2 June 2014 - As companies file their first Conflict Minerals Reports with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in line with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, over 350 participants in the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) – OECD – UN Group of Experts Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains call for more business to engage responsibly in conflict-affected and high-risk areas and to avoid practices that would exclude responsible producers from mineral supply chains. The ICGLR-OECD-UN Group of Experts Forum brings together organisations and bodies representing stakeholders from industry, civil society and governments and is the primary multi-stakeholder forum for advancing the implementation of responsible mineral sourcing.
Participants at the 7th meeting of the forum in Paris on 26-28 May 2014 adopted a Communiqué (en français) calling for companies to confront challenges they encounter openly and transparently by publicly reporting on due diligence in accordance with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (“OECD Due Diligence Guidance”). The OECD Due Diligence Guidance is an international standard that the SEC recommends companies use to meet their reporting obligations under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act.
While much progress has been made, reports from Africa’s Great Lakes region indicate that some companies are choosing to avoid sourcing from the region rather than to do so responsibly. At the same time, many companies are taking a lead and invest in on the ground due diligence systems that are bringing positive results and long-term opportunities to the region. Responsible investment in the extraction, processing and trade of minerals has the potential to generate growth, prosperity and development opportunities and to contribute to stabilisation in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. Large-scale industrial mining as well as artisanal and small-scale mining can play an important role by providing much-needed employment and income to miners, their families and communities. Recognising the potential benefits of increased responsible investment and trade in the mineral sector in Africa and elsewhere, participants in the ICGLR-OECD-UN Group of Experts Forum encourage more companies to engage responsibly in conflict-affected and high-risk regions by implementing the OECD Due Diligence Guidance thereby promoting peace and development in Africa’s Great Lakes region and elsewhere.
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