The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), an intergovernmental organization of 12 African states, has organized a meeting on the harmonization of its protocols on the fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources, from the 21st to the 24th March 2017, at Beatrice Hotel, in Kinshasa (DRC).
Participants who attended the meeting were legal advisers from Ministries in charge of Mines in ICGLR member states and legal focal points from all ICGLR member states: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The Arab Republic of Egypt, as ICGLR co-opted member, the ICGLR Forum of Parliaments, ICGLR partners namely GIZ.
Being a partner of ICGLR, the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC), an intergovernmental organization of three member states (DRC, Rwanda & Uganda), was requested to participate as an observer in this meeting.
This meeting was officially opened by Mr. Ngoy Lulu, Chief of Staff of the DRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration. The opening session also addressed by the ICGLR national coordinator in DRC, Amb.Kakese Vinalu, the representative of the chair of the meeting, Mr. Nevis Ombasa and the representative of the ICGLR Executive Secretary, Amb. Ambeyi Ligabo.
Mr. Lulu recalled that the Great Lakes Region is well known all over the world one of the richest regions in natural resources and that, instead of benefiting from these most precious natural resources, its populations have become victims of its abundance in natural resources. He noted that the protocol to fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources is one of the most relevant protocols in the fight against negative armed groups which have established their strongholds in the richest zones of the region to continue illegal exploitation and trade in natural resources to detriment of the local populations and the whole region.
The ICGLR National Coordinator, Amb. Kakese Vinalu, welcomed all delegates to Kinshasa and noted that by domesticating the protocol to fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources in all member states, illegal exploitation and trade in natural resources will be eradicated, leading to sustainable peace, security and stability as well as improved transparency and good governance in the management of natural resources. He pointed out that two countries (Rwanda & DRC) have so far domesticated one protocol from 10 protocols within 9 years after ratification of the PACT.
In their recommendations, participants recalled, among others, the Declaration of the Special Summit of ICGLR Heads of States and Government held in Lusaka, Zambia on 15 December 2010 on the fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources, particularly article 9 by which member states committed to domestication of the protocol; and updated the regional roadmap for domestication of the protocols, especially the Protocol on the fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources in their respective States for submission to the meeting to the meeting of Permanent/Principal Secretaries from the Ministries in charge of Mines.
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