The 12th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) and four associated workshops took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 24-28 October 2016. Approximately 270 participants registered to attend the meetings, representing IGF member and observer governments, the private sector and civil society.
The AGM convened at the Palais des Nations from 25-27 October, and focused on the theme, “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Mining.” Participants convened in plenary and panel sessions throughout the three-day meeting, with topics ranging from Mining Policy Framework (MPF) assessments to linkages between mining and climate change, gender, human rights, water and employment issues. Issues related to transparency and open data were also discussed. In addition, the IGF Guidance for Governments on managing Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) was presented. A final Communiqué was developed at the conclusion of AGM 12, summarizing key elements of the meeting’s proceedings.
Government representatives also gathered on Monday, 24 October 2016, for intergovernmental workshops on regional priorities and best practices, followed by a discussion about IGF services and the IGF Task Force on Strategy. On Friday, 28 October, AGM participants gathered for workshops on SDG implementation challenges and opportunities related to the mining sector, and the relationship between the SDGs and the MPF.
Following a brief introduction to the IGF, this summary report provides an overview of the discussions during the AGM and concludes with a summary of the workshops.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IGF
The IGF serves as a global venue for dialogue among 56 member country governments, mining companies and industry associations. The IGF was created following the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), a global intergovernmental meeting that met in Johannesburg, South Africa, to assess progress since the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, or Earth Summit), including the role of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Delegates at the WSSD adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, which called for, inter alia, support for “efforts to address the environmental, economic, health and social impacts and benefits of mining, minerals and metals throughout their life cycle, including workers’ health and safety, and use a range of partnerships, furthering existing activities at the national and international levels, among interested Governments, intergovernmental organizations, mining companies and workers, and other stakeholders, to promote transparency and accountability for sustainable mining and minerals development.”
The WSSD also encouraged governments, civil society and private sector actors to enter into voluntary “Type 2” partnerships focused on sustainable development objectives. The Governments of Canada and South Africa were instrumental in the establishment of the IGF, which was announced in February 2005 as a voluntary initiative for national governments interested in promoting good governance in the management of mineral resources.
The IGF is focused on improving resource governance and decision making by governments working in the sector, and its work is largely framed by its flagship policy guidance and assessment tool, the Mining Policy Framework (MPF). The MPF identifies best practices in six pillars of mining policy and law: the legal and policy environment; financial benefit optimization; socio-economic benefit optimization; environmental management; mine closure and post-mining transitions; and artisanal and small-scale mining. The Framework was presented at the nineteenth session of the CSD, in 2011.
In 2012, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) convened to assess global sustainable development policy and adopted an outcome titled, “The Future We Want.” This agreement included a call for governments and businesses to promote the continuous improvement of accountability and transparency, as well as the effectiveness of relevant existing mechanisms to prevent the illicit financial flows from mining activities. The outcome also called on the international community to negotiate a set of SDGs. The SDGs were subsequently adopted in September 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs identify 17 Goals and 169 targets for actors at all levels and in all countries to achieve by 2030.
Previous AGMs discussed topics including: fiscal and legislative frameworks as they relate to investment decisions, revenue sharing, mine closure and abandoned mines; social benefits and engagement, including community engagement, local revenue management, operational security and human rights, education and the role of women in the mining sector; and post-mining transition and environmental management. In October 2015, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) replaced the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, as the Forum’s Secretariat.
REPORT OF IGF AGM 12
On Tuesday, 25 October 2016, Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), welcomed participants to the AGM and related an example to demonstrate the importance of the meeting’s examination of mining and the SDGs: he recalled that the Falun copper mine in Sweden had helped to build the country’s prosperity but resulted in significant human rights violations and environmental degradation. Reiter noted that mining is not a sector that people usually associate with sustainable development, but that this perception can and should be changed. Specifically, he highlighted the role of the mining sector in: providing direct, indirect and induced jobs through prudent macroeconomic policies that foster diversification and structured transformation; ensuring linkages between mining and development through the creation of value-added mining products, and reducing gender inequalities to ensure that women have a higher potential to capture value from the mining sector through greater employment and more equal earning potential.
