Challenge: update the RCM to increase impact
After 7 years of implementation, the Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) of central Africa required review and revision, with a view to ensuring greater uptake and impact in the years to come. The RCM is a regional standard to combat the illicit production and trade of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (3TGs), which has been linked to conflict and the perpetuation of gross human rights violations. Drawing on the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, the RCM forms part of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RINR) and first entered into force in 2011. Despite some progress in implementation, notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, and more recently in Burundi and Tanzania, low implementation capacity has meant the RCM remains only partially executed and weakly enforced.
Solution: a collaborative process
Levin Sources and Responsible Trade carried out a comprehensive review and revision of the RCM on behalf of the ICGLR between January 2018 and October 2019, funded by German development cooperation. The changes made to the manual were based on detailed, third party analyses of the cost and impact of the mechanism to date, followed by a widespread stakeholder consultation exercise and technical redrafting by the consultants in collaboration with the ICGLR. International and regional stakeholders from government, industry and civil society provided input through workshop formats, information sessions and online consultation platforms. Several criteria were used to assess the appropriateness of revisions, foremost of which was to ensure greater alignment of the requirements of the RCM with the capacity of the ICGLR and Member States, as well as more closely reflecting the reality on the ground. In addition, all changes needed to contribute to increasing the credibility of the RCM, support implementation efforts and Member State ownership, reduce implementation costs, provide clarity on the requirements of the standard and roles and responsibilities of actors, increase the efficiency of the mechanism, improve alignment with the OECD due diligence guidance and provide for appropriate checks and balances.
The Second Edition of the Regional Certification Mechanism was validated by the Regional Committee of the ICGLR in October 2019. The new manual (hyperlink) integrates some major changes including a narrower focus of the mechanism on conflict and serious human rights violations, the removal of redundant or overly costly functions and greater emphasis on the importance and value of industry due diligence schemes in keeping clean minerals flowing, even where Member State checks are not in place. A detailed overview of the changes made and their implications can be viewed in our blog series on the Second Edition of the RCM (hyperlink).