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Reflections from the 2023 OECD Responsible Minerals Forum

What do cobalt, lithium, nickel, and molybdenum have in common? As essential components of batteries and the green energy transition, these minerals were at the heart of this year’s OECD Responsible Minerals Forum where stakeholders discussed how companies can prevent and manage human rights risks resulting from growing market demand.  

On 26 April, DCAF co-organized a partner session with expert speakers to reflect on the project supporting implementation of the Voluntary Principles in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where human rights impacts of the extractive sector are high. This panel was supported by Switzerland and the Netherlands and presented a range of perspectives among actors actively engaged in promoting the process for DRC to become the second African country to join the Voluntary Principles Initiative.

Moderated by DCAF’s Principal Programme Manager, Mirna Adjami, speakers included civil society partners Eric Kajemba (OGP, South Kivu) and Timothée Mbuya (Justicia, Haut-Katanga) who gave testimonies of multistakeholder approaches using the VPs framework, based on dialogue and trust-building, to find concrete solutions directly in their mining provinces. Fellow panelists Frédéric Chenais (Swiss FDFA, Bern), Fortunat Kandé (Chambre des Mines, DRC), and Marie-Chantal Kaninda (Glencore, DRC) each gave a realistic and nuanced picture of the action needed at different levels in order to reinforce responsible security management practices.

The OECD Forum was also the occasion of many networking opportunities and rich discussions. DCAF caught up with the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (CCCMC) on its workstream with the ICRC on engaging Chinese companies on responsible business conduct, among other current and future partners.

In the next months at the VPI Plenary in London, the DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi, and through on the ground implementation projects with local partners, DCAF is looking forward to working with committed stakeholders who believe in reinforcing due diligence in the challenging environments where strategic minerals are found.