The current of wealth from the world’s abundant natural resources was too often diverted away from populations in need, instead feeding conflicts and corruption, and leading to human rights abuses and environmental damage, warned a number of high-level speakers as they briefed the Security Council.
Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, stated that in too many countries, a wealth of resources, including timber, oil, coal, diamonds and precious metals, failed to translate into equivalent wealth for the people. “Only a powerful few benefit,” he said, adding that the result of that inequality was bitterness, mistrust and alienation ‑ the precursors to conflict.
Although Governments held the primary responsibility for preventing conflict and for equitably managing resources, he underscored, the United Nations supported dispute resolution and grievance mechanisms on the ground through its rule of law programmes. Together with international financial institutions, the Organization could help Governments to develop capacity on taxation policies and better regulate extractive industries.
In addition, he said, where resource extraction was fuelling conflict, the Security Council had a crucial role to play. The expert groups that supported sanctions committees were a valuable tool and their recommendations to the Council, its committees and Member States should be important catalysts for action. “Ultimately, all parties need to recognize ‑ and act upon ‑ the links between poverty, inequality, conflict and sustainable development,” he said.
Kofi Annan, Chairperson of the Africa Progress Panel, said that in the past 15 years alone, rivalry for access to natural resources had fuelled war and rebellions in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and South Sudan, among others. Oil had played an important role in the recurring violence in the Niger Delta.
While natural resources did not cause war, he noted, competition for them could amplify and expedite conflict. However, by securing global rules to close down opportunities for tax avoidance and eliminating murky and exploitative deals, the global community could help prevent the conditions that led to armed conflict over the spoils of resources.
It was encouraging, he said, that a shared agenda was emerging, pointing to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to prevent “blood diamonds”. Such endeavours demonstrated that the global community could work together to cut off illegal revenue that fuelled war.
Caroline Anstey, Managing Director of the World Bank, said that it was crucial to work with countries through the entire extractive industry value chain. The World Bank Group was assisting countries to negotiate contracts and to create a level playing field. “We also need to pay attention to the environment and the local communities affected by these investments,” she said. Noting that the World Bank Group could do more, she outlined several new initiatives, including, among others, an Open Contracting Initiative to ensure transparency in all public contracting.
Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), agreed that, when managed effectively, natural resources could jump start economies and improve peoples’ lives. However, countries that hosted multinational companies needed to create transparency provisions in their laws and regulations and fight illicit capital flows, bribery and tax evasion. Robust legal and policy frameworks were also needed to enable countries to negotiate fair contracts, which would also protect communities through social and environmental safeguards. UNDP worked to strengthen national human rights institutions among others. Still, such efforts needed to be extended. “The world cannot afford to not deliver the stepped up support it will require,” she said.
The representative of Germany, joining the more than 40 delegates who took the floor, stressed that financial transparency in the extractive industry was crucial to reduce the potential for conflict and to deter corruption. He joined other speakers in expressing support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Kimberley Process and the statement made the previous day at the Group of Eight Summit.
The representative of Ethiopia agreed that work done at the country level surrounding good and democratic governance was critical. While it might not be fair for Africa to always blame others for problems that were sometimes of its own making, he remarked, also pointing out that no region of the world had been the subject of so much abuse and destabilization activities because of greed focused on the continent’s natural resources.
Uganda’s representative said that the African Union had also shown its resolve in supporting governance, including through the African Charter on Democracy, Election and Governance and other mechanisms. However, he emphasized that the principle of permanent sovereignty over one’s own natural resources was an inalienable right and that all actions taken must support national well-being.
The delegate from Timor-Leste, commenting that her country was a very young nation, said that her country’s petroleum industry was critical to economic growth and capacity development. National legislation ensured that the country’s population benefited from that resource. Currently chairing the Group of Seven Plus of conflict-affected or transitioning countries, she said that the Group knew from bitter experience that without peace and stability, there could be no development. Conflict was development in reverse, she stated.
The representative of Argentina, in a debate that also emerged over the use of Security Council sanctions to regulate the trade in resources related to conflicts, issued a strong warning against intervening in the domestic affairs of any State. It was transnational companies that were primarily to blame for many conflicts. As well, her counterpart from the Russian Federation warned against dangerous “quasi-sanctions” which did not take into account the specific nature of a country situation.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the United States, Luxembourg, Pakistan, France, Togo, China, Australia, Morocco, Guatemala, Republic of Korea, Azerbaijan, Rwanda, United Kingdom, Denmark, South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland, Belgium, New Zealand, Canada, Turkey, Botswana, Bolivia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Armenia, Malaysia, Gabon, India, Sudan, Eritrea, Ecuador, Egypt, Papua New Guinea and Japan.
A representative of Delegation of the European Union also participated.
The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 4:56 p.m.
The Security Council convened today to hold an open debate on the theme “Conflict prevention and natural resources”.
For that discussion, it had before it a letter dated 6 June 2013 from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, which was addressed to the Secretary-General (document S/2013/334).
JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that in Sierra Leone, guns financed by blood diamonds and illegal timber “are now silent” and the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, was facing international justice.
However, he continued, in too many countries, a wealth of resources, including timber, oil, coal, diamonds and precious metals, failed to translate into equivalent wealth for the people. Instead, communities and individuals paid a terrible cost in terms of corruption, human rights abuses and environmental damage. “Only a powerful few benefit”, he said, adding that the result of that inequality was bitterness, mistrust and alienation ‑ the precursors to conflict.
Managed wisely, extractive resources could, and should, be the foundation for sustainable development and lasting peace, he said. The private sector was a key player in equitable, transparent and sustainable exploitation of extractive resources, as demonstrated in Botswana, Colombia, and Malaysia, to name a few. Civil society, national Governments and international organizations, also had important roles to play.
In that regard, Governments held the primary responsibility for preventing conflict and for equitably managing resources, he stressed, adding that political leaders should ensure that extractive industries generated employment and tax revenues which supported economic development and the provision of basic services. Preventing conflict related to resources also meant identifying social, economic and environmental impacts.
