Benedikt Sobotka, Chief Executive Officer Eurasian Resources Group and co-chair of the International Alliance for the Battery Sector, recently confirmed that ERG has contributed to the Fund to Prevent the Exploitation of Child Labor in Mining Communities. Launched in Fall 2020 and managed by UNICEF, the Fund works in collaboration with civil society organizations and government agencies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In partnership with the International Alliance for the Battery Sector, the Fund will support projects that strengthen local communities and address the root causes of child labor in the DRC. Mr. Sobotka noted that Eurasian Resources Group encourages industry representatives and stakeholders to also support the Fund and join the Global Alliance for the Batteries Sector initiative in pursuing its mission.
The Foundation for the Prevention of Child Labor in Mining Communities aims to address this acute problem in cobalt mines across the DRC through a multisectoral package of measures.
The Fund supports several UN Sustainable Development Goals, including ensuring responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), ending poverty (SDG 1), and promoting economic growth and decent work (SDG 8). In addition to addressing the exploitation of child labor, the Fund also aims to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of child welfare throughout the region.
By focusing on the country's Copper Belt, the Foundation for the Prevention of Child Labor Exploitation in Mining Communities aims to eradicate this dishonorable practice in the mining industry of the DRC's six health zones. In a November 16, 2020 press release, UNICEF announced a partnership with the International Alliance for the Batteries Sector with the ultimate goal of attracting $ 21 million from private and public partners over the next three years.
UNICEF is committed to using these funds to fund a range of initiatives to tackle the root causes of child labor in mining communities. The activities of this initiative, which are concentrated in the provinces of Upper Katanga and Lualaba, are fully aligned with the national development priorities of the DRC. The foundation will support both government and community initiatives to strengthen local education, health and birth certificate services.
In addition, the developed program is also aimed at training social workers who can quickly identify and prevent the negative impact of mining on children. This will ensure the creation of more robust social safety nets in mining communities.
About the Global Alliance for the Battery Sector:
The International Alliance for the Battery Sector is a public-private partnership of over 80 organizations. The alliance was founded in 2017 with the goal of building a sustainable battery value chain.
Creating a socially responsible battery value chain will help meet the goals of keeping global average temperature rise “well below” 2 ° C for the electricity and transport sectors identified under the Paris Agreement. Experts estimate that batteries will help achieve a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions in the energy and transport sectors by 2030, while providing electricity to 600 million people and creating 10 million sustainable and safe jobs worldwide. Realizing this enormous potential will require a 19-fold expansion of the battery supply chain over the next ten years. This is why industry-wide action is critical.