2023 Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains
Special Envoy Huang Xia took part, along with hundreds of stakeholders and development partners engaged in the fight against the illicit exploitation and trade of natural resources in the Great Lakes region, in the 2023 Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, convened by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Paris from 24 to 28 April 2023.
In a context of energy transition, the annual Forum provided a unique platform to review and discuss the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and other initiatives to enable responsible mineral production and sourcing. The Forum provided an opportunity to the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region (OSESG-GL) and the Executive Secretariat of the ICGLR to convene a side event on the implementation of the recommendations of the workshop on natural resources held in Khartoum in 2021, which resulted in over 30 recommendations geared towards disrupting the link between the smuggling of high-value minerals and the financing of armed groups.
Participants of the high-level session included the DRC Vice-Minister in charge of mining, the deputy CEO of Rwanda Mining Board, the EU and French Special Envoys for the Great Lakes region, representatives of ICGLR countries, and many other countries including United Arab Emirates. The objectives of the meeting were to take stock of the progress and challenges in the implementation of the recommendations of the Khartoum workshop, with a focus on artisanal gold mining due diligence measures given the linkages with the financing of armed groups. As part of strategic actions being conducted, Special Envoy Xia and Amb. Samuel Caholo, Executive Secretary of ICGLR highlighted the joint missions they conducted in Europe and in Dubai, respectively in September and in November 2022, with the aim to advocating from the partners and minerals destination countries further diplomatic, political, technical, financial support for the transparent governance of natural resources in the Great Lakes region. As concrete outcomes of these missions, participants noted the 18.7 million Euros Team Europe-funded regional project and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ’s Due Diligence Regulations for Responsible Sourcing of Gold”, which entered into force in January 2023.
Participants also praised the UAE-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) economic and commercial partnership with the set-up in January 2023 of the joint venture Primera Gold, which has contributed to efforts aimed to fighting illicit trade of ASM gold from eastern DRC. At the end of the meeting, participants further encouraged partners, destination countries, and actors at the other end of the minerals supply chain to reinforce their collaboration in support for the transparent management of natural resources for shared prosperity and lasting peace in the region.