Glenn Gemerts, Chair, IGF Executive Committee, 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. He noted the need for governments to harness the mining sector to achieve wider goals such as environmental sustainability and poverty reduction. Using Suriname as an example, he highlighted the potential of the 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.
Scott Vaughan, President, IISD, emphasized the seriousness with which IISD takes its role as the host of the IGF Secretariat. Noting the successful adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the SDGs, as well as recent agreements that contribute to climate change mitigation through the Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting substances and the International Civil Aviation Organization, he underscored that multilateralism continues to work in an era when the global economy is experiencing structural changes.
Greg Radford, Director, IGF Secretariat, reviewed recent IGF initiatives and activities, including: new guidance documents to assist member countries in the implementation of the MPF; training and capacity building programmes in Africa; and participation in regional events, such as UNCTAD 14.
THE SDGS AND MINING
On Tuesday morning, 25 October, Gillian Davidson, World Economic Forum (WEF), facilitated the discussion on SDGs and mining. Davidson prompted the panelists to discuss why the SDGs are important for mining and what actions should be taken to harness the opportunities.
Casper Sonesson, Extractive Industries, UN Development Programme (UNDP), highlighted that the 17 SDGs, 169 targets and over 200 indicators that will be used to measure the SDGs are part of an integrated international agenda that was designed to be universally applied, in all countries and by all actors, at all levels. He emphasized that governments are implementing this agenda and that financing decisions will be driven by the SDGs, making a strong business case for harmonizing business activities with the SDGs. He also highlighted that there is an expectation among stakeholders that the mining sector will take action.
Kojo Busia, African Minerals Development Centre, called attention to the African Mining Vision, which seeks to restructure African economies by moving them from rent maximization to focus on other opportunities that mining provides to the economy. He noted, in particular, links 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.
Speaking on the role mining companies can play in achieving the SDGs, Nick Cotts, Newmont Mining, identified six criteria that Newmont Mining has developed to show how their business can link to specific SDGs including: how aligned the SDGs are to the global business strategy; how the business is already demonstrating leadership on a particular SDG; how the SDGs link to public targets of the business; the cross-functionality of the SDGs within business activities; how the SDGs link to the business’s humans rights risk; and the capacity to link the business case to long-term impacts in achieving an SDG.
Perrine Toledano, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), noted the need to recognize less obvious stakeholders including financiers, small mining companies, local governments and local utilities who are not always aware of best international practices for mining. She also identified the role of mining companies in sharing baseline data with governments and to build resilient partnerships that support companies through the instability of the commodity price cycle.
Davidson then asked each panelist to discuss linkages between their favorite SDG and mining. Busia discussed the importance of SDG 16 and reducing illicit financial flows and tax evasion in Africa, noting that illicit financial outflows from Africa are up to US$50 billion annually, 52% of which is from the extractives sector.
Cotts drew participants’ attention to SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 8, and highlighted that his company had decreased water intensity by 20%, worked with local communities on water planning and potable water access, increased local procurement in developing countries, and supported economic development of rural communities in Ghana.
Toledano also underlined SDG 6, noting the lack of water regulation in many countries and that water leads to many conflicts between local communities and industry. She suggested disclosure of information on water quality and water management based on collaboration among stakeholders.
Sonesson highlighted SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals), and called attention to the need to improve synergies among different parts of government, leveraging public and private finance, sharing expertise and promoting international collaboration, and building partnerships such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
THE SDG AND MPF COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
Facilitated by Matthew Bliss, IGF Secretariat, on Tuesday morning, 25 October, this session focused on a comparative analysis completed by the CCSI on the degree of strategic alignment between the SDGs and the MPF.
Perrine Toledano, CCSI, presented the analysis and highlighted the transformative potential of the mining sector in serving as a springboard for sustainable development and the importance of identifying synergies between the SDGs and the MPF as well as gaps for tightening their integration. She distinguished between direct impacts of the MPF as activities that would directly promote or prevent harm in achieving the SDGs, and indirect impacts that would have a likely impact on SDG achievement but would be conditional on other factors. She identified strengths of the MPF as a sector-specific framework for achieving the SDGs by ensuring integrated social, economic and environmental assessments that are conditional to the permitting of mining licenses, the role of ASM in alleviating poverty, and the importance of setting clear legal land-tenure arrangements to avoid potential conflicts with local communities.
