The EuroLat Parliamentary Assembly and Raw Materials Trade between the European Union and Latin America

The meeting of the EuroLat Parliamentary Assembly in November 2011 provides an opportunity for the Heinrich Böll and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundations to open a space for dialogue between civil society and Members of Parliament from the European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The EuroLat Assembly is scheduled to discuss from this session onwards the raw materials trade between the two regions with a view to adopt a resolution on this subject in 2013. As recently published “working documents” of both regions show substantial differences, the issue is indeed worth discussing.

For centuries, large deposits of minerals in LAC have attracted the interest of the European industry. The Raw Materials Initiative the EU published in February 2011 shows that this interest continues to be there due to necessities related to energy, to the development of technologies to combat climate change and to invest in gold in times of financial crisis.

In LAC, the exploitation of natural resources has led to considerable growth of exports in the resource-rich countries. However, the benefits have not been accompanied by local development. In some countries, 40% of mining projects have led to conflicts between local people and mining companies
due to the deterioration of basic resources such as water and land. Moreover, national organizations and international monitoring denounce the criminalization of social protest and the threat to fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, the basis of democracy.

Will the EuroLat Parliamentary Assembly be able to make proposals for a responsible, fair and sustainable use of natural resources, that take into account the limited availability of resources and the possibility of recycling, and that include the need to preserve land as habitat to ensure the rights of
local populations?

Date: 22nd November 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Location: in Brussels (will be communicated after the registration)
Welcome: Claude Weinber, Heinrich Böll Stiftung EU Office
Chair: Birgit Daiber, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung EU Office
Speakers: Koen Warmenbol, Policy Officer for Natural Resources, Coalition of the Flemish North-South Movement – 11.11.11, Magda Stoczkiewicz, Director, Friends of the Earth Europe (tbc)
Organization: Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Brussels

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