We need raw material diplomacy, not conflict – by Günther Maihold (IPS Journal – February 18, 2021)


Trade in valuable minerals often fuels violent conflicts. The EU’s new approach to raw material diplomacy could change that

While blood diamonds are certainly the most well-known ‘conflict raw material’, they are by no means the only one. The proceeds from their sale have, for example, been used to finance and prolong violent conflicts in Africa.

But if the European Commission should get its way, the banning of such raw materials would be expanded to strategic ones – through a new EU regulation on conflict minerals.

Raw materials are an indispensable part of modern economies and geopolitical competition. Naturally, that leaves them in high demand. However, mining and exploiting them is often linked to high social and environmental costs in many countries of the Global South.

Moreover, in many countries where there is an abundance of raw materials, their proceeds foment armed conflicts. With its regulation, the European Commission is now trying to open a new avenue in raw material diplomacy.

European importers of critical raw materials will have to take on more responsibility. Due diligence and obligations to provide supporting evidence will be made binding for companies through the regulation that came into force in January.

For the rest of this article: https://www.ips-journal.eu/topics/international-relations/we-need-raw-material-diplomacy-not-conflict-4986/