What PAC Does
In the field of natural resource governance in the Central African region, Partnership Africa Canada has developed an unequalled reputation for developing and implementing practical and useful solutions to the myriad resource-management challenges faced by African governments, local communities and industry. PAC has achieved this success by following a simple, practical formula: in-depth field research into conditions on the ground, leading to practical policy level advice to governments, industry and local civil society, followed up with hands-on implementation to ensure that the research and policy work gets translated into useful and lasting results.
This three phase approach - research, policy, implementation – has been the basis of PAC’s achievements in designing and implementing a Central African certification mechanism for conflict minerals (primarily tin, tungsten and tantalum) as well as an innovative strategy for channelling artisanally produced gold (another major conflict financer) into formalized, legal channels.
The same tried and true formula will be followed as PAC builds on its success and begins addressing the many connected challenges related to resource governance in the African Great Lakes Region. This work will include continued implementation of Regional Certification Mechanism for conflict minerals, scaling up of gold formalisation projects and continuing to augment the capacity of local organisation to provide monitoring and oversight of natural resource extraction.
PAC takes a two-pronged approach to its work in the Great Lakes region. While our efforts prioritize strategies that mitigate conflict, we also place a strong emphasis on building the foundations for the responsible management of conflict-prone minerals so that they can boost national and regional economic opportunities.
With these goals in mind PAC works to support the efforts of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to track four minerals—coltan, tin, gold and tungsten—that are at the heart of the on-going conflict in eastern DRC.
PAC’s relationship with the ICGLR began in 2005, when we were invited to participate in the technical committee on the Protocols for the ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development. PAC helped draft the ICGLR Protocol Against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources, which was subsequently adopted and ratified by all Member States in 2006, In so doing, ICGLR Member States formerly recognized the linkages between the illegal exploitation of natural resource in the Great Lakes region and protracted armed conflict. PAC then drew on its experiences with the Kimberley Process and on extensive field research in the region to propose a model for a certification mechanism for the legitimate movement of these four minerals. The proposed Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) was approved by the ICGLR Heads of State in December 2010 in Lusaka, Zambia.
Since, PAC’s Great Lakes Programme has focused, in part, on providing technical support to the ICGLR Secretariat (based in Bujumbura, Burundi) to implement the Regional Certificaiton Mechanism. This support has taken on a variety of forms including: providing consultative and sensitization workshops on the ICGLR RCM to various stakeholders; developing, in close collaboration with partners, the ICGLR Certification Manual, which sets out standards and procedures for certification; advising on political and economic developments as well as stakeholder interests outside of the region; developing the ICGLR mineral tracking database and facilitating data collection in-region; providing direct support to ICGLR Member States to meet certification requirements; and, exploring emerging tracking technologies.
In addition to our work with the ICGLR, PAC supports a regional civil society coalition on natural resources comprised of civil society members representing the Kivus (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi and Kampala. They work to promote the ICGLR Pact, to hold their own governments to the commitments they have made, to share experiences and, eventually, to contribute to both impact assessment and monitoring of tracking and certification. Launched in August 2011, they held their first regional planning meeting in December 2011 in Kampala, Uganda.
Fully cognizant of the need for a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding, PAC is particularly interested in building on its previous gender-related programming to integrate gender throughout its conflict minerals work. With further support, PAC plans to better understand how women and girls participate in the extractives sector in Eastern DRC in order to minimize identified vulnerabilities and amplify potential opportunities unique to a conflict/post-conflict environment. It would be critical to monitor how women and girls in particular are affected by the introduction of tracking and certification in their respective communities. Moreover, it is PAC’s view that the implementation phase of the ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism provides an opportunity to implement relevant UN Security Council Resolutions related to Women, Peace and Security such as UNSCR 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889 and others to ensure that women and girls vulnerabilities in conflict/post-conflict settings are recognized and to see that they are supported to fully participate in the implementation and monitoring of the RCM.
PAC also works with other complementary initiatives that seek to better define private sector responsibilities in conflict affected areas. For instance, the ICGLR RCM Manual was informed by the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) Certified Trading Chains and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for the Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. It also integrated lessons learned from industry-led chain of custody systems, including ITRI’s Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi). PAC continues to work closely with BGR, whose CTC system has been integrated into the ICGLR RCM.
PAC also participates in OECD efforts to create the Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. In practical terms such guidelines ensure industry end users can track the source of their minerals through their entire supply chain—from mine site, to smelter, to manufacturer—thereby guaranteeing to consumers and interested government authorities that their products are “conflict free” to the best of their knowledge. To date, PAC has taken part in the drafting of OECD guidelines for all of the four minerals covered by the ICGLR certification scheme. PAC is also the civil society lead to the US-led Private Public Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, a joint initiative between governments, companies, and civil society to support supply chain solutions to conflict minerals challenges in the DRC and in the GLR.