Global Witness is one of the most influential international NGOs addressing natural resource exploitation. For the last 20 years, Global Witness has been campaigning against the looting of natural resource wealth. They are pioneers in investigating and documenting the international economic networks which enable the illegal exploitation of natural resources. Their aim is an international trade system free from natural resource-related conflict and associated environmental and human rights abuses.
Global Witness is engaged in a great number of issues relating to the illegal exploitation of natural resources both on a local as well on a global level. They have divided them into following areas:
- Ending secrecy in oil, gas and mining deals
- Stopping the financial sector fuelling corruption
- Living within the planets limits
- Conflict and Fragile States
Investigation and Research
Global Witness have published ground-breaking reports documenting the linkages between national elites and international financial markets, between politicians, bankers and conflict parties in resource-rich countries. Their focus is on illegal practices of natural resource exploitation in resource-rich countries, mainly in Africa.
Click here for an overview over some landmark achievements.
Global Witness has published several important reports on trade with conflict minerals in the Great Lakes Region, especially in the DRC:
Best known as the ‘conflict minerals provision,’ Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act is a law that requires US-listed companies that use four minerals—tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold—in their products to determine whether their mineral purchases inadvertently fund armed groups in the DRC or surrounding countries. This report seeks to shed light on the facts and provide precise information on the content and scope of the reports that companies are required to submit.
The intensifying competition for commercial access to the world’s remaining deposits of oil, gas and minerals brings with it a serious risk of exacerbating corruption and violent conflict. This report shows that in Angola and Nigeria there is a risk that complex deals struck between governments and corporations for access to natural resources could be used corruptly to benefit vested interests in these countries, rather than the citizens. The report also points to major concerns over opaque sales of mining assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo to offshore companies.
Shifts in the control of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) mines have created opportunities to begin breaking the links between the mineral trade and the conflict that has plagued civilians for over a decade. This report uses recent field research by Global Witness to highlight some significant changes and outline what the key players must do to capitalise on them. It says that while much of eastern Congo’s mineral trade remains under armed control, the departure of armed groups from Bisie – the region’s largest tin mine – is a promising development.
Global Witness have been campaigning for greater transparency in the extractive sector for nearly 20 years. They were constitutive to the establishment of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative as well as Publish What You Pay campaign, two of the most important initiatives addressing accountability of natural resource revenues that exist to date.
Global Witness seeks to end the impunity enjoyed by individuals and companies that profit from the illicit (and often illegal) exploitation of natural resources and are constantly looking for ways to hold perpetrators of natural resource-related harm to account. This involves testing the limits of current laws and legal frameworks, exposing the ‘accountability gaps’, and calling for reform.
Global Witness has conducted influential research on abuses linked to the exploitation of Congo’s natural resources, using the findings to campaign against the uncontrolled felling of trees in the Congo, the funding of brutal armed groups through the conflict minerals trade in the country’s east and the involvement of opaque offshore companies in the country’s biggest mining deals. They have also sought redress through courts in companies’ home jurisdictions and monitored major new mining deals.