Eleven presidents coming to Zambia next week

Eleven Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) under the Chairmanship of President Rupiah Banda are set to meet for a Special Summit on Natural Resources this December 15th in Lusaka , Zambia .

The Special Summit was called upon following the African Union (AU) Summit in Adidas Ababa in January 2010 to find durable solutions to the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region.

At the AU summit, ICGLR Heads of State had expressed the need to look into the problem of illegal exploitation of natural resources and all the negative consequences it has had in the region.

The Communications Department of the ICGLR has disclosed in a statement to ZANIS in Lusaka today that a good number of initiatives have been carried out by the different stakeholders involved in the mining sector.

The Department says the ICGLR has organized a series of meetings to tackle the issue of illegal exploitation and illicit trade in natural resources in line with the ICGLR Protocol on the Fight Against Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources.

It revealed that the meetings brought together experts and ministers of mineral resources from the eleven Member States of the ICGLR, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), consult industries and end-users of minerals.

“The meetings were part of the efforts that are being undertaken by the ICGLR with its partners in undermining the illegal networks fuelling the violence in the region. It is known that the illegal mining and illicit trade in mineral resources are causes that drive conflict in Great Lakes Region and particularly in the DRC”, the Department stated.

It says the ICGLR had proposed to the experts and later on the ministers, a series of tools that it has developed in order to find a sustainable solution to the problem. It comprises of the introduction of a regional certification scheme for minerals guaranteeing the conflict-free source of minerals.

The Department further disclosed that additional measures have been taken including the harmonisation of Member States legislation governing mineral resources as well as the set-up of a data base on regional mineral flows.

It also revealed that apart from the Member States and co-opted countries, the Summit will also be attended by the Group of Friends and Special Envoys to the Great Lakes, co-chaired by the EU and Canada .

The ICGLR was created in 2004 as a response to the conflicts that ravaged the Great Lakes Region namely the genocide in Rwanda and the civil war in DRC. Its headquarters are based in Bujumbura , Burundi .

ICGLR Member States are: Angola , Burundi , Central African Republic , the Republic of Congo , the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya , Rwanda , Soudan , Tanzania , Uganda and Zambia .

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