Identifying conflict-affected and high-risk areas for EU importers of minerals

Project overview

What is the issue?

Natural mineral resources can be a driver of development, generating income and economic growth for local economies, but can also contribute to the outbreak of violent conflicts and the exploitation of local communities.

The European Union (EU) is committed to ensuring that its imports of minerals and metals are sourced responsibly and align with European policies on conflict prevention and development. In light of this commitment, Regulation (EU) 2017/821 (“the Regulation”) requires EU importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (and the minerals containing them) to carry out supply chain due diligence based on the five-step approach established by the OECD.

How are we helping?

The European Commission Directorate General for Trade (DG TRADE) has contracted RAND Europe to conduct a project for the provision of an indicative, non-exhaustive and regularly updated list of conflict-affected and high-risk areas, or CAHRAs, (as set out in Article 14(2) of the Regulation). The objective is to develop, maintain and update such a list of CAHRAs to facilitate the calibration of due-diligence efforts made by EU importers of the relevant metals and minerals.

The project team is delivering this project in multiple phases and have developed a methodology to identify CAHRAs and an online platform and visualisation tools to make the information available.

To do so, they employed a mixed-methods approach including desk-based research, semi-structured interviews, validation workshops and webinars, mapping exercises, the development of a process flow and analytical methodology, and web interface development sprints and testing.

The most recent indicative and non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs is available at www.cahraslist.net. The list will be updated quarterly. For further information, please read the FAQs. For any further queries, please contact cahraslist@randeurope.org.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Project purpose, approach, scope, and limitations

What is the purpose and objective of the indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to EU Regulation 2017/821?

The project website (www.cahraslist.net) presents an indicative, non-exhaustive, and regularly updated list of conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRAs) (as defined under Regulation 2017/821). The project website was developed with funding from the European Union through call for tenders N° TRADE2018/G3/G11 (Revised).

The project website and its underlying project are to be understood in the broader context of the European Commission's work on trade in general and responsible sourcing of minerals in particular. The objective of this project and of the CAHRAs list is to facilitate due-diligence efforts of European Union importers of minerals and metals falling under Regulation (EU) 2017/821. Information available through the project website should be taken to be indicative, not exhaustive, and as constituting only a part of, and is not intended to substitute and cannot replace, the broader due-diligence efforts required to be conducted by relevant organisations and companies. Therefore, no reliance can nor should be placed on the use of this website in respect of contributing to or meeting a person, organisation or company’s legal obligations in relation to Regulation (EU) 2017/821.

It must be noted that importers sourcing from areas which are not mentioned on the list presented on the project website remain responsible for complying with the due-diligence obligations under Regulation 2017/821. Neither RAND Europe nor the European Commission (as contracting authority) assume any responsibility or liability in relation to the contents of this website nor the use of those contents. Equally, the inclusion of an area in the website’s CAHRAs list does not prohibit, imply, or suggest that business activities should not be conducted in this area, assuming that due-diligence obligations are properly fulfilled.

Does this list constitute an official list or document of the European Union?

The information and views set out in the project website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. Neither RAND Europe nor the Commission guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this list. Neither RAND Europe, the Commission nor any person acting on its behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

The project website and its reports are not official documents. Care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within the website and the indicative, non-exhaustive list, but no responsibility can be accepted by the European Commission, RAND Europe, or the data providers for any inadvertent errors or omissions. All warranties are excluded to fullest extent permitted by law. Any information in the project website not owned by the European Commission may only be re-used with the permission of the applicable content owner.

The boundaries, names and designations on the project website’s maps do not imply endorsement or acceptance by RAND Europe or the European Commission.

How often is the indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821 updated?

The indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821 presented on the project website is updated by the RAND Europe project team on a quarterly basis.

What is the geographic scope considered in the list?

The project is applied on a global scale and considers all non-EU countries. Please refer to the project website's Methodology Overview page and to the project’s methodological report for an overview of the methodology and approach that underpin the results of the indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821. Please refer to individual CAHRA reports listed on the project website for an overview of the specific considerations pertaining to individual CAHRAs.

Project methodology, definitions, and data sources

How was the project methodology underpinning the production and regular update of the indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821 developed?

