The Group of Experts on the DRC released their final report S/2015/19 to the Security Council on 12th January 2015 making a number of comments on the ITSCI Programme and mineral traceability in central Africa. ITRI has evaluated the section of the report relating to 3T minerals in detail and provides a full response in a document found here.
The report of the Group unfortunately focused on traceability issues with limited discussion on wider impacts of implementation of due diligence, and did not always discuss or verify information being reported for accuracy with ITRI or ITSCI staff and as a result the report contains a number of errors and/or misunderstandings of the procedures utilised by ITSCI. The Group discusses ‘smuggling’ widely but does not seek to differentiate between simple price driven illegal activity (theft) and potential connection to the funding of armed groups or human rights abuses. As a result it is difficult to determine the extent of any conflict issues, or the true risk of other implied ‘possibilities’ described by the Group which appear to have limited supporting evidence and which could be considered practically to be of low risk. The Group has made no assessment of the level or likelihood of such risk and has not provided appropriate contextual background for their assumptions.
Almost all ‘issues’ described by the Group were previously known to ITSCi, and already managed through incident reporting, stakeholder discussion or other methods but the Group unfortunately did not refer to, or report on these actions although extensive information was provided to them as requested. Similarly, the Group has not taken the opportunity to highlight the positive impact of ITSCi/due diligence in Rubaya and Rwanda compared to the current lack of progress in Shabunda where ITSCI is not yet present. Several ‘issues’ described by the Group result from uncertainty in managing seized minerals. This risk issue has been one repeatedly highlighted by ITRI within the OECD-UN-ICGLR Forum with direct request for recommendations on managing disposal of those minerals which so far the multistakeholder Forum has failed to provide. If the Group is able to provide additional information on all issues ITSCI and its partners would be pleased to investigate, and follow up as appropriate though the existing mechanisms.