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Open Letter to the European Union: The Critical Raw Materials Act Must Ensure Effective Social, Environmental and Governance Safeguards and Provide Meaningful Participation

To be globally just and sustainable, the Critical Raw Materials Act must ensure effective social, environmental and governance safeguards and provide meaningful participation to local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and civil society in resource-rich countries.

17 July 2023
Dear Commissioners,
Dear Honourable Members of the European Parliament,
Dear Ministers,

We, movements, Indigenous Peoples, and Civil Society Organizations, particularly but not exclusively from resource-rich countries in the Global South, are very concerned due to the lack of strong due diligence terminology and safeguards for the sourcing of raw materials in the Critical Raw Materials Act and other related legislation.

We, in resource-rich countries, are already experiencing the double impacts of the climate crisis, on one hand via the effects of climate change itself and on the other hand from the increase in mining and renewable technologies infrastructure resulting from decarbonisation plans of rich countries. The EU’s decarbonisation ambition is laudable, but to be just and fair, it has to follow the rule of law and its associated legislations have to adhere to the highest standards, including the respect of human
rights, Indigenous Peoples’ rights and environmental protection, not only within the European Union, but in other resource-rich countries – including our lands and communities.

The Critical Raw Materials Act and other related legislation, such as the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, among others, will have a direct impact on our health and well-being, cultural practices, traditions and values, livelihoods, and environment. People are regularly killed attempting to safeguard the environment we rely on.

For this reason, we ask you to take a human rights-based approach to decarbonisation and ensure that all rights holders and stakeholders in resource-rich countries, not only governments and the private sector, are involved in the process in a full and meaningful way. More specifically, we ask you to set the following minimum conditions for strategic projects and the sourcing of raw materials from resource-rich countries: 

1) Respect human rights, Indigenous rights and adhere to international human and environmental rights legislation, agreements, and standards, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ILO Conventions as well as the full Aarhus convention, the Escazú agreement as well as the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. The CRMA should ensure that companies adhere to strict mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence. 

2) Ensure that strategic partnerships are formed and run in a democratic manner
Negotiations for strategic partnerships should be announced in a timely fashion and agreements with resource-rich countries should be disclosed prior to approval. The CRMA should address the high corruption risk in the mining sector.

3) Meaningful participation and accountability
Rights holders, especially Indigenous Peoples, civil society organisations and local communities, must have a stake in the governance of the CRMA and should be able to participate in the definition and monitoring of strategic projects and partnerships.

4) Minimum requirements for strategic projects
The environmental and social impacts of mining and other projects related to the energy transition should be assessed during the permitting process and projects cannot go ahead without concerned Indigenous Peoples’ Free, Prior Informed Consent.

Companies participating in strategic projects should have in place a clear, easily accessible, and safe grievance mechanism and a history of human rights abuses or environmental destruction should lead to the exclusion of companies. There should be a mechanism to facilitate access to justice for victims of corporate abuse and strict
sanctions for companies that fail their due diligence obligations. Instead of using self-regulation through certification schemes, companies must be monitored by governments and a neutral third party.

5) Respect our cultural practices, traditions and values, our lifestyles, and our environment
Strategic projects should respect no-go zones, including protected areas, the deep-sea, and sacred sites. Regulations on conflict minerals and minerals extracted through forced or child labour must be enforced and adopted respectively.

6) We should not just be treated as raw material suppliers
Set clear goals and clarify what it means to add value through strategic partnerships. Furthermore, support the development of our countries through climate finance, knowledge and technology transfer, the provision for local procurement and ensuring that companies pay taxes in host countries and create decent jobs.

7) Take responsibility for reducing the EU’s own consumption
In turn, this will reduce the demand for raw materials from our countries. Taking these concerns into account will be crucial to ensure climate and resource justice on a global scale. The CRMA could be an opportunity for the European Union to promote a just energy transition that pays off the historical ecological debt owed to the countries of the Global South and respects their
development models.

We urge you to take these recommendations into consideration, as the policy decisions regarding the Critical Raw Materials Act will have a large impact on our lives.



- AbibiNsroma Foundation
- Action Mines Guinée
- African Resources Watch (AFREWATCH)
- Aksi Ekologi & Emansipasi Rakyat (AEER), Indonesia
- Alliance Voahary Gasy (AVG)
- alterNativa Intercanvi amb Pobles Indígenes
- Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)
- Asia Dalit Rights Forum (ADRF)
- Bench Marks Foundation
- Cadre de Concertation de la société civile de l'Ituri sur les Ressources Naturelles
- CartoCrítica (México)
- Centre congolais pour le droit du développement durable (CODED)
- Centro de Análisis Socioambiental (CASA}, Chile
- Christi - Perú
- Coalition des Organisations de la Société Civile pour le Suivi des Réformes et de l’Action Publique
- Coalition Nationale de Plaidoyer Environnemental (CNPE)
- Coalition Publiez Ce Que Vous Payez-Mali (PCQVP-MALI)
- Comité Nacional pro Defensa de la Fauna y Flora
- CooperAcción
- Cordillera Women's Education Action Research Center (CWEARC)
- Corporate Europe Observatory
- Crudo Transparente
- Cultural Survival
- Debt Observatory in Globalisation (ODG)
- Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
- Ecosistemas
- Engenera, A.C.
- Enginyeria sense Fronteres
- Focus Association for Sustainable Development
- Forest Peoples Programme
- Forests of the World
- Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo - TI Ecuador
- Fundación Foro Nacional por Colombia - Capítulo Suroccidente
- Fundación Terram
- Funprosperiti Guatecivica
- Future-Prenuers Zambia (FPSZ)
- Global Witness
- Grupo Propuesta Ciudadana
- Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ)
- Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense -AIDA
- - Organitzacions per a la Justícia Global
- Legisladores x el Ambiente ALC
- Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)
- Observatoire d'Etudes et d'Appui à la Responsabilité Sociale et Environnementale (OEARSE)
- Observatorio Petrolero Sur
- Pakistan Development Alliance
- Perkumpulan HuMa Indonesia
- Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement
- Pole Institute (DR Congo)
- Policy Forum Guyana
- Publiez Ce Que Vous Payez Madagascar
- Publish What You Pay Zambia
- Red de Información y Acción Ambiental de Veracruz, México
- Réseau panafricain de lutte contre la corruption "UNIS"
- Resource Matters
- Satya Bumi
- Securing Indigenous Peoples Rights in the Green Economy (SIRGE) Coalition
- SETEM Catalunya
- Solidaritat Castelldefels Kasando
- Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network
- Spaces for Change
- Transparency International Initiative Madagascar
- Transparency International Zambia
- Trend Asia
- Universidad nacional de Colombia, Facultad de minas Medellín, Centro de pensamiento responsabilidad y sostenibilidad minera 


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