United Nations political and peacekeeping missions, as well as country teams supported dispute resolution and grievance mechanisms through their rule of law programmes, he went on to say. They worked to ensure that issues related to extractive industries were part of mediation efforts and were addressed in peace processes. Together with international financial institutions, “we can help Governments develop capacity on taxation policies and regulations relevant to extractive industries, and to address the impact of inflation and currency fluctuations,” he stated.
Noting that the United Nations was working to address a significant gender dimension to extractive industries, he also pointed out that, in countries recovering from conflict, the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and country teams could engage extractive companies in training and employing former combatants. Furthermore, where resource extraction was fuelling conflict the Security Council had a crucial role to play. The expert groups that supported sanctions committees were a valuable tool and their recommendations to the Council, its committees and to Member States should be important catalysts for action.
In addition, he said, the expert groups had also provided guidance to the private sector. Private sector initiatives, such as the Kimberley Process in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, were important to accountability, conflict prevention and sustainable development.
“Ultimately, all parties need to recognize ‑ and act upon ‑ the links between poverty, inequality, conflict and sustainable development,” he said, observing that voluntary action by the corporate sector underpinned the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Guiding Principles and Human Rights. As demand for extractive resources increased, so would competition and rivalry. That must not lead to more violent conflicts in fragile nations, but rather to cooperation and a shared sense of responsibility.
KOFI ANNAN, Chairperson of the Africa Progress Panel, said that in the past 15 years alone, rivalry for access to natural resources had fuelled war and rebellions in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and South Sudan, among others. Oil had played an important role in the recurring violence in the Niger Delta. That close association had led some people to describe the discovery and exploitation of natural resources in Africa a curse. However, natural resources, he stated, were neither a curse nor a blessing. “They are simply a source of opportunity. They can be used for tremendous good or they can be wasted, he said.
In the past decade, he said, Africa’s economies had ridden the crest of a global commodity wave, enjoying the benefits of high export prices due to the surging demand for natural resources in China and other emerging markets. Africa’s petroleum, gas and natural resources had become a powerful magnet for foreign investment. “The challenge facing the region’s Governments is to convert the temporary windfall into a permanent breakthrough in human development,” he said.
Natural resources did not cause war, but competition for them could amplify and expedite conflict, he continued. Therefore, discussions must centre on how those resources could contribute to higher development outcomes and reduce inequality. The actors involved in their extraction and the global commerce rules that could prevent such centrifugal forces from occurring also needed to be addressed. Effective, transparent management of a country’s natural resources was a priority for conflict prevention, fighting corruption and promoting sustainable development. If exploited well, natural resources could help strengthen socioeconomic development, peace and security, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.
African Governments, he said, must develop national strategies under which natural resources could be developed, including fiscal policies, contractual arrangements and tax regimes. Such strategies must identify extractive projects that could generate more jobs by linking effectively to the existing local economy and exploring how to fit the extractive sector with plans for poverty reduction, inclusive growth and social transformation. Success would require leadership, transparency and accountability, as well as support from the international community.
However, he pointed out, when foreign investors extensively used offshore companies, shell companies and tax havens, they weakened disclosure standards and undermined the efforts of reformers in Africa to promote transparency. Such practices also facilitated tax evasion and, in some countries, corruption, draining Africa of resources need for poverty reduction. This year’s Africa Progress Report found that anonymous shell companies had been used in five deals that cost the Democratic Republic of the Congo nearly $1.4 billion between 2010 and 2012 ‑ almost double the country’s combined 2012 budget for health and education. “Indeed, Africa loses money every year through a tax avoidance technique known as trade mispricing than it receives in international development assistance,” he said.
By securing global rules to close down opportunities for tax avoidance, and limiting the use of shell companies and other tools that contribute to secret, murky and exploitative deals, he stressed that the global community could help prevent the conditions that led to armed competition for the spoils of natural wealth. In that regard, the Council could play an important role. For example, in West Africa the Council had taken vigorous action to ban the traffic in diamonds and timber, the proceeds of which were funding armed groups. Without those steps, the United Nations efforts to end the war there would have been harder. While not ideal, the Kimberley Process to prevent “blood diamonds” demonstrated that the global community could work together to cut off illegal revenue that fuelled war. Now what was needed was a more ambitious, comprehensive framework for transparency, fair tax practices and asset pricing.
Economic governance, built on a decade of strong growth, continued to improve in many African countries, against the boom-bust cycle fuelled by earlier commodity booms, he noted. Democracy sweeping the continent was strengthening natural resource management. Some investors had shown they could make a healthy return from African investment while adhering to the highest global standards of social and environmental protection. As well, cross-border economic collaboration was a strong peacebuilder and should be strongly encouraged by Governments with private sector partners, through multi-country pipelines, iron ore smelters, refineries and other downstream industries based on extraction.
It was encouraging, he said, that a shared agenda was emerging. Citizens everywhere were raising questions about fairness, social justice, and citizenship. In the past year, the United States and the European Union had introduced new transparency requirements, and the United Kingdom and France had signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Canada had announced its intention to introduce mandatory transparency requirements for its extractive sector as well, and Switzerland had just voted to draft a payment disclosure law similar to the ones in the United States and the United Kingdom. The global community had a major responsibility to put in place such an environment, he said, noting the participation of the Group of Eight (G8) Summit in Lough Erne earlier this week towards that goal, and he expressed hope that the United Nations could continue to play its role to help make those endeavours successful.
CAROLINE ANSTEY, Managing Director of the World Bank, said that recent data showed that slow-developing, low-income countries dependent on natural resources were more likely to fall into civil war than others. However, if managed well, natural resources had the potential to transform countries and pull them out of the cycle of poverty, war and aid dependency. In that regard, the World Bank Group was committed to helping countries sustainably manage natural resources.
It was crucial to work with countries through the entire extractive industry value chain, she said, adding that a level playing field for negotiating contracts and regulations was also critical. The Group was assisting countries to negotiate such contracts. “We know the importance of proper collection of revenues,” she said. The new Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative standards had raised the bar on that collection and the Group would assist countries to meet that standard.