Please refer to the project website's Methodology Overview page and to the project’s methodological report for an overview of how this was developed.

What is the difference between a conflict-affected and a high-risk area? How are these concepts defined in the context of the project and of the indicative, non-exhaustive list?

Please refer to the project’s methodological report for an overview of the key concepts, definitions, and overall scope underpinning the project. The project defines CAHRAs in accordance with the definition included in Regulation 2017/821 and further clarified in Recommendation 2018/1149.

What are the criteria and processes underpinning the methodology and leading to the inclusion or exclusion of CAHRAs from the indicative, non-exhaustive list relevant to Regulation 2017/821?

Please refer to the project website's Methodology Overview page and to the project’s methodological report for an overview of the methodology and approach that underpin the results of the indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821. Please refer to individual CAHRAs reports listed on the project website for an overview of the specific considerations pertaining to individual CAHRAs.

How were the sources and materials underpinning the project methodology selected for use and inclusion in the project?

The methodology proposed has been designed to benefit from a scan-the-scanner approach (see the project’s methodological report for further details), which enables it to provide a global assessment of CAHRAs under Regulation 2017/821 through an agile and resource-effective approach leveraging existing materials and data. Conversely, this also requires that the methodology relies on data and assessments produced externally. While the sources and databases included in the project methodology have been selected based on their reputation, data quality and, in most cases, previous inclusion in Recommendation 2018/1149, the project methodology cannot influence or independently quality-assure individual datasets and sources. The project team will regularly assess and consider the sources and datasets underpinning the methodology with a view to ensuring that resources employed are the best available and that their rigour and quality is adequate for the task at hand.

Why do certain issues and phenomena connected to concepts of security, fragility, and stability not appear to be considered as part of your assessment for identifying CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821?

Regulation 2017/821 provides under Article 2 a definition of some of the key concepts underpinning the scope and objectives of the Regulation. Among others, the Regulation provides a definition for CAHRAs that is further clarified in Recommendation 2018/1149. Project tender specifications and requirements emphasise the need for the methodology to be developed to adhere closely to the scope and definitions set out by the EC in the relevant Regulation. In this regard, any policy issues or phenomena not included in the scope and analysis conducted as part of this project are excluded on the grounds of the scope and limitations outlined in the texts of Regulation 2017/821 and Recommendation 2018/1149.

Moreover, the project methodology uses an array of composite indicators as well as proxy indicators to mitigate issues of data scarcity. Composite indicators represent simplifications of reality. Similarly, the employment of heuristics inevitably simplifies more complex operational realities or policy phenomena. While the use of such approaches is consistent with the project mandate to generate an indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821, users of the project website should be mindful of these limitations when consulting documents available there.

Why does the methodology underpinning the project not entail fieldwork activities or broader primary data collection efforts?

The methodology underpinning the production and regular updating of the project’s indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821 has been designed with a view to ensuring the feasibility of its implementation in a systematic and transparent manner for the duration of the project and on the basis of available time and existing constraints. As a result, this has entailed the exclusion of different research approaches and activities that could, from an ideal perspective, contribute to the strengthening of the proposed methodology (e.g. undertaking of fieldwork activities or widespread primary data collection efforts to investigate regions potentially considered as high-risk areas).

Will the project methodology for producing the indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs under Regulation 2017/821 be revised or updated?

The project methodology will be reviewed on an annual basis to consider any updates or adjustments necessary, as well as to consider the inclusion of any relevant additional data sources that may be developed or become available. Feedback on the project methodology was collected and addressed from stakeholders ahead of its implementation for the production of the project’s first indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs. For any feedback or comment concerning the project methodology, please refer to the ‘Contact us’ page of the project’s website.

Are there other resources and tools on this subject?

Please see the ‘Databases and information sources’ page of the project website for a list of resources and datasets employed by the project methodology, as well as for an indicative, non-exhaustive list of additional sources available on relevant subjects. Please note that where the project website links to other sites and resources provided by third parties, these links are provided for your information only. Such links should not be interpreted as approval by us of those linked websites or information you may obtain from them. We have no control over the contents of those sites or resources.

