Cablegate: Task Force On Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources:

DE RUEHKI #0278/01 0571431
O R 261430Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Task Force on Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources:
Coordination, Commitment and Challenges

1. (SBU) Summary: The Task Force on Illegal Exploitation of
Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region met for the fifth time
on January 20-22, 2010 in Kinshasa. As the first Task Force meeting
to be held in Kinshasa, and thus hosted by the government of the
DRC (GDRC), much of the program consisted of formal presentations.
Both the Minister and Vice Minister of Mines highlighted the need
to ensure a broad range of GDRC agencies in efforts to brake the
link between armed groups and the minerals trade; the need to
re-establish government authority at key mining sites; the role of
regional cooperation, including in regional certification systems;
STAREC (stabilization and reconstruction program for eastern DRC)
as a key DRC policy; and the key challenge of controlling and
monitoring the beginning of the supply chain. European Union
Special Representative (EUSR) for the Great Lakes Region Roeland
van de Geer highlighted the nature of the Task Force as that of an
ad hoc working group aimed at strengthening coordination and
concrete actions to stop the illegal exploitation and trade of
minerals in eastern DRC. The Task Force meeting was generally
positive, with the GDRC re-affirming its commitment to address the
illegal exploitation and trade of minerals in the eastern DRC. The
GDRC also largely agreed to the proposals presented by the Task
Force. The Task Force is currently reviewing the GDRC's draft
response on these proposals for formal approval. While the
program's presentations, including by the GDRC provided a thorough
overview of the issues and challenges, they did not present much
new in terms of GDRC policies or planned actions. Internal
discussions among Task Force members focused largely on ensuring
that the transfer of the Task Force from the capital-level to
Kinshasa and the GDRC did not result in the establishment of new
mechanisms or structures to support efforts to address conflict
minerals. End summary.

Task Force moves to Kinshasa


2. (U) The January 20-22 Kinshasa meeting of the Task Force on
Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region
was attended by representatives, either from capitals or
locally-based, of the following members countries or organizations:
EU, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Canada, France, the United
States and Spain. Representatives from the OECD, MONUC (UN Mission
in Congo), ICGRL (International Conference on the Great Lakes
Region), Japan, India and South Africa also attended; China did not
attend. The agenda included presentations by a range of GDRC
officials, members of Congolese civil society and the private
sector, international and regional organizations, and international
NGOs. In addition to the formal program, Task Force members met
internally on two occasions, as well as in smaller meetings with
select members of the GDRC. The Task Force's proposals to the GDRC,
agreed-to prior to the meeting, focused on eight areas:
coordination; mapping; the legal framework; capacity building; the
fight against impunity; due diligence; regional initiatives,
including certification; and transparency. The GDRC provided the
Task Force with an initial response to the proposal, which has been
circulated to Task Force members for review and approval.

Presentations highlight commitment and challenges

--------------------------------------------- ----

3. (SBU) In opening the meeting on behalf of the Task Force,
European Union Special Representative (EUSR) for the Great Lakes
Roeland van der Geer provided an overview of the objectives and
structure of the Task Force, highlighting that it is an informal
working group aimed at helping to support and find concrete
solutions to brake the link between armed groups and the minerals
trade in eastern DRC. The EUSR noted the eight proposal areas
presented to the GDRC, noting our shared goal of accelerating and
strengthening cooperation in these areas: The EUSR highlighted the
importance of coordination, including support for current and new
initiatives such as STAREC and the efforts of the ICGRL. The
importance of capacity building and improving the legal framework

KINSHASA 00000278 002 OF 003

were also noted. Turning to mapping, the EUSR noted mapping
efforts, including by the GDRC and NGO ISPS, but acknowledged the
fluidness of control of such sites as a key challenge. Finally, the
EUSR discussed current efforts and challenges to promote due
diligence in the sector, including initiatives by ITRI (focused on
the tin supply chain) and the OECD (focused on actions by
multinational companies). The key, noted the EUSR, is to address
the issue from both the supply and the demand side: putting in
place greater systems of control and monitoring, while at the same
time ensuring that legal trade is not undermined.

