Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development
Annual General Meeting
24-28 October 2016
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
In September 2015, the international community adopted seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide the economic, social and environmental policy for all countries leading up to 2030. The SDGs and their associated 169 targets are at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Ultimately, the success of the SDGs will require collective action among governments, the private sector and all stakeholders. Partnerships such as the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) will be critical drivers for moving 2030 Agenda forward, and in this context the 12th session of the IGF’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) focused on the theme, “Mining and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
From 25-27 October 2016, the IGF convened its 12th AGM at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland. 250 participants registered to attend the 12th AGM, including from 39 IGF member countries and 14 observer countries, as well as representatives from international organizations, industry associations and civil society organizations. During the meeting, Liberia announced that it had completed the application process, bringing the total number of IGF member countries to 56.
Government representatives gathered on 24 October 2016 for workshops on regional priorities and best practices, followed by a discussion about IGF services and the IGF Task Force on Strategy. At the conclusion of the three-day AGM formal session, workshops on “SDG Implementation Challenges and Opportunities” and the “Mining Policy Framework and SDG Analysis” took place.
Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD, welcomed participants to the AGM. Mr. Reiter highlighted the critical importance of aligning the mining sector with the SDGs, and drew attention to mining’s role: providing direct, indirect and induced jobs; ensuring linkages between mining and development through the creation of value-added mining products; and reducing gender inequalities to ensure that women benefit from employment and equal earning potential.
The Chair of the Executive Committee of the IGF, Glenn Gemerts from Suriname, stressed the importance of IGF in assisting governments, mining enterprises and civil society to find practical solutions to sustainability challenges by fostering mutual understanding in achieving the SDGs. Using Suriname as an example, Mr. Gemerts highlighted the potential of the IGF Mining Policy Framework (MPF) assessment to assist governments in better crafting mining policies for sustainable development through the revision of mining laws, strengthening capacity, and ensuring diversification of the mining sector.
The SDGS and Mining
The AGM discussed the ways in which the mining sector’s activities could be harmonized with the 17 SDGs. A number of SDGs were mentioned in particular as critical for attention by the mining sector. SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) was highlighted, including the need to address water regulations in many countries and to recognize that water issues may lead to conflicts between local communities and industry. Links were made to SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), which seeks diversified economies through local content, and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), which addresses the prevention of tax evasion. SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) was noted as relevant, given the need to improve synergies among different parts of government, leverage public and private finance, sharing expertise and promoting international collaboration, and building partnerships. Dedicated panel discussions also focused on SDG 13 (climate change) and SDG 5 (gender).
A comparative analysis was presented on the degree of strategic alignment between the 17 SDGs and the MPF. The analysis revealed a number of strengths of the MPF as a sector-specific framework for achieving the SDGs by, for example, ensuring integrated social, economic and environmental assessments.
The AGM discussed the MPF assessment process, which focuses on helping the mining sector to make its maximum contribution to sustainable development within individual countries. The IGF Secretariat highlighted key projects and achievements from 2016, including ongoing assessments in Senegal, Mongolia and Suriname. In panel discussions with representatives from Senegal, Suriname, Uganda, and the Dominican Republic, the Secretariat was able to present recent experiences with the two-phase MPF assessment process. Discussions first focused on the value that the assessment process itself holds for participating countries, and then shifted to how countries have integrated assessment findings and strengthened capacities into mining law, policy and institutions. The Secretariat outlined what is expected of those countries that would like to request an MPF assessment, and presented its MPF work plan for 2017. There was agreement from the members to re-examine the MPF in future sessions in light of discussions on the SDGs.
Guidance for Governments
The finalized IGF Guidance for Governments on managing artisanal and small-scale mining was presented to members. An additional panel discussion on managing zones for artisanal mining was also held. Discussions were also held on the next Guidance for Governments on base erosion and profit sharing.
In closing, the IGF Chair thanked delegates for their participation and UNCTAD for its invitation to hold the next AGM in Geneva in late 2017. The dates for the meeting will be coordinated with the UNCTAD Secretariat in early 2017, and will be communicated to all stakeholders as soon as they are finalized.
The delegates thanked the International Institute for Sustainable Development for their work in managing the IGF during its transition and for enhancing the service it offers to members.
For more information, please contact the Secretariat: Secretariat@IGFmining.org