Our research investigates the drivers of the illicit gold trade, such as lax controls within countries and at trading hubs, and highlights recommendations such as formalization of the artisanal mining sector, fiscal reform, and harmonization of legislation. As leading experts in ending the illicit trade of gold, we provide analysis of certification, traceability, and due diligence as it applies to gold. In 2011, we published Taming the Resource Curse: Implementing the ICGLR Certification Mechanism for Conflict-prone Minerals, which outlined a certification mechanism for the 3Ts and gold (3TG) based on best practices. The mechanism was approved by all the Heads of State of the ICGLR with the Lusaka Declaration in December 2010. We’ve undertaken extensive research into women’s livelihoods, challenges, and opportunities for empowerment within the artisanal gold sector. We are also addressing environmental concerns and advancing the health of mining communities. We’ve collaborated with the United Nations Environment Programme on environmental assessments of artisanal gold mine sites and promoted mine site safety and environmental mitigation measures, including recommendations to reduce the use of mercury.
As part of our efforts to transform the gold supply chain, we’ve led efforts to support traceability and due diligence for the mineral while promoting benefits for the miners, their communities, and the producing countries. Since 2005, we’ve been working in partnership with the ICGLR—which classified gold as a conflict-prone mineral—and have taken significant steps to curb the illicit trade of gold. We advised the ICGLR during the drafting of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and we are a technical partner supporting their implementation of the initiative’s six tools, including the Regional Certification Mechanism and formalization of the artisanal sector. We helped develop the Regional Certification Mechanism and currently provide technical guidance to implement it across the ICGLR countries. To assist implementation efforts, we drafted a detailed Certification Manual in coordination with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Due Diligence Guidance. We have also supported the drafting of relevant domestic legislation, delivered our sensitization workshops, and provided training to mine site inspectors across Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. In addition, we are supporting the ICGLR as it operationalizes the Regional Database on Mineral Flows, which will provide national and regional authorities, as well as international buyers, with transparent and reliable data on minerals from the Great Lakes. We supported the founding of a regional civil society network, the Great Lakes Region Civil Society Coalition against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (COSOC-GL), and have provided training to support regional civil society organizations in their efforts to end the illicit trade of gold. We further collaborated with COSOC-GL to develop a toolkit for civil society to monitor and report on risks in the 3T and gold supply chain in order to support the private sector in their public reporting. We contributed to the development of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, advised on the supplement that provides specific guidance for gold, and continue to promote its implementation. We provide capacity building and sensitization workshops to policymakers, civil society, and the private sector on their responsibilities with regards to due diligence, and international and regional regulations. We also work with stakeholders to develop strategies to improve controls and end illicit trade.
Our work to end the illicit gold trade requires significant dialogue across stakeholders to promote tested systems. We drive dialogue with partners, including policymakers and industry to implement traceability and due diligence for the gold supply chain, as well as ensure benefits reach miners and their communities. We support regional approaches to end the smuggling and illicit trade of gold and other conflict-prone minerals, especially through work with our partners in in West Africa and the Great Lakes region to develop and implement joint strategies. We partner with COSOC-GL, a civil society network in the Great Lakes region working to end the illicit trade of natural resources, who bring the voices and concerns of artisanal miners to industry and governments. Together, we engage governments to strengthen their internal controls, and encourage the private sector to put in place traceability and due diligence for the entire gold supply chain. We provide sensitization and open dialogue about the needs of artisanal gold miners and restrictions they may face when entering the formal economy. We conduct significant outreach in relation to women’s rights, especially their rights to access, control, and benefit from natural resources. We also promote sensitization and raise awareness among consumers about the origin of the gold they purchase.