4. (SBU) Presentations by GDRC Minister of Mines Martin Kabwelulu
and Vice Minister of Mines Victor Kasango highlighted both strong
GDRC commitment to braking the link between armed groups and the
minerals trade in eastern DRC, and the GDRC's interest in working
closely with the international community in these efforts. Both
officials, as well as others from the GDRC, noted the need to
re-establish government authority at key mining sites; the role of
regional cooperation, including in regional certification systems;
STAREC as a key DRC policy; and the key challenge of controlling
and monitoring the beginning of the supply chain.

5. (SBU) A key component of GDRC efforts to bring greater
oversight and control at the largely informal, early stage of the
supply chain includes the establishment of trading centers ("centre
de negoces," in French), which would allow for the deployment of
various government agencies that oversee and regulate the minerals
trade much closer to the mining sites. (Note: The trading center
project includes five sites in North and South Kivu provinces.
Construction for the first two trading centers will be launched
shortly. The project is being implemented by IOM. End note.) The
GDRC is also working closely with regional partners, such as the
ICGRL, on the development and implementation of certification
schemes. The GDRC stressed in presentations that any certification
system must include regional trade partners and called on the
international community to ensure support from regional countries
in implementation of ICGRL efforts. Vice Minister Kasango also
highlighted GDRC plans to publish a map of mining sites, which has
already been initiated and will be published on the Ministry of
Mines web-site when finalized. The GDRC also touched-on the
sensitive issue of demilitarization of mining sites, with the
Ministry of Mines promising to work with the Ministry of Defense on
the issue.

Task Force internal discussions


6. (SBU) Task Force members met internally on January 20 and again
on January 21. The EUSR noted that while the Task Force had now
moved to Kinshasa, capital level meetings would occur as necessary.
A principal topic of discussion -- and concern for locally-based
members in particular -- was how the Task Force would work
functionally. It was stressed that the Task Force should work
within existing mechanisms, including the STAREC committee and the
GDRC-donor working group on the mining sector ("groupe thematique,"
in French), which has recently been reinvigorated in part due to
the launch of the World Bank's new mining sector assistance
program, Promines. (Note: The World Bank-led Promines program is a
$100 million, five year technical assistance program that focuses
on a broad range of activities aimed at improving overall
management of the sector. End note.).

Task Force proposals and GDRC response


KINSHASA 00000278 003 OF 003

7. (SBU) The GDRC presented the Task Force with an initial
response on January 22 to the Task Force's proposals. The Task
Force proposals include eight areas: (1) coordination and follow-up
mechanisms between the GDRC and international partners; (2)mapping
of mining sites; (3) clarification of the legal framework
applicable to companies operating in the mining sector; (4) The
fight against impunity, including against members of the Congolese
army involved in illegal exploitation and trade of minerals; (5)
capacity building; (6) improved due diligence; (7) regional
initiatives including certification; and, (8)increased transparency
in the mining sector through the implementation of EITI. The GDRC
was largely receptive to the proposals presented and, in turn,
provided Task Force members with a draft response that largely
corresponded with the Task Force's proposals. (Note: The GDRC's
response has been shared with Task Force members for review and
approval. End note.).

8. (SBU) Comment: The Task Force meeting, the first to be hosted
by the GDRC, provided a positive opportunity to discuss key issues
related to conflict minerals in eastern DRC. While the GDRC used
the meeting to show its commitment to addressing the issue with the
cooperation of the international community, it did not provide any
new ideas beyond those already known. The donor community is
already actively working with the GDRC to ensure that the task
force proposals, as well as structure, is advanced through the two
GDRC-donor mechanisms discussed: the mining working group and the
STAREC committee. Post believes that the GDRC is committed to
implementing the task force proposals and that the revitalization
of the mining working group, in particular, will be key to
advancing these efforts. End comment.

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