“We also need to pay attention to the environment and the local communities affected by these investments,” she went on to say, adding that civil society, parliamentarians, and the media had a key role to play in that regard. Stating that much more needed to be done to ensure that resources were “a blessing and not a curse”, she underscored that transparency created a level playing field that was good for investments. To that end, she commended the recent G8 declaration which had tackled tax evasion and emphasized the need for transparency.
Outlining where the World Bank Group could do more, she said that while much progress had been made on revenue transparency, transparency around contracts and licences was now needed. The Group had just launched the Open Contracting Initiative, which would work to ensure transparency in all public contracting. Second, the Group was working to create a “trillion dollar map” to literally put resources on the map.
Third and finally, she described the Open and Collaborative Private Sector Initiative, including a pilot of an open data index of registered corporations. That would generate open-source, transnational data sets, including a visual representation of the corporate network to which a particular company belonged. For extractive industries, that tool could be transformational.
“We should not shy away from the fact that translating natural resource wealth into private investment […] is complex,” she said. While the drive for control over resource wealth could bring instability to an entire country or continent, it could also support growth. “Peace and development are inextricably intertwined and must go hand in hand,” she stressed, adding that the World Bank Group was committed to keep pushing that critical extractive industries initiative.
REBECA GRYNSPAN, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said experience showed that, when managed effectively, natural resources could jump start economies, create stable societies and improve peoples’ lives. Chile and Botswana were good examples of that trend.
More than half of all countries with Council-mandated missions were resource dependent, she said. Since 1990, the number of oil-producing countries with ongoing conflicts had increased, while non-oil producing countries had become more peaceful. That trend highlighted how the extractive sector was an international peace and stability issue that required a development response. Thus, least developed countries and conflict-affected countries needed support with creating legal, institutional and policy frameworks and mechanisms. Further, countries that hosted multinational companies and stock markets where global corporations were listed must create transparency provisions in their laws and regulations, and fight illicit capital flows, bribery and tax evasion.
She also said that robust legal and policy frameworks were needed to enable countries to negotiate fair contracts and establish transparency rules to guide Governments and companies. Such frameworks must also protect communities through social and environmental safeguards, prevention of illicit capital flight and tax evasion, and the building of institutions and governance systems with the capacity to enforce laws and negotiated agreements.
She outlined how UNDP was assisting Governments to, among others, access technical support, lessons learned and best practices; identify capacity gaps; and establish concrete action plans. The Governments in the United Republic of Tanzania, Liberia and Sierra Leone had all received support with contract monitoring, and the Afghan Ministry of Mining had gotten assistance towards building its national capacity and establishing basic mining regulations. As well, through the Global Environment Fund, UNDP had also helped introduce in the United Republic of Tanzania, Sudan and Zimbabwe cleaner gold mining and extraction technology as critical environmental safeguards to protect communities.
Involving communities from the start was critical to prevent misunderstandings, diffuse tensions and prevent conflict, she stressed. Through the European Union-United Nations partnership on land, natural resources and conflict, UNDP worked with civil society groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda to establish conflict resolution mechanisms that could lessen tensions over land and revenue.
She also noted that UNDP had aided the strengthening of national human rights institutions to protect people’s rights and build community and civil society capacity. Such efforts should be extended to help companies fulfil their obligations under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Global Compact. Countries also needed support to prudently manage large revenue inflows and invest them well. The work of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Revenue Watch, Publish What You Pay, and the Africa Progress Panel were critical and important steps forward.
In Azerbaijan and Mongolia, she continued, UNDP had helped establish insulated “investment funds”, and in Angola and Kazakhstan, it had helped set up incentive programmes for the extractive industries to work with local businesses with on-the-job training and involvement in supply chains. “The world cannot afford to not deliver the stepped up support it will require,” she stated.
SUSAN RICE ( United States) said that, since 1990, at least 18 armed conflicts had been fuelled by natural resources, resulting in illicit trade that fomented corruption and competition. The horrors perpetuated in Sierra Leone in the 1990s and the current conflict in the Central African Republic were prime examples. Conflicts associated with natural resources were also twice as likely to relapse in the first few years. National Governments must lead in responsibly managing natural resources, but the international community should help by reducing the space for corruption. The United States had passed a number of laws in that regard, supporting such international initiatives as the Kimberley Process, which it has chaired last year, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Yet, the Security Council, which had reinforced the Kimberley Process as well as related sanctions regimes, must continue to act as well, she said, noting that last year it had called on Member States to combat the transnational flow of goods that could fuel conflicts and insecurity. “The Council’s attention to those threats must continue,” she stressed.
SYLVIE LUCAS (Luxembourg), associating with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, said that just as competition within and between States for natural resources could be a source of armed conflict, trade in such resources often made it possible to prolong those conflicts. The loss of fiscal revenue held hostage the fiscal dividends of development. The Security Council, therefore, had a key role to play in effectively combating such challenges, particularly through the Organization’s missions. Close coordination was needed with all relevant actors in the field, and the Council should note those issues when it established or renewed mandates. In addition, that coherent approach should be taken into account in the creation of sanctions regimes, and a legal framework must ensure that extractive industries make public amounts paid to Governments. She welcomed the G8’s declaration, adopted yesterday, on the importance of transparency, as well as the direction taken in the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda discussions, which placed peace and the development of transparent, responsible institutions at the core of its vision.
MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan) said that a lack of capacity to effectively manage resource wealth was chief among the causes of reignited conflicts in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Natural resources had been illegally exploited and were being used to finance militant activities. There was “no panacea or shortcut”, he stated. However, the United Nations needed to lead on a “coherent strategic approach” to help countries caught in conflicts over natural resources. That meant ensuring the Security Council paid attention to natural resources when considering situations on its agenda, and took targeted measures against those responsible for violating its embargoes. Affected countries, especially where the illicit trade had a cross-border dimension, needed more resources and help with capacity-building through regional approaches such as the African Mining Vision. Reform of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme would also help. He added a call for mining companies to be held accountable for engaging in illicit activities.
