September 16, 2019
 In 2023-Impact of Conflict Minerals

Country: Kazakhstan
Delegate Name: Calvin Cater

Conflict minerals are referred to as minerals that are mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuse. When talking about this topic, it often refers to the conflicts found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This conflict has been fought over precious metals such as tungsten, gold, and tantalum. Child labor is also used, subjecting young children to poor working conditions. Illegal mining techniques cause environmental impacts such as deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. The use of toxic chemicals also endangers the health of local communities. The selling of these minerals funds armed groups which perpetuates the violence found within the DRC. These armed groups then use these funds to buy weapons and continue their campaigns of violence. Conflict minerals are exported worldwide and commonly used in the production of electronics and jewelry. The UN has passed multiple resolutions aimed at targeting illicit dealing, however, it has not proved very effective as it “has only sanctioned 31 individuals and companies in five years”. Furthermore, “ The UN’s desultory attempts to police this international trade have foundered on the lack of cooperation by the countries providing a base for the main economic operators and the absence of a legal corpus that is binding on the importing companies”. Kazakhstan mainly imports electronics and cars, which may contain conflict minerals, and are affected.

Kazakhstan as a country has a mixed stance. Kazakhstan has been actively working since 2008 to align itself with the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Due to this Kazahtsan would encourage other countries to perform similar reforms. Kazakhstan has made reforms to its own mining industry, which represents a large chunk of its GDP. These developments proved to be successful as currently its market is still projected to grow. However, Kazakhstan has other constraints it must consider. Due to Kazakhstan’s main export being minerals any effect to the global mineral market affects Kazakhstan. In consideration of this Kazasktan must work with its trade partner to ensure economic stability. Kazakhstan’s main trade partners consisting of China and Russia, it consider their views on the matter. Additionally, as country located in Central Asia it must consider the views of its surrounding countries. The culmination of these factors creates an unique stance in which Kazakhstan would promote change, however, it must consider the views of its partners.

Kazakhstan does consider conflict minerals as an issue that the UN needs to solve. As a country participating in the OECD, Kazakhstan believes that other countries should follow the same policies it does. However, as a large importer of electronics Kazakhstan stresses the importance of economic stability in a solution, as it does depend on trade from other nations. Past solutions consisted primarily of boycotting and ended in failure. Kazakhstan before committing to a solution would consider the criteria listed by its partners. Kazakhstan would recommend creating a subcommittee that would focus on supporting the DRC’s current government and removing the current corruption.