UNSC meeting on natural resources in the Great Lakes [fr]
NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE GREAT LAKES
STATEMENT BY MR ANTOINE MICHON
POLITICAL COORDINATOR AT THE FRENCH PERMANENT REPRESENTATION TO THE UNITED NATIONS
SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING IN ARRIA FORMULA
New York, 15 July 2020
=Translation from French=
Thank you, Mr. Ambassador,
First of all, I would like to thank the organizers of this meeting in Arria formula, on a subject that is essential for the future of the DRC and more broadly for the Great Lakes region.
As several briefers have illustrated very well, the extractive industries, especially when they include artisanal mining, offer a strong potential for employment, which is crucial for the stability of eastern DRC, where populations are currently suffering from a lack of economic opportunities. A prosperous DRC in the East would benefit all neighbouring countries, through its stability but also through the economic export opportunities it would offer. The whole region has an immediate interest in this sector being transparent and legal, with formalized rules that would benefit everyone. A concerted development of the mining sector in particular will be beneficial, by promoting job creation through responsible investment, by offering opportunities to ex-combatants who would choose to renounce violent action to ensure their survival, and also by strengthening the economic attractiveness of this region, which would make it possible to ensure its development. However, the implementation of a policy of strengthened regional economic integration is inseparable from a return to security, especially in the border areas of interaction, where significant tensions persist. And in that regard, the United Nations Special Envoy, whom I wish to greet, has an important role to play in order to make headway on the two inseparable dimensions of peace and security and economic and trade development.
With regard to transparency, which is essential, tools exist and deserve to be developed. I am thinking in particular of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which France put on the agenda of its presidency of the G7 last year. It helps to create the conditions for good governance in the extractive sector and to strengthen the capacities of producer States, as well as to fight corruption and misappropriation, promoting therefore both the legitimacy of States and greater trust among citizens.
We also need to do more on responsible due diligence of the entire supply chain, as recommended by the OECD guidelines, and speakers voiced support for this important point. But also, as a Council, we must not, finally, hesitate to use the tool of sanctions against those involved in this illicit trade, which has been destabilizing the region for so many years.
I hope that this meeting can be the beginning of real reflection, first and foremost among the actors in the region, to break out of this vicious circle so that the region can take full advantage of the potential offered by its natural resources.