The rising demand for natural resources including energy, minerals and agricultural products, has been driven mainly by population growth in developing countries and an improvement in living standards in many countries around the world. Various factors however serve to limit the availability of natural resources. First of all, resources are not equally distributed across the globe. Second, there are serious environmental consequences to expanding production and consumption of natural resources, such as climate change. Third, natural resource extraction and export can be hampered by armed conflict. Finally, large exporters at times choose to restrict the export of certain commodities, for instance to promote domestic growth.
Open, transparent, and well-functioning markets for metals, minerals and other natural resources are essential for ensuring access to supply and to safeguard the economic wellbeing of nations worldwide. However, corruption, political instability and violence are factors that act as important constraints to growth in the production of natural resources and cause economic pain in countries that depend on their import.
As the second largest importer and transit hub of critical raw materials in the European Union (EU), the Netherlands has a vital interest in ensuring that global resource markets function in an open and transparent manner within a rule-based order. This report, commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), takes a closer look at the global institutional architecture that focuses on the governance of natural resources, abiotic minerals and metals in particular. In doing so, this study seeks to identify gaps in the thematic coverage and actor representation, and come up with ways in which the Dutch MFA can improve the way it advances Dutch interests with respect to the functioning of natural resource markets. Thematically, the study devotes particular attention to the issue of security of supply, as well as sustainability (e.g., resource efficiency and environmental care) and transparency (due diligence, human rights etc.). Finally, the study identifies points of intervention in relation to specific organizations and raw materials where the MFA can exert the most influence.
The report can be downloaded using the button on the right.