On gaps, she noted the need for: greater emphasis on gender equality in the MPF, particularly in relation to socioeconomic benefit optimization; a stronger focus on sound revenue management for the provision of public goods and services; better incorporation of mining infrastructure that serves multiple purposes for development as opposed to serving mining operations alone; enhanced integration of climate change mitigation and water and energy-use efficiency in the MPF in transitioning mining operations away from fossil-fuel dependency; and more explicit integration with existing environmental and social standards, such as the International Labour Organization Convention No.169 concerning indigenous communities’ ways of life, which she said could be made binding if referred to in law.
GENDER IN MINING
This session took place on Tuesday, 25 October, and involved a panel discussion facilitated by Rob Stevens, Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI). Panelists discussed how gender dimensions can be incorporated in the mining sector.
Bolormaa Purevjav, Stakeholders Engagement for Sustainable Development, Mongolia, spoke on ASM as the most informal scale of mining and emphasized the importance of formalizing ASM and understanding context-specific priorities and needs for women and men to overcome gender inequalities.
Kirsten Dales, CIRDI, spoke on small-scale mining (SSM) enterprises as those transitioning towards greater organization and formalization in mining production as compared to ASM operations. She noted that SSM enterprises make up the majority of the global workforce both in mineral extraction and supporting sectors, but emphasized that SSM enterprises are often unable to adhere to international best practices due to both a lack of resources and limited capacity. She said this results in a significant lack of information on best practices for gender equality in mining.
Gillian Davidson, WEF, underscored that gender equality represents a critical bridging SDG that can facilitate the achievement of other SDGs such as economic participation, poverty, health and environmental sustainability, and emphasized potential opportunities including: the role of technological innovation in opening opportunities for women in the mining sector; the collaborative potential across sectors for enhancing women’s role in the mining workforce; and the potential for bringing more women into leadership positions.
In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed, inter alia: the challenges of improving gender equality in the mining sector amidst substantial cultural diversity; the effectiveness of gender training techniques for changing social norms; the need to address the livelihood aspect of ASM rather than solely addressing it from a poverty lens; the need to ensure safety of women in the workplace; and the role of concrete action, versus documenting parameters for best practices in ensuring gender equality in mining. In response, panelists emphasized that no “silver bullet” exists for shifting gender norms, and underscored the role of: identifying barriers and how to tailor appropriate responses to them; universal human rights as a cross-cultural foundation for gender equality; and peer-to-peer sharing of risks and opportunities for gender reform.
VOLUNTARY PRINCIPLES ON SECURITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
On Tuesday, 25 October, Sharon Peake, Global Affairs Canada, facilitated the discussion on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs). Peake noted that the VPs were created in 2000 in response to concerns that security forces related to mining operations were infringing on human rights. She said the VPs are available for anyone to use and invited participants to engage with the Voluntary Principles Initiative, which engages in mutual learning and implementing pilot activities.
Helle Bank Jørgensen, President, Global Compact Network Canada, said the VPs are a leading soft-law initiative applicable to both extractives and non-extractive sectors. She said they help reduce delays associated with conflicts, and improve the attractiveness of projects to investors.
Jan Pieter Barendse, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands, said his country supports development, human rights protection and international trade, and the VPs help to advance all of these priorities. He also highlighted the importance of multi-stakeholder solutions and educating consumers about the supply chain.
Carlos Salazar Couto, Executive Director, SOCIOS Perú, emphasized transparency in decision making and the importance of trust among stakeholders, and said the use of the VPs convey a confidence that leads to trust among stakeholders. He reviewed his organization’s experience in establishing a multi-stakeholder group to train corporations, the police and other sectors in human rights principles.