MARTIN BRIENS ( France) said that natural resource management was a major issue within conflict prevention. Underscoring that the Council’s role was not to question the sovereign rights of States over their resources, but to prevent natural resources being used to fuel conflicts, he said he regretted that the Council could not adopt a text on that issue because of one delegation’s objection. If tensions around natural resources had major consequences on a region’s stability, good management then was essential in the reconstruction and peacebuilding phase, as demonstrated in South Sudan and Sudan. Further, the Council had the responsibility to encourage initiatives that ensured proper resource management and established the basis for lasting peace. In that regard, France supported the Kimberly Process and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. In addition, private companies should be encouraged to sign on to the United Nations Global Compact. The United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank could play a very useful support role in helping countries transparently manage their resources, and he called for enhanced coordination between those bodies.
KODJO MENAN (Togo), stating that the issue of natural resources should not just be seen as a development and conflict management issue, pointed out that conflicts in Africa had been fuelled by the search for natural resources. During civil wars, diamonds and other precious minerals had financed military action and had given rise to systematic violations of human rights. Multinational companies and foreign powers, as well, had benefited from current conflicts to gain control over resources and attain unfair concessions for contracts. Therefore, criminal mechanisms must be used to hold them to account and international justice institutions must carry out investigations. The Kimberley Process should be revised to make it more effective in reducing predatory mining of natural resources in Africa. Transparency in exploitation and management of those resources was a key tool, and in that regard, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative was encouraging. Early measures to better redistribute profits would ensure that natural resources could be used to strengthen development. He also said he regretted that, due to some members’ inflexibility, the Council could not agree on a presidential statement today.
WANG MIN (China) said that in some conflict regions, the illegal use and smuggling of natural resources were likely to develop into major triggers that fuelled conflict. However, it was imperative to respect the sovereignty of States over the resources located on their territories, with their exploration and use based on national prerogatives. Other countries must respect those decisions and United Nations agencies and programmes should step up coordination to help States improve their management of those resources. For its part, the Security Council, while continuing its constructive role, should rely more on mediation and good offices. He stressed that Council sanctions were not a goal in themselves but a means to an end, urging that they should be more targeted. It was also imperative to pay more attention to the role of regional and subregional organizations in helping countries beef up their management of natural resources. “Turning natural resources into promise for developing countries requires the support of the international community”, he said, adding that countries should be assisted to “shake off the resource curse” and accelerate their development.
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation), emphasizing that resources often underpinned the development and economies of countries, said that States had the sovereign right to manage those resources in line with their international obligations. However, it was important to note that the source of the conflict was not the natural resources as such, but the aggressive acts of parties to the conflict. Taking into account the humanitarian impacts on the population as a whole, mechanisms such as sanctions could be initiated by the Security Council only in the cases of specific violators. In that regard, it was dangerous to introduce “quasi-sanctions instruments” which were broad and did not address the specific nature of a country’s situation. The deep-seated cause of conflict was often due to the existence of sanctions and the results of “imprudent” policies by some countries. With regard to illegal trade in natural resources, there were always two parties involved; buyers must also take responsibility for the results of their actions. An important and current example was countries that bought oil from areas in Syria which were controlled by illegal armed groups.
PHILIPPA JANE KING (Australia) said help with effective and transparent resources management should be part of the international community’s efforts to assist resource-rich developing countries. Australia’s Mining for Development Initiative was an example. Emphasizing the Security Council’s important role, she noted its efforts to prevent funds, derived from illegal exploitation of resources, from fuelling conflicts in Liberia, Somalia and Côte d’Ivoire. However, she also urged the Council to “broaden and deepen” its understanding of the issue and to become more proactive. That meant working strategically and forging coherent partnerships with initiatives like the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the African Mining Vision. The Council also needed to be more confident in using sanctions to prevent or limit the use of natural resources to fund conflict. As well, peacekeeping missions needed to be mandated to provide better assistance to Governments to assess threats and build management capacities. A good example of that was resolution 2098 (2013), which expanded the mandate of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). She then stated her disappointment that the Council had been unable to agree on a presidential statement that would have “advanced consideration of this issue in a meaningful way”.
LOTFI BOUCHAARA (Morocco), pointing out that natural resources could support development and enhance social cohesion, said that the transparent and inclusive management of them was vital and could foster economic growth and stability. With each State having sovereignty over its natural resources, the necessary conditions must exist to ensure an equitable distribution. Thus, the difficulties by States to control exploitation of natural resources must be addressed. United Nations agencies and the international community at large must better coordinate efforts in that regard. The international financial institutions, subregional groups, private sector and civil society could play a leading role as well.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) called the exploitation of natural resources a “double-edged sword”, generating potential benefits to host countries, but sometimes also leading to internal and regional conflict. Diamond and river-bed gold mining were cases in point. The Security Council must, therefore, examine the potential link between the management of natural resources and the prevention of conflicts on a case-by-case basis. Despite Somalia’s export ban on a natural resource, the Monitoring Group had found that the illegal exploitation of vegetable carbon continued to be about 10 per cent of Al-Shabaab’s financial backing. In that regard, he called for a renewed commitment to fully implement sanctions. Noting programmes like the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, he stressed the necessity of tripartite initiatives between Government, the private sector and civil society, promoting transparency and the responsible management of the extractive sector.
MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL (Argentina) said that the conflicts directly or indirectly linked to natural resources were not limited to the African continent. The major battles of the twenty-first century would be ones over natural resources in Latin America. In fact, due to the conduct of transnational companies ‑ which undermined the sovereignty of States, particular weak and impoverished States ‑ many conflicts existed, she said. In response, the international community should establish a fairer and more balanced world order, and should condemn a world market in which “everything had a worth except human lives”. Despite those challenges, however, the intervention of the Security Council should arise only in cases of conflict and post-conflict situations which were on its agenda, and avoid intervening in the domestic affairs of any country. As well, preventive diplomacy should play the lead role. Moreover, ridding the world of natural resource-related conflicts would require the commitment of those Governments where multinational companies had their headquarters, as well as the responsibility of destination or transit countries and the private sector.
