Conflict-free mining, Indian child trafficking, FSC termination and marine population decline
More than 140 DRC mines declared conflict-free
According to NGO the Enough Project, following several years of monitoring by business, government and civil society, more than 140 mines in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have now been certified as conflict-free.
Spurred by the Dodd-Frank act on conflict minerals, the Great Lakes regional minerals certification process represents the first time such a mech-anism has been implemented in the DRC.
Since the validation teams began their work three years ago, out of a total 180 mines assessed so far, 141 have now been validated as conflict-free.
In order to achieve conflict-free status, mines must be free of the presence of armed groups including the Congolese army, and free from child labour or labour by pregnant women.
Unregistered NGOs in India spark child trafficking fears
The supreme court in India has ordered the government to shut down children’s homes run by unregistered NGOs, amid suspicions that many of the centres had become hubs for child trafficking.
Under the Juvenile Justice Act, the state is required to set up special chil-dren's homes across districts where juveniles in breach of the law are housed and kept under observation. In some instances, the state directly sets up these homes, while in others, it contracts voluntary organisations to do so.
The court made it clear that the state must take steps to shut down the homes run by unregistered NGOs, calling the running of such homes “a very serious offence”, adding that lack of monitoring by the state renders it complicit.
A deadline of 31 December was set to close all homes run by unregistered NGOs and relocate the children into registered homes.
Japanese firm stripped of FSC certification in Laos
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has terminated certification for a tree plantation project in Laos by Japanese Oji LPFL, a company created by Japanese manufacturer of paper products Oji Paper.
The termination followed reports by auditor SGS that it could neither verify that adequate consultation with local communities had taken place before implementation of the project nor verify that these communities had indeed agreed to sell their land.
In its response, Oji LPFL said it “fortunately” did not see any negative impact to its business activity –including sales of LPFL products – following the withdrawal of the certification, as none of its customers require its product to be certified, adding that it would continue to operate in Laos ac-cording to national laws and deal with local communities in an environmen-tally and socially responsible manner.
Marine population halved since 1970
A study by WWF and the Zoological Society of London has found that ma-rine populations of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined by 49% over the past 45 years.
The report, which analysed more than 1,200 species, revealed that popu-lations of “Scrombidae”– the family of mackerels, tunas and bonitos that some communities rely on for food – are faring even worse, with a 74% population drop since 1970.
"Human activity has severely damaged the ocean by catching fish faster than they can reproduce while also destroying their nurseries," says Marco Lambertini, head of WWF International.
In addition to human activity, the study also cites climate change as a cul-prit with high levels of carbon dioxide being absorbed into the oceans, making them more acidic and damaging a number of species.
Demoncratic Republic of Congo Conflict minerals conflict-free human trafficking trafficking FSC forests