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FNI concludes new study on Mining and Just Transition in DR Congo and Brasil

Updated: Mar 18

The Facts and Norms Institute is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the United Nations, this time to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

FNI's submission, titled “Transition minerals at any cost?”, offers insights into the impacts of transition minerals projects in Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), highlighting the narrow scope of Brazilian legislation on Just Transition.

Leonel Lisboa, a Researcher at FNI and the lead author, highlighted the Institute's dedication to addressing the most pressing human rights issues and underscored the importance of reevaluating mining practices in the context of human rights and environmental concerns:

"Our contribution reflects our commitment to contributing to the discussion on the most critical contemporary human rights issues."
"The report focusses on the need to strike a balance the urgency of advancing mining projects and the transition to clean energy and the protection and promotion of Human Rights.”

FNI's submission identified shortcomings in Brazil's energy transition legislation, notably the lack of human rights focus within the Just Energy Transition Council.

Moreover, the submission sheds light on the significant human rights violations in the DRC, particularly around cobalt mining and modern forms of slavery and child labor.

Recommendations from the submission include:

  • Brazil's re-evaluation of domestic legislation, particularly Federal Law 14.229/2022, to encompass more human rights-centric practices into Just Transition plans and practices.

  • The implementation of source tracing and anti-blending clauses by businesses dealing with cobalt in DRC, ensuring it is not sourced from contemporary forms of slavery and child labor;

  • Prioritized attention to land use issues linked to transition minerals, particularly concerning vulnerable communities, such as the Brazilian indigenous, traditional and rural communities.

A large industrial copper mine in Kolwezi, DRC. Source: Wikipedia Images.

The submission also addresses the content and essence of Just Transition, highlighting that, as societies move from fossil-fuel-based economies to greener alternatives, it is crucial to adhere to human rights throughout the process.

More concretely, as the transition involves the downscaling of certain industries and the expansion of others, both need to consider socioeconomic aspects that are key to implementing human rights, such as employment, taxation, and development.


About the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights

The United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights is a body of independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. It works to enhance human rights protection in business activities.

About the Facts and Norms Institute:

The Facts and Norms Institute is an independent academic institution based in the Global South, with members present on all continents. The Institute’s mission is straightforward: to promote a rational, human rights-based approach to social issues.

About the Author of the submission:

Leonel Lisboa is a Researcher at the Facts and Norms Institute. He is an international lawyer, ESG specialist and experienced practitioner in business and human rights. Lisboa holds a LLB and a MA in International Law from the Federal University of Minas Gerais.


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