KIM SOOK (Republic of Korea), recalling the strong correlation between a country’s dependence on extractive industries and its susceptibility to conflict, said that to tackle that problem, it was essential that the gains from extractive industries be shared in a society through fair, transparent and well managed processes. “Good governance, rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts are indispensible,” he added. Outlining several suggestions for ways that the Security Council could help to support Governments in that regard, he said that it could consider providing appropriate mandates to peacekeeping and special political missions to help Governments address the economic dimensions of conflict. It was also imperative that the Council followed through on the implementation of its sanctions in the context of natural resource management. In addition, with regard to post-conflict situations, the Council needed to further strengthen its cooperation with other organs within the United Nations system, such as the Peacebuilding Commission and the World Bank.
SAMIR SHARIFOV (Azerbaijan) said that the systematic marginalization and exclusion of local communities from the management of resources were powerful conflict drivers, easily turning a nation’s “resource blessing into its curse”. Addressing the underlying causes of such conflicts would include ensuring inclusiveness, transparency and accountability, he said, noting the mismanagement of extractive industries generating vast revenues that had led to corruption and caused severe economic loss. He emphasized the important role of various multi-stakeholder voluntary mechanisms that involve Governments, the private sector and civil society, in particular the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. He also said that the illegal exploitation of natural resources in a territory under foreign military occupation was carried out with the sole aim of consolidating military gains, preventing an expelled population from returning to their homes and obstructing ongoing peace efforts. The United Nations must, therefore, take all necessary measures, including through targeted sanctions, to prevent State-owned and private entities from illegally exploiting natural resources in territories under foreign military occupation.
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA (Rwanda), emphasizing that the Council should pay attention to the mismanagement of natural resources, said that those resources were an economic driver for poor countries, which in some cases was a blessing, but in others a curse. In addition, it was not true that the more natural resources a country had, the more likely it was to economically prosper. Resource exploitation in Africa had benefitted multinational corporations rather than the local community, increasing the gap between rich and poor, and benefiting only the elite.
In the Great Lakes region, he went on to say, terrorist armed groups had benefitted from illegal exploitation of resources. Therefore, the Council must ensure that the management of natural resources not fall into the hands of illegal groups. The United Nations country teams must work diligently to support the Kimberley Process, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and other transparency initiatives. In that regard, his Government had set up a verification mechanism to discover the origin of conflict minerals, and to ensure that resources in its territory were traceable. The Peacebuilding Commission could use its leverage to ensure natural resource considerations were mainstreamed. He called on the United Nations to support more capacity-building for countries in need.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) expressed disappointment that the Council could not reach agreement on a presidential statement. Contrary to what some Council members asserted, natural resources management did not fall outside the Council’s mandate. Endowment of oil and gas did not necessarily induce conflict in resource-rich countries. It created an opportunity for economic growth. The Council must use all its tools to ensure that that opportunity was seized. Peacekeeping missions must work closely with United Nations country teams, international financial institutions, and national and regional actors to help build national institutions’ capacity to that end.
He went on to say that national leaders in resource-endowed countries must commit to create strong institutions to ensure their extractive industries did not become a source of conflict. The private sector must ensure their operations respected human rights. At yesterday’s G8 Summit, leaders agreed to take action to raise global standards for transparency. The United Kingdom had joined the Kimberley Process and it supported the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. It was also helping Sierra Leone and Afghanistan build support for their respective mining sectors and set up independent audit functions for mining activities.
CHRISTIAN FRIIS BACH, Minister of Development Cooperation for Denmark, speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, said the Peacebuilding Commission could play a central role in promoting coherence among stakeholders. “Coordination and knowledge sharing at all levels and between processes and stakeholders are of paramount importance,” he added. Co-chair of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, he said the Dialogue’s New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States laid out five peace- and state-building goals, of which one was the production of economic functions and State revenues that would safeguard delivery of public services. He stressed the importance of respecting strategies owned and led by the countries involved in the conflicts and supported the work of the group of fragile States, known as the Group of Seven Plus (g7+). It was important to strengthen existing local structures to promote conflict-free mining. For example, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region in Africa had laid out the legal and operational framework to implement a regional certification mechanism in 12 countries.
JEREMIAH NYAMANE KINGSLEY MAMABOLO (South Africa) said that countries endowed with natural resources should ideally be able to use them to improve the social and economic conditions of their people. The Council’s tools, including sanctions, were important to ensure that such resources did not continue to fuel conflicts. However, those measures should be exercised with great caution. The African Union had adopted its “Mining Vision” strategy in 2008, which was now helping States to develop strong and accountable regulations of their extractive industries. There were several examples of largely stable, resource-exporting countries where resources had not led to conflict, but instead to the improvement of their populations’ lives. That was clear evidence of the fact that conflict was deeply rooted in the social and economic structures of a country, and not just in the existence of natural resources.
He said that good governance, national legislation and strong regulation, as well as countermeasures ‑ including anti-corruption initiatives ‑ were some of the ways that tensions and conflict could be avoided. Turning to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which South Africa was currently chairing and which was marking its tenth anniversary this year, he said that the scheme ensured that the rough diamond trade did not finance violence by rebel movements seeking to undermine legitimate Governments in Africa. The scheme had also had a significant impact in improving the circumstances of those dependent on the diamond trade for their livelihood.
LUIZ ALBERTO FIGUEIREDO MACHADO (Brazil), recalling the impact business interests could have on the success or failure of peace efforts, said now was the time to further articulate conflict prevention and the demand side of the equation. More was needed to indentify new means to stop resources from feeding armed conflict. In the same vein, the sound exploitation of natural resources was, for many States in conflict or post-conflict situations, the single most important vehicle for economic development. Therefore, the international community and the Security Council, in particular, must help strengthen national ownership and State institutions necessary to exercise national oversight over natural resources and develop policies to ensure that the extractive industry always serves development and not war. When State sovereignty was fully exercised, there were fewer chances of the misuse of natural resources to fuel conflict.
