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Lecture Series on 01.12.2022, 18:00h to 20:00h in Kassel

Lecture from Prof. Dr. Lena Partzsch (Freie Universität Berlin)



Supply chain laws and certifications of raw materials are receiving more and more attention in the context of climate change and the energy transition. This is because the mining of lithium and cobalt, for example, which are needed for solar plants and wind turbines, is not infrequently associated with their immense ecological and social problems. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has half of the world’s cobalt reserves. Mining there involves the same exploitative and violent practices as for tin, tantalum, and gold (3TG) – the so-called “conflict minerals.” The European Union (EU) has had due diligence requirements in place for several years to prevent international trade from financing violence. The EU thus uses its trading power to enforce international peace, even if this leads to high prices for raw material imports. However, it is apparent that implementation costs primarily create disadvantages for small local producers, exacerbating global market unequal concentrations. In addition, stereotypical narratives about the global South and Africa, in particular, as a “barbaric” continent, are still reproduced. Therefore, using the example of the DRC, the lecture will explain power shifts between the Global North and South through supply chain laws and certification.

Short Biography

Prof. Dr. Lena Partzsch is a Professor of Comparative Politics with a focus on environmental and climate policy at the Otto Suhr Institute for Political Science, at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her research focuses on the shift toward greater sustainability in both the Global North and Global South. Partzsch’s latest book, Alternatives to Multilateralism: New Forms of Social and Environmental Governance (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2020), can be downloaded for free at

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Lecture Video