February 2013

The UNECA supported meeting “The ICGLR RINR and other Certification Mechanisms in the Great Lakes region: Lessons Learned and Best practices” was meant to, firstly, debrief on the progress and bottlenecks of the Regional initiative on Natural Resources (RINR), driven by the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). The initiative aims at setting up a Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) for minerals mined by ASM communities such as the so-called 3Ts (Tungsten, Tantalum, Tin) and fuelling the recurrent conflicts in the North and South Kivus, as well as the Northern Katanga regions.The RCM builds upon other experiences in the area such as the Certified Trading Chains (CTC), led by BGR, the Tin supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi), a traceability process led by the international Tin industry, or the Conflict Free Smelting, led by the Smelting industry, and incorporates the due diligence approach defined by OECD.

The second objective of the meeting was to assess the potential input and cooperation from other certification mechanisms such as the Fairtrade & Fairmined Standard (FT&FM) and look for the potential way forward for the ICGLR mechanism.

Yves Bertran from ARM and Gonzaga Mungai from Fairtrade attended the meeting in order to discuss the potential input from the FT&FM standard and to introduce the initial results of the projects they lead on FT&FM in Western and Eastern Africa.

The presentation from the different experts showed that great progress had been recently achieved since a manual and procedures to implement the RCM had been produced, that the auditing mechanism was in place, and that they were good synergies with other projects such as CTC, and support from GIZ and the Canadian African Network (CAN) project. However, the discussions among delegates from Member States also showed great unsatisfied expectations, such as working out the regional database, and producing a budget for the important next step, the implementation of the RCM on the ground.

Breakaway parallel sessions offered a good opportunity to produce concrete proposals for integration in the future action plan for this regional mechanism and both Yves and Gonzaga participated actively in the session on formalisation of ASM.

Proposals on recognition of the ASM status in the legal framework of the member states, legal and practical incentives for formalisation, but also capacity building of ASM communities and local representatives of mining authorities were formulated. These proposals will be kept in the final report of the session and UNECA will pay specific attention on the support of these issues.

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