Welcome to the 12th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals, and Sustainable Development (IGF). We have prepared an engaging program along the theme of “Sustainable Development Goals and Mining” and look forward to your participation.
We would like to take this opportunity to highlight major developments of the past year, and underline key objectives for the meeting.
IGF has grown into an institution that plays a key role on the world stage. It is the only organization that brings together all major players in the mining sector—governments, industry and civil society—to find practical solutions to the complex challenges of sustainable development. By facilitating an open dialogue among these competing forces, IGF has fostered mutual understanding and respect.
With the addition of Myanmar to the IGF family this year, membership now stands at 55 countries. Other important organizations such as international financial institutions, multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, industry associations, donor governments and other actors are also increasingly well-represented at the IGF AGM, as they recognize the value of engagement with this important network. This year’s AGM is no exception. More than 80 organizations are taking part in 2016, which is a clear indication of the IGF’s growing significance and relevance for sustainable development.
We are grateful to the Canadian government for infusing IGF with the funds necessary to expand our impact.
Since our last AGM, the IGF Secretariat has been successfully transferred to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
IISD has been working hard to strengthen IGF’s public image by introducing a refreshed IGF brand with a new logo and modern design, an expanded social media presence, and a redesigned website. IISD has also deepened the capacities of the IGF Secretariat, which is now staffed with a new full-time Director and Deputy Director, Programs and has been provided with significant technical resources, administration and communications support. We hope to hire a full-time Outreach and Events Manager soon in order to be able to devote greater resources to working directly with member governments.
The Mining Policy Framework is an important tool that can help governments achieve their goals by strengthening policies and institutions. The IGF Secretariat has recently completed the field work for Mining Policy Framework Assessments in Senegal, Mongolia and Suriname. IGF is also working on guidance documents that will help members expand their understanding of mining finance, such as how best to structure royalty agreements (BEPS), and how to best manage the challenges and leverage the opportunities of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM).
The IGF Secretariat has held several very successful regional events, including: the Sustainability Roundtables during Indaba; a session at the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14); and a joint session with the World Economic Forum at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual convention. The IGF was also invited to perform two important pieces of training and capacity-building work as a result of IISD’s long-standing relationship with West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
For this year’s AGM, the Secretariat has developed an agenda focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Mining. The SDGs represent the post-2015 global development agenda and represent the international consensus on development priorities. The 17 SDGs cover all aspects of life and apply to all countries. The 2016 AGM is the first opportunity for IGF Members to engage in a joint dialogue on the relevance of the SDGs to the mining sector.
As an economic activity that transforms natural resources into products required for development and mobilizes physical, technological, and financial resources, the mining sector can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. But it can also present challenges to some of the goals (e.g., environmental pollution, human displacement, social inequalities, etc.). Ultimately, the success of the SDGs will be based on the ability of all governments, sectors, and stakeholders to move from consensus around the goals into action.
The AGM will also provide an opportunity to build upon the July 2016 release of the Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: A Preliminary Atlas by the World Economic Forum, United Nations Development Programme, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, and UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The Atlas provides linkages between mining and the SDGs with the aim to “encourage mining companies of all sizes to incorporate relevant SDGs into their business and operations, validate their current efforts and spark new ideas”. The IGF Secretariat is conducting a comparative analysis of SDGs against its flagship MPF and the analysis will be presented to members at this AGM. Significant attention will also be paid to the broader issue of sustainable development, the contribution the mining sector can make, and some of the challenges the sector itself faces with regards to its own sustainability.
The IGF is a growing and evolving platform for country governments to engage with industry and civil society experts, and with each other, on best practices for sustainable development in leveraging their natural resource wealth. Looking ahead, it is important that we seek ways to strengthen and ensure the ongoing relevance of the IGF, and how it can complement existing initiatives relating to mineral governance and policy at the regional and international levels.
The Secretariat will be seeking your feedback throughout the meeting and providing delegates with additional information on participating organizations, their work and services as the week progresses.
It is with great anticipation that we look forward to the in-depth presentations and dynamic discussions we will share during this year’s AGM. This rich dialogue – the hallmark of the IGF – is invaluable to all participants, and we encourage your active engagement during these sessions.
The IGF Secretariat
Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF)
Secrétariat du Forum intergouvernemental sur l’exploitation minière, les minéraux, les métaux et le développement durable Secretaría del Foro Intergubernamental sobre Minería, Minerales, Metales y Desarrollo Sostenible (IGF)