Security Council Open Debate: Statement by Ambassador Berger on Conflict Prevention and natural resources

Jun 19, 2013

(Statement as delivered by Ambassador Miguel Berger, Deputy Permanent Representative, on Conflict Prevention and natural resources)

"Mr. President,

Effective and transparent management of natural resources matters. Natural resources are still fuelling conflicts, both internal and between states. Many countries rich in natural resources are immersed in poverty because of mismanagement of these resources and corruption. 

We therefore welcome today’s open debate and the United Kingdom’s initiative to explore – in the context of maintaining international peace and security – ways how to strengthen responsible management of extractive industries. 

Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union. I would like to stress the following points: 

Financial transparency in the extractive industries and transparency of supply in case of mineral imports from conflict regions are in our view crucial to help reduce the potential for conflict and to deter corruption. Germany therefore supports EITI (the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) and the Kimberley Process. In the Security Council, we have actively supported setting out clear standards of supply chain due diligence for businesses using minerals from the DR Congo in accordance with the OECD guidelines. Furthermore, Germany is leading a certification and traceability initiative to establish certified trading chains in Rwanda and the DR Congo for minerals and natural resources, fostering the efforts of the local mining authorities and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). 

However, such technical solutions alone cannot stop the trade in minerals from fuelling conflicts. It requires governance in resource-exporting countries based on the rule of law to make such technical solutions feasible. In this context, sufficient capacity is indispensable to ensure compliance. Corruption needs to be fought, impunity ended. Closer cooperation among countries in which actors exploiting and using natural resources operate should be pursued. With regard to due diligence mechanisms, quality, and independence of audits need to be ensured. Addressing the problem of conflict minerals therefore also requires political solutions and further steps.

In Africa, the AU and subregional organisations such as the ICGLR (International Conference on the Great Lakes Region) have an important role to play in this field. Germany welcomes their efforts and supports them as well as projects to strengthen good governance of mineral resources in a number of countries

Germany also backs the UN Global Compact which assits companies and investors and facilitates constructive discussions on how to engage in conflict-affected and high-risk areas in compliance with UN standards including the principles of anti-corruption, human rights and the respect of the environment. 

Support by UN actors also remains key. We want to specifically encourage the Peacebuilding Commission to engage in capacity building of national administrations as the successful implementation of control and regulating initiatives depend on functioning administrations and their integrity. PBC engagement to support the fight against corruption in affected countries also remains crucial. 

Furthermore, we believe that sanctions against traders of natural resources and companies dealing with armed groups could contribute to strengthening effective management of extractive industries. Existing sanctions regimes including the regime for the DR Congo provide for this option. It should be applied wherever feasible. In this context we would also like to raise awareness for a growing concern that – similar to poorly managed natural resources – contributes to conflicts and regional instability, namely poaching and the illicit trade of wildlife. We urgently need new strategies and more international efforts to address the increase in illegal wildlife exploitation. Exploring options for the United Nations to address the negative impact poaching has on peace and security will be at the core of a policy forum we will hold in cooperation with the International Peace Institute (IPI) tomorrow at the IPI. All member states are cordially invited to attend. 

Thank you, Mr. President."

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Peace and Security

Regional conflicts, fragile or collapsed states, armed conflicts, terrorism and organized crime – all have grave consequences for the people who suffer under them. They also threaten the security and stability of entire regions and peoples.