An ‘open letter’ (found here) signed by 70 researchers has been released which discusses the effects of Dodd Frank and the need for a more holistic and practical approach by international policy makers. Although not all remarks about iTSCi are accurate, ITRI is in general agreement with the objective of the letter which aligns with comments we have previously made on the easily foreseen and devastating consequences of the de facto embargo driven by the Dodd Frank Act and those who lobbied for its introduction in its existing form. It is because of our commitment to maintaining and re-opening market access for the maximum number of miners and communities impacted by the too rapid introduction of that legislation that ITRI and all its partners have worked tirelessly to develop and implement the only effective system that works on the ground in the DRC and the region; one that works because it respects and continually adapts to local realities.

In the Washington Post the letter is associated with a blog that appears poorly researched, confused and inaccurate suggesting such things that iTSCi does ‘not fulfil the due diligence standards proposed by the OECD and UN’, while those are two key references and the clear basis of the Programme. The blog also seriously underestimates the extent of iTSCi activities, not least omitting mention of our activities in North Kivu and the continuing expansion of our coverage across huge and remote areas of the region so far in 2014. It notably declares that statistics are not published despite the availability of data reports easily seen online (found here).

ITRI does not determine or necessarily agree with US policy, nor can we force the market to purchase from the region. However, as recommended in the OECD Guidance, as a trade organisation with the capability to establish a joint industry programme for due diligence (iTSCi), we have successfully done so. iTSCi, as the blog recognises, is highly successful in making the marketing of mineral from uncontrolled and potentially conflict linked sites, through unknown industry actors, increasingly difficult while allowing OECD conforming business to continue and develop.

Due to the tremendous progress made in just four years, the experience gained and lessons learned, iTSCi is now expanding in the most difficult and insecure areas of the Kivu’s and will facilitate market access for those miners that the blog appears to be concerned about within a short time, with the continued and valued support of our key partners in the local Governments, businesses and civil society.