MIGUEL BERGER (Germany), associating with the statement by the European Union, said that financial transparency in the extractive industries and of minerals imported from conflict regions was crucial to reduce the potential for conflict and to deter corruption. He supported the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Kimberley Process and the statement made at yesterday’s G8 Summit. Germany was leading a certification and traceability initiative to establish certified trading chains in Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for minerals and natural resources. That would foster the efforts of local mining authorities and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region. Good governance in resource-exporting countries was needed to make those technical solutions feasible. He welcomed efforts by the African Union and the International Conference in that regard. Sanctions against traffickers of natural resources and companies doing business with armed groups could strengthen natural resource management, and should be applied wherever feasible. As well, new strategies were urgently needed to address the increase in illegal wildlife exploitation, which also fuelled conflict.
RICHARD NDUHUURA (Uganda), emphasizing that peace, security, development and human rights were linked and mutually reinforcing, stressed that the primary responsibility for conflict prevention lay with national Governments. The African Union had shown its resolve in supporting States to those ends, including through the African Charter on Democracy, Election and Governance, the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Panel of the Wise, the Continental Early Warning System and other mechanisms. Endowment with natural resources provided countries with significant opportunities for national development. However, the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources as an inalienable right must be exercised in the interest of the development and well-being of the population. When countries’ natural resources were well managed and the revenues generated were utilized for spurring economic growth, infrastructure development, education and health, numerous benefits were derived.
Natural resources, he went on to say, could, and often did, cause conflicts within countries as different groups and factions fought for their share. In other cases, belligerents’ access to natural resource revenues through illegal exploitation could fuel or prolong conflicts. It was therefore necessary to emphasize the need to intensify national, regional and international efforts to improve natural resource management through sharing of best practices and measures such as stabilization funds, subregional development programmes, and transparency initiatives. Commodity monitoring and certification schemes and initiatives, such as the Kimberley Process and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, were important, as well as other tools aimed at curbing illegal exploitation through raised awareness.
IOANNIS VRAILAS (European Union) observed that the illegal exploitation and trade of natural resources had led to the development of numerous initiatives ‑ some aimed at halting the trade of minerals sourced from armed groups, and others promoting good governance and financial transparency or responsible business principles. Yet, those initiatives could not work alone and the international community needed to use a full range of development, trade, security and diplomatic instruments while upholding human rights. The Union had adopted policy frameworks and business standards to promote transparent supply chains. For example, it had played a crucial role in creating the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and had adopted the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s “Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risks Area”. As well, the European Commission was considering a comprehensive supply chain initiative by the Union for responsible sourcing of minerals originating from conflict areas. Regarding peace agreements, he said those accords had to create conditions in which belligerents had more of an incentive to become part of a peace economy than remain in the shadow economy.
THOMAS GUERBER (Switzerland) said many missions mandated by the Council, along with country teams, were operating in countries where extractive industries played a major economic role. It was essential that those mandates recognize the link between conflict and natural resources, and assist efforts to help national Governments manage their extractive industries. With its composition, the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission was ideally suited to promote the management of natural resources in a way that that took due account of conflict. It was equally important that the private sector, particularly multinational companies involved in large-scale projects in fragile environments, adopt approaches that were sensitive to conflict and human rights. His Government, he said, expected international companies based in Switzerland to comply with statutory provisions now in force, meet their human rights due diligence obligations, and refrain from contributing to conflict.
BÉNÉDICTE FRANKINET (Belgium), aligning with the European Union, said that her country had organized a debate on the role of natural resources in conflict in 2007, which had resulted in the adoption of a presidential statement. Referring to several initiatives, including, among others, the Kimberley Process, she also noted that several tools were at the disposal of the Security Council, including mediation efforts and sanctions. In addition, several peacekeeping missions had been given mandates in the area of natural resources. Any response, however, should take into account the value of the United Nations system’s work in areas of the rule of law and the strengthening of capacity. However, because it was crucial that States have ownership over their natural resources, it was up to those Governments to establish solid and transparent governance and regulations in order to reduce their vulnerability to conflict. It was also up to them to ensure that policies were in place to use revenue from natural resources for the benefit of their entire population. Such work required the close cooperation of the private sector, as well as the United Nations system and the international community. Finally, she drew attention to a draft General Assembly resolution, to be presented jointly by Belgium and Gabon, which would promote sustainable development in the management of natural resources.
JIM MCLAY (New Zealand) said the Security Council had identified natural resources as a “root cause” of conflict in Africa. However, the issue needed to be considered in its wider context. Competition for resources had also driven conflict in the Pacific. Extractive industries were “tempting targets” for non-State actors and “peace spoilers”. Because the natural resource dimension to conflicts posed a major challenge to international policymakers, the entire United Nations system needed to tackle the issue. The Council did not have “exclusive competence” to deal with the issue and needed to adapt its methods to enable engagement with other appropriate organs, as well as regional and subregional groups. The most effective tools to deal with resources dimensions of conflict were targeted sanctions, and peacekeeping and special political missions, which should be mandated to assist national capacity- and institution-building efforts aimed at reducing the risk of future resource-driven conflict. He also called on the Council to pay more attention to the need for national ownership.
GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada) said his country recognized the potential economic benefits of natural resources as those resources directly and indirectly employed about 1.6 million people in Canada and contributed nearly 20 per cent to its gross domestic product. Acknowledging the importance of transparency and accountability in the extractive industry, his Government recently announced it would establish new mandatory reporting standards for Canadian extractive companies. He said Canada’s work in the international extractive sector was a prime example of how Governments could foster development partnerships to advance global development objectives and reduce poverty. Further, his country’s commitment to back responsible natural resources governance was part of its efforts abroad, as demonstrated in its Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy. He also said that the inclusion of the issues at hand were welcomed in the relevant mandates of United Nations missions, which could play an important role in building national institutions and managing related conflict risks. Sanctions could provide powerful incentives to reform existing regimes when conflict and resource exploitation intersected.
