“The structural transformation of our Mineral resources potential into competitive and sustainable industries is an essential component of any long-term strategy to ensure the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for poverty reduction”. These were among the statements made by Mr Achille Bassilekin III, Assistant Secretary General of the ACP Secretariat and Head of the Department of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade, during the 2nd European Raw Material Conference, held in Brussels last week.
The Head of the Department of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade, encouraged awareness of transparency, as this has been a core element in the debate on raw material initiatives at the European Council and EU Parliamentary level since 2008. In this regard, he re-welcomed the proposal of the Commission to amend the existing Directive on Transparency for listed companies, and stated that this proposal “could be a major step towards global standards in transparency”.
He pointed out that concerning the issue of raw materials “all [actors] are interdependent”. Mr. Achille Bassilekin III also called on the ACP Group and the cooperating partners thereof to collaborate in the area of mineral resources to “make this area an instrument for inclusive growth in line with Agenda for Change”: “If we want to improve fairness in Global Trade, we also need to restore balance of negotiation capacity between ACP states and mineral resources investors. In that context, assistance from developed partners and relevant International Institutions would be required”.
Nonetheless, he warned of the risks of global competition for access to mineral resources to eventually producing a “race to the bottom” if certain countries didn’t respond properly to their lagging development, a fact that seems “potentially dangerous for the most vulnerable countries, such as those of the ACP Group”.