During the discussion, speakers stressed that engaging stakeholders is critical to ensure that an entity has a social license to operate. Panelists also underscored the importance of sharing information for building trust between communities and mining companies while recognizing that communities should be a part of mining developments for the long-term, beginning with the initial contact between mining companies and governments in the proposal of mining projects.
Two sessions address issues related to climate and mining on Tuesday, 25 October.
ADAPTATION REQUIREMENTS: Emily Farnsworth, WEF, opened this session by indicating that mining is a sector that not only affects the climate, but also is deeply impacted by climate change.
Anne Hammill, IISD, introduced a project in La Granja, Peru, that identified measures for building climate resilience of local communities and explored strategies for Rio Tinto Minera Peru, a local mining company, to support community resilience.
Alec Crawford, IGF Secretariat, discussed how climate change can be integrated into the MPF, highlighting its three most climate-relevant pillars: environmental management; the legal and policy environment; and socioeconomic benefit optimization.
Jan Klawitter, Anglo American, outlined four areas of work critical for mining companies to address climate change: reducing carbon footprints; managing risks and opportunities associated with climate change; collaborating with governments; and improving the community resilience to the impacts of climate change. Noting Anglo American’s pilot projects in Peru, Chile and South Africa, Klawitter indicated the close links between climate change adaptation activities and mitigation, and challenges in obtaining support from local governments for climate change adaptation.
During the discussion, one participant questioned how balanced stakeholder interests could be assured in a project such as La Granja. Hammill noted that the case study she presented had prioritized the principles of representation and consultation through a livelihoods perspective by ensuring that a broad range of sectors were incorporated into the project design. She also said equality in gender representation was prioritized.
Participants were asked if individuals whose livelihoods are displaced by climate change might turn to ASM, in which case climate change adaptation strategies might need to include efforts to identify environmentally-sound alternative livelihoods. One participant suggested that IGF could coordinate with other initiatives on climate change issues, such as the SAMOA Pathway for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
MITIGATION: Peter Wooders, IISD, moderated the session and highlighted the need for collaboration between governments and companies to achieve the mitigation goals set out by the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Mariana Heinrich, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, described opportunities offered by the procurement of renewable energy for companies to reduce costs, show leadership in sustainability, and build partnerships with other actors. Noting the key role that the government plays in promoting renewables, she offered four recommendations for policymakers: remove barriers and foster an enabling environment; assure incentives for renewables that are predictable, consistent and designed to be cost-effective; enable transmission of renewable power to buyers; and enter directly into power purchase agreements with suppliers of renewables.
Alastaire Dick, Sunshine for Mines, shared his experience in managing renewable energy in South Africa, indicating that in some cases renewables became cheaper than non-renewables. Noting the importance of government policies to incentivize companies’ mitigation activities, he said powering mining operations with renewable energy can help the SDG implementation and provide opportunities for a social license for infrastructure development in Africa.
Matt Spannagle, independent consultant on climate change and development, highlighted the rapid decrease in the price of renewables and lamented the fact that the mining sector has yet to realize that investment in renewable energy as a “huge opportunity” that can help companies achieve long-term returns and reduce dependence on unstable commodity prices. He further emphasized that investment in renewable energy can diversify the business of mining and governments need to support this diversification.
Questions from participants related to: how local communities can engage in infrastructure development; how to reach economies of scale for investments in biomass energy; and possibilities to achieve carbon emissions reduction in the transportation sector and to remove fossil-fuel subsidies.
MPF ASSESSMENT OVERVIEW AND DISCUSSION
Glenn Gemerts, Chair of the IGF Executive Committee, opened the discussion on the MPF Assessment process on Wednesday, 26 October. Alec Crawford, IGF Secretariat, described the six pillars of the Framework, which would ensure the sustainable development of a country’s mining sector. Through an examination of the mining context in Mongolia, Senegal, and Suriname, which have completed their assessments over the past year, Crawford highlighted how the MPF identifies strengths and weaknesses as well as gaps for improving mining governance through capacity building and technical support.
A video was then presented on the value of the MPF assessment in Suriname.