HALIT ÇEVIK (Turkey), recalling the United Nations Environment Programme data that at least 40 per cent of all intra-State conflicts had a link to natural resources which then doubled the risk of a relapse into conflict within five years, stressed that there was even a correlation between the illegal extraction of natural resources and incidences of sexual violence, which was very concerning. To combat that scourge, all measures had to be taken to prevent the illicit trade and illegal exploitation of those resources. The private sector also could make important contributions by helping to develop the extractive industries and generate the resources needed to help those countries develop. In addition, the international capacity of the United Nations had to be developed. The Peacebuilding Commission was well placed to coordinate efforts and provide guidance and resources.
TEKEDA ALEMU ( Ethiopia) said the United Kingdom should be commended for its Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. While it might not be fair for Africa to always blame others for problems that were sometimes of its own making, no region of the world had been the subject of so much abuse and destabilization activities because of greed focused on the continent’s natural resources. “Is there a better illustration of this than what has befell the [Democratic Republic of the Congo] since the time of Patrice Lumumba?” he asked. The work done at the country level surrounding good and democratic governance was critical. This work needed to allow space for grassroots participation and control. Too many intrusive external initiatives could be seen as depriving national ownership.
CHARLES THEMBANI NTWAAGAE (Botswana) said natural resource conflicts were “not new” and had common underlying causes. Primary among them was “greed and corruption driven by self-interest of governing elites”. Such predatory governance was often accompanied by high military spending to suppress populations. Poor societal welfare and a feeling of Government neglect also increased the likelihood of rebellion. The Security Council was uniquely placed to lead, though a paradigm shift was needed in the way it did business. Rather than being crisis driven, it should invest in prevention, including the use of high-level mediators and fact-finding teams. His country had avoided the “resource curse” because of prudent and visionary leadership, graduating to middle income country status because of revenue from natural resources being invested in areas like education, health and infrastructure development.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) pointed to a bilateral war in his region, stating that had been promoted by two oil companies. The concept note circulated by the Council was interventionist in nature and aimed to have the Council interfere with State sovereignty. Many of the interventions promoted by permanent Council members were being carried out under the slogan of promoting freedom. But talk over democracy was really about the desire for oil, and calls for human rights were really about cheap labour. If oil was not the real goal, he asked, then what were the excuses for the wars in Iraq and more recently in Libya? Those who wanted natural resources wanted to control their supply. There had been an attempt to artificially redesign global institutions. Such a move would undermine the sovereignty of State. In essence, it was colonialism. Conflict prevention required looking at the role of transnational and multinational corporations in armed conflict. The Council must be reformed, as should the United Nations in order to meet the needs of today’s world. What was really needed was a new world economic and financial order.
HERMAN SCHAPER (Netherlands) expressed concern that the scarcity of resources, accelerated environmental degradation, increasing prices and the unsustainable use of resources would lead to poverty and social unrest. He then highlighted various events focusing on improving international resource governance and security and human rights in the extractive industries. To contribute to the common objective towards regulating the flow of conflict minerals while aiming to prevent further armed conflict, the Netherlands had created a “conflict free tin supply chain”. He described how Dutch diplomats were serving as neutral brokers, bringing the whole international supply chain together, from mining cooperatives in a validated “conflict free mine” in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, to exporters, to a Malaysian smelter, and to companies such as Philips, Tata Steel, Motorola Solutions, Nokia and Fairphone.
U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) said that in recent years, while inter-State conflict over natural resources had been managed through mediation and adjudication, the struggle over domestic natural resources had been a source of brutal conflict. Therefore, the Council should focus on natural resource exploitation as a root cause of conflict. Natural resources must be managed responsibly, with the equitable distribution of returns providing for health care, education and poverty alleviation, and reinforcing development. In Nigeria, tensions in the oil-rich Delta Niger were being exacerbated by the illicit foreign-driven exploitation of the region’s natural resources, oil theft, illegal bunkers, illegal fishing and the subsequent degradation of the environment. Despite Government action to ease tensions, the situation had become more tenuous by illicit domestic and external activities that resulted in the loss of some 150,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
GAREN NAZARIAN (Armenia) said the United Nations was well placed to help countries manage their natural resources as they emerged from conflict, as a multidimensional approach was necessary. Regional initiatives and groups could be used to promote trade and economic development. A coordinated effort, along with good governance, was necessary to develop integrated approaches. Although corruption was a problem due to the sheer volume of revenue derived from natural resources, those resources could contribute to countries’ economic development as they emerged from conflicts.
SAIFUL AZAM MARTINUS ABDULLAH (Malaysia) said that her country has worked to reach a balance between good governance and maximizing the yield of its oil reserves. In 1974, it created its national oil company, PETRONAS, with much of the State-owned entity’s success stemming from relevant laws and the running of that company as a full-fledged commercial organization. Governed by its Code of Conduct and Business Ethics, PETRONAS continued to accommodate developments in local and international laws and practices, as well as technological developments and benchmarked international standards. The Code promoted legal and procedural compliance and provided a moral compass. Turning to the United Nations, she said that the Peacebuilding Commission was one of the Organization’s mechanisms in providing neutral, impartial and consultative advice to countries. Member States were already using the Commission to work in the field and help national Governments devise strategies and actions.
SOFIA MESQUITA BORGES (Timor-Leste), pointing out that her country was a very young nation, said that international best practices had been used to manage its natural resources. An important part of its Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030 focused on economic progress and the development of industries to diversify its economy. The country’s petroleum industry was critical to economic growth and capacity development. The Government was determined to ensure any income generated from those resources benefited its people, including future generations. To that end, the Petroleum Fund Law had been passed, requiring all petroleum income to be invested in a sovereign wealth fund, in accordance with the principal of good governance to benefit current and future generations.
She also said that Timor-Leste currently chaired the g7+ group, which knew from bitter experience that without peace and stability, there could be no development. Conflict was development in reverse. The g7+ nations had been promoting the New Deal and its Peace Building Statebuilding Goals to address economic issues, along with revenues and services, as well security. Such efforts would ensure development was led and owned by a country. Strong partnerships were essential to help build resilient, effective and efficient institutions. Further, she noted that her country served as co-chair with Denmark of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, noting that the partnership brought fragile, conflict-ridden countries together with international partners.
