complexity and dynamics of the current local situation. The mission presents an opportunity for the MEPs to consult with a range of local actors in Kigali, Goma, Bukavu and Bujumbura, and visit mining sites (North and South Kivu), with a view to developing a framework that will allow for the development of the envisaged EU initiative to be as well-informed as possible.

In order to gather MEPs’ feedbacks and lessons learned from the mission, you are kindly invited to the post-mission debriefing that will take place at the European Parliament on the 12nd of November .  Online registration is compulsory.

For further information, you can read the document Breaking the links between natural resources and conflict: the case for EU regulation.