THE VALUE OF ASSESSMENTS: This panel opened with presentations by two government representatives on the MPF assessment undertaken in their countries, Suriname and Senegal. Glenn Gemerts, Ministry of Resources, Suriname, indicated that the assessment provided opportunities for the Surinamese government to work with all stakeholders to improve many legal and policy institutions dealing with mining issues.
Roseline Mbaye, Director of the Control of Mining Operations, Senegal, noted that the assessment was helpful to identify reforms needed in the mining sector and elaborate a new mining code as a part of Senegal’s plan for a new development model.
In response to the audience’s questions, Mbaye underscored the importance of participation of a broad range of stakeholders and inputs of foreign experts in the assessment; and Gemerts emphasized the value of capacity building and technical support that IGF can provide for members after the MPF assessment identifies strengths and weaknesses.
IMPLEMENTATION LESSONS AND OPPORTUNTIES: In a second session discussing the value of the MPF assessment, the focus shifted towards the technical support and capacity building, in which IGF works closely with national focal points to design a programme to fit contextual needs and priorities.
Alexander Medina, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Dominican Republic, spoke on the opportunities that the assessment offered to improve sustainability in his country’s mining sector, emphasizing the sharing of mining benefits for community development, enhanced educational opportunities in accessing dignified jobs, and the formalization of the ASM sector, among others.
Vincent Kedi, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda, discussed Uganda’s MPF assessment experience. He highlighted that the assessment incorporated stakeholder discussions and targeted capacity building, based on identified needs. He noted that the assessment identified options for revision, with the government deciding which recommendations to adopt during its review of the country’s mining policy.
In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed the importance of technical support for the rehabilitation of mining zones after closure as well as the potential for integrating ASM into the mining supply chain.
In the second half of the session, Matthew Bliss, IGF Secretariat, introduced Martin Lokanc, World Bank, who discussed a complementary mining assessment tool known as “MInGov.” Lokanc noted that the tool is neither a ranking nor an index, but is designed to focus on the investment attractiveness in addition to improved governance of the mining sector. He described the methodology of the assessment tool using the case of Zambia and identified the potential for synergies between MInGov and the MPF, including: the potential for cost-savings through a single diagnostic tool and consistent message; differentiating assessment potential with capacity building and technical support, and incorporating multiple viewpoints through a learning-by-doing approach.
In the ensuing discussion, participants inquired whether the tool could be applied for decentralized mineral regimes and how governments can concretely benefit from the tool to take measureable actions for improving mining governance. Lokanc underscored that a country report is offered by MInGov, which identifies strengths and gaps for governments, investors and civil society as well as a priority list of targetable actions.
TRANSPARENCY AND THE SDGS
Suzy Nikièma, IISD, moderated the session on transparency and the SDGs on Wednesday, 26 October. Speakers discussed how to collect the “right” data and use them properly to increase transparency.
Miles Litvinoff, Publish What You Pay UK, highlighted that 50 countries have implemented the EITI standard for which the reporting requirements are becoming increasingly demanding and rigorous, but also indicated some weaknesses of EITI, including the absence of BRICS countries (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa) and a lack of information on human rights and livelihoods.
Ben Chalmers, Mining Association of Canada (MAC), indicated that reporting and national-level multi-stakeholder dialogue are two key elements for transparency, and highlighted the Association’s efforts in collecting data on wages, publishing standards on sustainable mining, and creating a community of interest advisory panel.
Mandakhbat Sereenov, Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry, Mongolia, discussed the introduction of EITI to Mongolia and said it has led to cooperation between the government, private sector and civil society and provides mechanisms to build trust among these actors. He said collection of more data is not the purpose, but that the challenge is ensure the relevancy of available data.
Andrea Shaw, Transparency International (TI) Australia, challenged participants to not just think of transparency in terms of financial flows. She explained that there is little transparency around the decisions regarding where mining will be permitted and who will do the mining. She said TI has a new program to examine the vulnerabilities for corruption in these decision making processes, and to develop recommendations to address these vulnerabilities before they become problems.