ALFRED MOUNGARA MOUSSOTSI (Gabon), noting that natural resources could prove an “aggravating factor” to existing conflicts, said that poverty was linked clearly to the loss in revenue experienced by Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where natural resources were used anarchically. He called for better access to the Kimberley Process, which he hoped would achieve universality. He also urged for better monitoring of sanctions targeted against war perpetrators or those who profited from war, stressing that such sanctions should go hand in hand with embargoes on weapons. The Security Council needed to include and enhance provisions of technical support within its peacekeeping operations to help stop the contribution of natural resources to war. He had joined in the discussion on finding a new direction for peacekeeping operations to account for climate change along with natural resource management, adding that he would present a draft in the framework of the Working Group on management of natural resources to ensure that they contributed to development.
MANJEEV SINGH PURI (India) said the history of conflicts over natural resources was marked by outside interference, which, when combined with domestic political and ethnic rivalries, produced a “particularly combustive mix for conflicts”. All United Nations Member States had the right to control and manage their own affairs, including their natural resources. Further, respect for their sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity was imperative. Pointing out that six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies were African and that the continent’s gross domestic product was expected to reach $2.6 trillion by 2025, he said that increased international assistance and capacity-building, led by the United Nations, could result in even faster progress. Having witnessed a “concerted push to bring several normative issues into the Council’s agenda under the pretext of their affecting international peace and security”, he also said that the system would only run correctly and effectively if the division in roles and responsibilities between the Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other specialized bodies was respected.
HASSAN HAMID HASSAN (Sudan) said that assistance given to States needed to align with the principles of sovereignty, legitimacy, national ownership and national strategies for resource management. He referred to the conflict in Darfur, saying years of extreme drought cause resource scarcity, promoting rivalry and conflict between tribes. The Government had laid down strategies to avoid future conflicts over gold mining, emphasizing that sound, transparent management of resources was vital. The United Nations needed to provide neutral, honest advice and support to Governments when requested. He said he hoped that the United Nations would send a “strong message” to the so-called “Sudan Revolutionary Front”, operating in Northern and Southern Kordofan, adding that such movements would not have been able to commit “flagrant crimes” if they had been dealt with strictly. The Council needed to take effective punitive measures against groups targeting resources, wherever that may be.
ARAYA DESTA ( Eritrea) said exploitative interference by external powers and transnational corporations undermined the right of many Member States to use and manage their natural resource, which then fuelled global conflicts. He noted the Council’s actions to curb the negative consequences of the illicit trade in natural resources, targeting non-State actors. However, such actions must be with the full consent and engagement of the State concerned. No Council resolution should undermine a State’s right to exploit its natural resources or be used as a tool for political pressure. United Nations organs dealing with socioeconomic development were best suited to discuss the issue of international cooperation for natural resources. He also pointed out that his country had come out from the ashes of war and, endowed with natural resources, had recently reached the stage of developing and exploiting its mineral resources in close cooperation with global partners. Under its mining policy, mineral resources were public property; their conservation and development must be ensured for future and present generations. The Government had been heavily investing revenues from its nascent mining sector to develop human resources, build infrastructure and provide basic social services.
XAVIER LASSO MENDOZA (Ecuador) reiterated his country’s permanent position to reject continuing efforts to bring to the field of security, and thus to the Council’s jurisdiction, matters linked with development and issues such as natural resources. The General Assembly was the proper forum to deal with those topics of universal interest. Regarding the prevention of conflicts that could be caused by natural resources, he pointed out two transcendental aspects, the first being that global responsibility was to be shared but differentiated, as the rich countries had polluted the most while South countries retained the largest natural heritage and supplied the “environmental public goods” for all humanity. The second was that as global income was redistributed, unlimited economic growth was impossible. That unbridled tendency had to be limited in ways that promoted sustainability.
MOHAMED KHALIL (Egypt) said that efforts of countries in post-conflict situations to manage natural resources should be supported, including through technology transfer. As a member of the Group of Friends on Natural Resources, Egypt supported the Kimberley Process and other related initiatives. The efforts of the Peacebuilding Commission to ensure that extractive industries contributed to socioeconomic development could not be overemphasized. All stakeholders, including international financial institutions, must do their part towards that end. Building legitimate institutions was the key to breaking the cycle of violence. He commended the African Mining Vision adopted by the African Union in 2008, underscoring the importance of regional approaches to equally distribute the share of revenue from natural resources.
ROBERT GUBA AISI ( Papua New Guinea) said since the end of the Council’s 2005 mandate, post-conflict building in the autonomous region of Bougainville continued to be a work in progress, with numerous milestones and institutional strengthening yet to be achieved. His Government was working to ensure that the wealth generated from the massive LNG project funded by Exxon, along with other mining and multinational corporations, as well as natural resource ventures, benefitted all of the country’s people in a balanced way. In addition, his Government had proposed to share the wealth with other Pacific countries; that endeavour was already happening in a small way. His Government was aware of the huge responsibility to properly and fairly manage the exploitation of its vast natural resources, including copper, gold and other base metals, as well as gas and petroleum. Under the legally sanctioned and compulsory natural resource development forums, the Government must consult all landowners and groups within the resource areas, including those on the periphery, to obtain their approvals to develop the resource. The Constitution guaranteed traditional ownership of land by peoples.
TSUNEO NISHIDA (Japan) called on the Peacebuilding Commission to facilitate the integration of natural resource issues into its strategies, as well as in the context of security and justice sector reforms. Post-conflict populations should be able to benefit from natural resources extracted from their own soil. Highlighting the role of civil society and the Internet in improving transparency and using the example of Liberia, he said that Government’s decision to publish mining contracts on a website enhanced confidence in contracts negotiated with private companies. In addition, Japan had contributed to improving the management of resources towards effective sanctions regimes; the livelihood and welfare of populations in conflict-affected mining areas; and the support of the expansion of various international initiatives, such as the Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chain of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas.