In certain countries and especially those rich in resources, the extraction and trade of minerals, gas, oil or wood are financing armed groups who commit serious violations of human rights, rather than contributing to human development. To stop this circle of suffering, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission passed in 2012 the section 1502 of the Dodd Franck Act, requiring U.S. and certain foreign companies to report and make public their use of so-called “conflict minerals” from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries in their products. Following this legislation, companies must certify that 4 minerals (Tungsten, Tin, Tantalum and Gold, the “3TGs”) extracted in DRC and neighboring countries did not contribute to fund armed groups. Through this certification system, American consumers have stronger guarantees that their purchases of electronic products containing 3TGs did not contribute to human rights violations.

Reacting to this problem, the European Commission proposed the “conflict minerals” regulation in March 2014. The proposal was disappointing in many ways: it consisted of a self-certification system that companies could voluntarily join, and it only applied to 19 smelters and refiners based in the EU (while not covering all products entering the EU market that contain the targeted minerals).

In order to intensify the effort to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN is exploring financial solutions for the Sustainable better align the trillions of dollars of annual private investment with the sustainable development goals and their targets? Can this approach be prioritized with regard to long-term investments made with funds from multiple domestic and international sources? Can it be made to cover the full range of the 2030 Agenda – and might it reach into all countries, including the least developed and small island developing states?

Photo: A girl makes her way home
after fetching water at a coastal
village in Tacloban, Leyte province.
Photograph: Ezra Acayan/NurPhoto
/Rex

Three years after the typhoon destroyed more than a million homes and killed 6,000 people, the Philippines has fallen far short on house-building pledge.

When Typhoon Haiyan smashed into the city of Tacloban in the central Philippines almost three years ago, Arsenio was one of the lucky ones – he survived by swimming a kilometre to safety. “Every time there is a storm, I get scared, even after three years,” he said. “I don’t want to go through the same thing again.”

BankTrack recently published the second edition of its “Banking with Principles?” report, evaluating the progress of global private sector banks towards integrating the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into their policies, due diligence processes and reporting. The report is an update to our December 2014 benchmarking exercise, with its scope expanded from 32 banks to 45, and aims to uncover what progress has been made by the banks, 18 months on from the previous report and five years from the establishment of the Guiding Principles.

Corporate reporting can provide an essential contribution to monitoring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

This conclusion was highlighted in an UNCTAD Secretariat Note titled "Enhancing the role of reporting in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals: Integration of environmental, social and governance information into company reporting" prepared for a meeting of UNCTAD's Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR).

ISAR, comprising accountancy experts, is holding its thirty-third session from 4-6 October.

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