Eleven Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) are expected to meet for a Special Summit on Natural Resources in Lusaka, Zambia, today.
Rwanda is a member of ICGLR.
“The idea to call for a Special Summit on the illegal exploitation of natural resources came during the AU Summit that took place in Addis Ababa in January 2010,” a statement from the regional entity reads in part.
“The Heads of State had expressed the need to look into the problem of illegal exploitation of natural resources and all the negative consequences it has had in the region.”
The statement stressed that the summit is in line with the ICGLR Protocol on the Fight Against Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources, and takes into account the new development, the DR Congo ban on mining operations in its Eastern provinces.
It comes after a series of meetings organised by ICGLR to tackle illegal exploitation and illicit trade in natural resources.
The meetings brought together experts and ministers of mineral resources from the eleven Member States, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), consult industries and end-users of minerals.
The forums were part of the efforts that are being undertaken by the ICGLR, with its partners, to undermine the illegal networks fuelling violence in the region.
ICGLR had proposed to the experts and later on the ministers, a series of tools that it has developed to find a sustainable solution to this problem.
It comprises of the introduction of a regional certification scheme for minerals guaranteeing the conflict-free source of minerals.
The ICGLR was created in 2004 as a response to the conflicts that ravaged the Great Lakes Region. Its headquarters are in Bujumbura, Burundi.
Member States are; Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Soudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.