Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources

  The ICGLR Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RINR)

Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region

The Great Lakes Region is a frequently cited example of the paradox of plenty. On the one hand, it disposes of a substantial amount of natural resources which are in great demand on the global market. On the other hand, the region’s recent history has been marked by the disastrous effects of armed conflicts. So far, the abundance of natural resources has not yet been transformed into inclusive socio-economic wellbeing.

The key problem of this predicament is the missing linkage between the supply chain of natural resource and the formal economy of the ICGLR Member States. The exploitation and trade within the region are all too frequently conducted illegally. Consequently, the wealth deriving from natural resources is very unequally distributed and often finances rebel activities which further destabilise the region.

The foundation of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RINR)

As an answer to this persistent problem the ICGLR has developed a comprehensive approach to put an end to the predatory use of natural resources. The Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RINR; referred to as the Initative) particularly aims at breaking the link between mineral revenues and rebel financing.

As part of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region, which was signed by the eleven Heads of States in Nairobi on December 15th 2006, the Protocol on the Fight against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources outlines the actions that Member States have agreed to take. This Protocol provides the legal basis for the implementation of the Initiative which conversely aims at translating the Protocol into concrete actions.

  Four years after the signing of the Pact of Nairobi, the ICGLR Heads of State and Government further committed themselves to this pressing issue by holding a Special Summit in Lusaka, Zambia. At this occasion, they decided upon the use of six specific tools which the Initiative shall put into practice. Furthermore, this Special Summit served as a forum to expand partnerships with other relevant programs in the domain of natural resources exploitation such as the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict Affected and High Risk Areas. (Download the Lusaka Declaration)

The approach of the RINR

In general, the Initiative promotes dialogue between ICGLR Member States on issues related to the illegal exploitation of natural resources and provides them with tools aimed at breaking the link between armed conflict and revenues of natural resources. The principal approach is the setup of a regional certification system for cassiterite, coltan, wolframite and gold. The supply chains of these minerals which have proven to be related to armed conflict will be audited and certified in the framework of the ICGLR Regional Certification Mechanism which is the core tool of the Initiative..

The Steering Structure of the RINR

A Regional Steering Committee, comprising technical experts from all ICGLR Member States, has been charged with the steering of all activities within the Initiative since September 2009. Its suggestions on policies and technical guidelines are to be approved at a later stage by the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee as well as the ICGLR Summit. Meanwhile, the Conference Secretariat is collecting and managing the data provided by Member States and act as an exchange platform on issues concerning the Initiative.


Despite of being a relatively new initiative the RINR has already achieved some remarkable successes in its fight against the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region.

To begin with, a certification manual has been developed and approved by the 11 Heads of State. It provides a practical guide for the implementation of the Regional Certification Mechanism.

Another important step was the submission of a draft legislation model to the Committee which will make it easier for ICGLR Member States to domesticate the legal provisions of the Protocol into national legislation.

Also worth mentioning is the test version of a database which has already started to gather data on the production and exports of selected natural resources.



Downloads- as posted on 26 September 2014

- ICGLR Certification Manual. EnglishFrench

- ICGLR Appendices to Certification Manual. EnglishFrench (CIRGL Annexes)

Model Law

- ICGLR Third Party Methodology. EnglishFrench (Methodologie des Audits Tierce Partie de la CIRGL.)