Topic: 2023-Impact of Conflict Minerals
Delegate Name: Ava Cousineau
Delegate: Ava Cousineau
School: Williamston High School
Country: The Kingdom of Belgium
Topic: Impact of Conflict Minerals
Conflict minerals have been a main contributor to tensions in African countries for many years. These minerals, including gold, tin, tungsten, tantalum, and others, have persisted to remain as a way to fund violence and armed conflicts between nations including violations of human rights and humanitarian and international law. A main area of conflict for these crimes has taken place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The large amount of minerals being located in the nation resulted in their profit being used to finance such crimes against the people. Disputes between armed groups have led to mass murders resulting in over 3 million deaths due to the conflict. Ongoing tensions have led world leaders to discuss possible ways to limit the possible acts of violence committed from the funding from the minerals.
Due to the issues with these conflict minerals and what the profit form the sale of the minerals, legislators have worked on making new bills and policies that will assist in lowering the use for acts of violence. In 2010, the Security and Exchange Commission passed a reform bill that required companies that were purchasing these minerals from the DRC to disclose whether or not their purchases helped fund conflicts within the nation. This bill allowed the flow of income from the conflict minerals to remain to not hurt the economic side of the issue, while still aiding in the decrease in violence. Following the example, the European Union created its own regulations including the requirement of companies to disclose their involvement with conflict minerals in 2015. Belgium has been cooperative with the regulations set in place since adopted in 2017. The nation has continued to remain compliant with the regulations and continue to use these minerals in a sustainable manner.
Since 2017, Belgium has been donating an annual fund toward the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. This program promotes the public and clear management of natural resources such as minerals, oils, and gasses. The EITI supports the local populations of these nations that are major sources of the natural resources. Belgium greatly supports the implementation of this program into the DRC to directly assist the communities within the conflict mineral rich nation due to the full transparency of the activities of the companies engaging in the sale of the minerals. The EITI, established by the British Prime Minister Blair, has been a helpful step in the process of decreasing the harmful impact of conflict minerals.