GOXI

sharing in governance of extractive industries

How can we improve environmental governance in the mining sector?

By Jasmin Blessing, and Sarah Daitch, GOXI Community Facilitators

 

The SDGs represent the world’s plan for action for social inclusion, environmental sustainability and economic progress. The mining industry has enormous potential to advance the SDGs and to promote economic development.  This can only be achieved if natural resources are properly managed and governed taking into consideration the interests of present and future generations.

 

If natural resources are over-exploited, it can have lasting impacts on the environment – including Earth’s life support systems such as climate regulation and biodiversity, and have serious consequences for human societies and people’s well-being.

 

From Oct 2017 – March 2018 we are pleased to offer the Governance of Extractive Industries (GOXI) Learning Series. The Learning Series is the result of a partnership between UNDP the NBSAP Forum, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and GOXI, featuring a series of webinars on Environmental Governance of the Mining Sector. To compliment the webinars and take the discussion forward, each month of the series is dedicated to a specific theme, and includes news with recent developments on the theme, a blog, tweets, and interviews with subject matter experts. This series addresses environmental governance issues and the prevention of socio-environmental mining conflicts, and highlights experiences and lessons learned from initiatives worldwide.

 

The first two October webinars on Environmental Governance of the Mining Sector brought together 269 people from across all over the world. These sessions focused on mainstreaming of biodiversity, ecosystem services and human rights in the mining sector with examples from the global south. Highlighting a case study in Colombia, it also discussed the role of public administration in promoting good governance and preventing environmental harm by the mining sector.

 

The webinars explored strategies to understand and act upon the effects of mining on human rights including the right to a safe and healthy environment of different groups in society, across time, and across different localities. Participants raised thought provoking questions about environmental impact assessments, balancing economic development with environmental impacts, as well as the ecosystems and wellbeing framework. For example, one participant asked, “does the economic benefit of mining justify the environmental damage?

Some insights emerging from our first webinar are that human rights principles should be guiding the criteria prior to granting a mining concession, as well as the implementation of environmental impact assessments and environmental management plans in the mining sector. This requires a holistic analysis of the impacts of proposed mining projects. Environmental and human rights tools can help identify the population affected by ecosystem alteration as well as identify trade-offs between different economic activities such as between mining and agriculture in the short and long term.

The recording for this webinar is available at: https://youtu.be/wRN5jn3Lu_I.

 

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