In the ensuing discussion, participants stressed that inappropriate reporting burdens should not be placed on ASM operators. Challenges related to transfer pricing were also discussed. One speaker pointed out that robust regulatory frameworks help ward off those attempting to game the system.
WATER AND ECOSYSTEMS: FOCUS ON WATERSHED-BASED INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT
In a session relating the mining sector with watershed-based integrated management, on Wednesday, 26 October, facilitator Dimple Roy, IISD, underscored the close linkages between mining and water use and the need to provide guidance on how the mining sector can help achieve SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation).
Jan Pieter Barendse, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands, compared the long history of multi-stakeholder cooperation and innovation for water management in the Netherlands with opportunities for achieving innovative and consensual solutions for integrated water management in collaboration with mining companies, governments and local communities.
Hayley Zipp, International Council on Mining and Minerals (ICMM), highlighted that water is the “lifeblood of the mining industry” from extraction to the processing phase. She emphasized that the mining sector should look beyond water use as an operational issue and more towards stewardship from a multi-stakeholder perspective. She briefly described ICMM’s water stewardship framework, which identifies several key issues for water and mining including: transparency and accountability in terms of water use; proactive and inclusive engagement, and a catchment-based approach to water risk assessment.
Hilde Passier, Deltares, provided an overview of examples of impacts from mining on water in the domestic, agriculture and industrial sectors. She noted that the WEF’s examination of the SDGs in relation to mining indicates that the sector’s most negative impact is on SDG 6.
During the discussion, panelists were asked to consider what works to facilitate collaboration. Barendse stressed the importance of democratic processes, including elections. He also highlighted the value of information sharing and consensus. In regards to communicating with local communities, panelists noted that a common language should be found to convey information about the ways that water interacts with mining and to make the community feel more engaged in the discussion. The need to manage expectations for both the negative and positive consequences of mining was also highlighted, and it was noted that multi-stakeholder processes take time to set up.
WATER AND CLIMATE-RISK MANAGEMENT: TOOLS AND APPROACHES
Facilitated by Dimple Roy, IISD, on Wednesday, 26 October, the second session on water and mining examined the link between water and climate risk management tools and approaches.
Robert Jan Smeets, Royal HaskoningDHV, described: the linkage between water and the mining sector in terms of water shortage concerns for mining operations; the need for a social license to operate given that mining competes with other water users; and the importance of making sustainability a strategic priority for reputation management in the mining sector. He stressed the financially-profitable opportunities that exist to improve mining water footprints and the need to consider the full water cycle in operational decisions.
Lifeng Li, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International, highlighted the physical, reputational, regulatory and ultimately financial risks associated with poor water management by the mining industry. He presented WWF’s Water Risk Filter as a free online tool that can help assess, analyze and mitigate risks at the national, catchment, or sub-catchment level and across different sectors.
Nick Cotts, Newmont Mining, offered insights from the perspective of a mining company on how water and climate-related risks are managed. He identified: key risks for the enterprise; tools and management approaches adopted by Newmont, including full-cost water value accounting, ecosystem protection, and climate adaptation planning; and strategies that Newmont has implemented for adapting to risks, including shadow carbon pricing for 2017, carbon footprint reduction, and the development of a water accountability framework.
In the ensuing discussion, panelists stressed the need for strong water quality standards so that mining facilities can be designed to meet such standards from the start of operations, and the need to transfer best resource-efficiency practices across industrial sectors to ensure energy, water, raw material, and cost savings.
EMPLOYMENT, LOCAL PURCHASING AND THE SHARED VALUE PARADIGM
Two sessions addressed issues related to employment, local purchasing and shared value on Wednesday, 26 October.
CHALLENGES: Howard Mann, IISD, moderated the session and highlighted the mining industry’s challenges in employment and local purchasing arising from the deployment of new technology.
Perrine Toledano, CCSI, introduced a study of the shared value paradigm in light of the technological advances in the mining sector, which shows that the adoption of existing new technologies in the sector would cause negative impacts for employment and local procurement. She further indicated that these impacts are likely to be more significant in developing countries as many of them are over-dependent on the extractives sector, lack financial and technical capacity for the adaptation of technological changes and also for shifts from low-skills to high-skills jobs.