The CAHRAs included or excluded from the indicative, non-exhaustive list

Why is a specific country, region or area included in the project website’s indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs under Regulation 2017/821?

Please refer to the project site's Methodology Overview page and to the project’s methodological report for an overview of the methodology and approach that underpin the results of the indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821. Please refer to individual CAHRAs reports listed on the project website for an overview of the specific considerations pertaining to individual CAHRAs.

Why are regions and areas characterised by long-standing, ongoing conflicts not included in the indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs under Regulation 2017/821?

As per the project tender specifications and requirements, a country, region or area shall only be included in the indicative, non-exhaustive list if there is evidence associating it to any part of the supply and value chains of any of the metals and minerals covered in Annex 1 of Regulation 2017/821 on the basis of the project methodology. Therefore, conflict-affected or high-risk areas with no identified links to the supply and value chains of any of these metals are not included in the list.

Why are certain recent conflicts developing in countries relevant to the supply and value chains of metals and minerals relevant to Regulation 2017/821 not included in the indicative, non-exhaustive list?

The project’s indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821 is updated on a quarterly basis to reflect to the extent possible developments occurring across different areas of the globe relevant to the scope of the project. It should be noted, however, that the project methodology uses a wide array of databases and sources whose data is updated on an annual basis and which may therefore lead to the inclusion in the project’s indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs relevant to Regulation 2017/821 of areas witnessing recent and relevant developments only at a subsequent stage in time. Overall, please remember that information available through the project website should be taken to be indicative, not exhaustive, and as constituting only a part of, and is not intended to substitute and cannot replace, the broader due-diligence efforts required to be conducted by relevant organisations and companies. Therefore, no reliance can and should be placed on the use of this website in respect of contributing to or meeting a person, organisation or company’s legal obligations in relation to Regulation (EU) 2017/821.

It must be noted that importers sourcing from areas which are not mentioned on the list presented on the project website remain responsible for complying with the due-diligence obligations under Regulation 2017/821. Neither RAND Europe nor the European Commission (as contracting authority) assume any responsibility or liability in relation to the contents of this website nor the use of those contents. Equally, the inclusion of an area in the website’s CAHRAs list does not prohibit, imply, or suggest that business activities should not be conducted in this area, assuming that due-diligence obligations are properly fulfilled.

Why are certain countries, regions, or areas witnessing significant levels of violence not included in the indicative, non-exhaustive list of CAHRAs under Regulation 2017/821?

Regulation 2017/821 provides under Article 2 a definition of some of the key concepts underpinning the scope and objectives of the Regulation. Among others, the Regulation provides a definition for CAHRAs that is further clarified in Recommendation 2018/1149. Project tender specifications and requirements emphasise the need for the methodology to be developed to adhere closely to the scope and definitions set out by the EC in the relevant Regulation. In this regard Recommendation 2018/1149 notes that the definition of CAHRA included in Regulation 2017/821 follows key principles and concepts existing in international law (e.g. state of armed conflict, fragile post-conflict and failed states) and focuses on clarifying these with a view to facilitating their understanding and the operationalisation of due-diligence efforts by relevant stakeholders. Recommendation 2018/1149 clarifies that as regards the state of armed conflict issues of inter alia internal tensions, riots, and sporadic acts of violence should not contribute to the identification of a region as a CAHRA.

A region or area is listed in the project’s indicative, non-exhaustive list, but relevance to the supply and value chains for minerals included in Annex A to Regulation 2017/821 appears to stem primarily from other regions of the country. What is the rationale for the inclusion of such regions and areas in the list?

As per the project tender specifications and requirements, a country, region, or area that is not associated to any part of the supply and value chains of any of the metals and minerals covered in Annex 1 to Regulation 2017/821 shall not be included in the indicative, non-exhaustive list even if it were to be conflict-affected or high-risk. However, in case of doubt or incomplete or contradictory information regarding the relevance of a CAHRA to the Regulation, a CAHRA should be included rather than excluded. In light of this requirement, the project methodology has been designed to include in its indicative, non-exhaustive lists all CAHRAs that are located in countries that are connected through any of their regions or areas to the supply and value chains for metals and minerals relevant to Regulation 2017/821.