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Thursday, 20th February 2014

Minerals from Conflict Areas: Existing and New Responsible‐sourcing Initiatives

Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Summary:

Revenue derived from the extraction of and/or trade in minerals in resource‐rich developing countries may be used to finance internal armed conflicts, as witnessed in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The specific guidelines for the DRC issued by the United Nations (UN), and the more general guidance from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the responsible sourcing of certain minerals from conflict‐affected areas, address this link, and form the current international normative framework.

The first domestic legislation tackling so‐called conflict minerals was passed in 2010 by the US Congress. It requires US‐listed companies to disclose whether or not their products contain certain minerals from the DRC or its neighbouring countries. In parallel, work on a regional regulatory framework in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa and on (mostly industry‐led) mineral traceability and certification schemes has gained momentum.

Following a public consultation on a potential comprehensive EU legal framework, the European Commission (EC) is due to decide on the form of future action later this year. Stakeholder groups believe any potential EU legislation should have broader scope than US law, in terms of material and geographic range. EU industry, for its part, has been a strong proponent of voluntary, supply‐chain transparency schemes.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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