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Responsible Mineral Supply Chains

Putting commitments into action: The 13th OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains

participants of the Power Walk

30.04.2019 |

The OECD predicts that global resource consumption will be twice as high as today by 2060. Demand for minerals and metals will grow at an above-average rate. "We need to ensure that these minerals are sourced ethically," said Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa of the G20, at the opening of the 13th Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains on 23-26. April 2019. The Forum has been organized since 2011 by the OECD, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the United Nations Expert Group on the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the support of the European Union. Mrs Ramos addressed the representatives of companies, governments and civil society who met at the OECD headquarters in Paris to address sustainable commodity supply chains, with a particular focus on the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for the Cohesion Policy Due diligence on the promotion of responsible supply chains for minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas (OECD Minerals Due Diligence Guidance), to show solutions and ideas as well as draw attention to existing grievances.

The relevance of the topic is reflected in the number of participants: 1300, more than ever before, came together to discuss solutions and point out grievances. The sometimes heated debates revolved around issues such as voluntary vs. mandatory standards or the level of engagement of governments. The sector program "Extractives and Development" presented the 2nd edition of the Gender & Mining Encyclopedia and was involved in the development of the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM).

The EPRM is an accompanying measure to the EU Regulation on Conflict Minerals, which is supported by German development cooperation. As part of the OECD Forum, the multi-stakeholder initiative organized its member meetings and presented its project activities. The aim is to sustainably improve the living and working conditions in mines and local communities in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. Interested questions from the audience indicated that the EPRM will continue to grow in membership in the near future and has great potential for the necessary collaboration between supply chain actors, civil society and governments.

On the second day of the forum, the Sector Program, together with the multi-stakeholder group Women's Rights & Mining (WRM), organized a side event titled "The Power of Gender". With the help of the so-called Power Walk, an interactive exercise on the subject of "Gender and Extractives", over 50 participants were sensitized how gender and social identity (e.g. age, class, ethnicity or sexuality) operate in mining and mineral supply chains with the aim to raise awareness for the different challenges and concerns of women and girls in the mining sector. During the second part of the event, the newly released 2nd version of the Gender Encyclopedia was presented by author Alice Powell. The encyclopedia is published by GIZ on behalf of BMZ in cooperation with WRM. It offers a snapshot of some of the key actors, initiatives and programmes in the field of gender and mining and is published to help practitioners gain an overview of the sector and potentially ideas for projects or collaborations. In addition, a new exchange and knowledge platform www.womendandmining.org, was presented.

The lively discussion of the large number of participants demonstrated the importance of gender aspects are in the field of responsible supply chains. With the remark "Gender fails lead to other fails", a participant summarized why gender and specifically the empowerment of women and girls in the mining industry are so important for a successful implementation of due diligence guidelines.

On April 26, the OECD Forum ended with the World Bank's "Artisanal and small-scale mining day" event. The day follows thematically the publication of the Mosi-oa-Tunya Declaration at the "ASM18" conference in September 2018 in Livingstone, Zambia. The World Bank opened the event with the release of the beta version of DELVE, a small-scale data mining web site. Furthermore, the study "State of the Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Sector" was published, which is to accompany the data processing of DELVE from now on with an annual report.

Other topics discussed included the promotion of sustainable supply chain transparency, small-scale financing, the management of human rights violations and conflicts, and the integration of small-scale mining into supply chains. Particularly emphasized in this context are the so-called "development minerals", which include building materials. There is enormous potential for development, which can affect, among other things, the development of the local economy, the expansion of infrastructure and social aspects.

In addition to the so-called “development minerals”, gold, cobalt and, for the first time, gemstones were part of the debate on due diligence in raw material supply chains. This points to a progressive development that deviates from the original focus of 3TG raw materials (tin, tantalum, tungsten gold) and is dedicated to new commodity categories, but still leaving gold as a permanently present theme.

For further information, please contact Leopold von Carlowitz and Fabian Stähr.

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