Johannes Danz, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Germany, presented BGR’s recent research on local content requirements in the mining sector in four African countries. Noting that economies of scale are a critical condition to require local content in the mining sector, he indicated that local content requirements in many developing countries is considered as a political priority, but many of them still lack instruments for practical implementation of local content requirements, with the misperception of where the added-value is generated.
Based on evidence gathered in Central Africa, Milasoa Chérel, UNCTAD, indicated that while the mining sector can draw experiences from many other sectors to achieve a shared value paradigm, according to the willingness of the sector in Central Africa, the scale of activities remained questionable. She called for political leadership to use shared value in mining as a “stepping stone” for economic diversification through an inclusive policy design process, and recommended that governments lock shared value for the SDGs in their policy and adopt friendly and transparent fiscal policies.
Isabelle Ramdoo, African Minerals Development Centre, introduced the African Mining Vision, a sustainable development paradigm for mineral-led development aiming to support the continent’s structural transformation. She emphasized that the African Mining Vision uses a holistic approach to help countries build capacity to improve mining regimes and better integrate mining into development policies.
In the ensuing discussion, a participant asked about the definition of local content. Panelists agreed that there is no universal definition, indicating the limitation of local content requirements for sustainable development.
OPPORTUNITIES: During this session, Jeff Geipel, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada, introduced a common reporting system created by EWB and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for local procurement. Noting the challenges and gaps in disclosing data on local procurement, he indicated that the standardization of reporting can prevent countries, companies and NGOs from recreating the wheel when making local content programs, and this system can help companies achieve better management, demonstrate their contributions to the national economy and provide a qualitative basis for how realistic targets and regulations are.
Lahar Liberti, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre, presented an OECD development policy framework for extractive projects: Collaborative Strategies for In-Country Shared Value Creation. She noted five steps identified by this tool to achieve shared value creation: adopting a comprehensive long-term vision and implementation strategy to build competitive and diversified economies and creating in-country shared value out of natural resources; building an empirical basis to inform decision making through an inclusive participatory process; unlocking opportunities for in-country shared value creation; supporting and contributing to innovation, leading to new products and services; and establishing effective and transparent monitoring and evaluation systems.
Delayne Weeks, Angkor Gold Corp, discussed how the mining industry can contribute to shared value creation and balance negative impacts caused by the use of new technology, citing examples in Ghana and Cambodia where mining companies help economic and social development of local communities. She noted that good resource management in the mining region can provide many other development opportunities for local communities, and encouraged mining companies to integrate shared value creation in their business to contribute to the SDGs.
During the discussion, the importance of communities’ voices and the need to put communities’ interests first were stressed as being central to the SDGs and to corporate social responsibility. In response to a question about the classification of “local” procurement, panelists emphasized that “local” is defined based on distance as well as ownership and the need to manage expectations effectively. Mann presented information about a mining arbitration case and stated that shared value will continue to be demanded.
ASM GUIDANCE DOCUMENT
The ASM Guidance Document was presented during a morning session on Thursday. The Document identifies tools and procedures for users to consider with regards to ASM policy and practices. Nicholas Garrett and Dan Paget, RCS Global, noted that ASM has vast economic potential, but its significant negative impacts require management. They said the 80-page guidance document seeks to help users identify the process, strategy and feasibility of various policy options, and they welcomed feedback and comments.
During the discussion, participants inquired about the need to differentiate between areas in which governments can have a major influence and those in which actions other than government policy may play a role, and how awareness can be raised to increase the use of environmentally-friendly processes, among other issues. Efforts to enhance learning within regions and between French and English-speaking African countries were also proposed.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ASM GUIDANCE: MANAGING ASM ZONES: A subsequent session discussed challenges related to implementing the ASM Guidance Document. Gudrun Franken, BGR, Germany, opened this session, indicating the ASM zone is a key element of the ASM Guidance.
Klaus Steinmüller, BGR, presented three phases for the government to establish and manage ASM zones: designation, which concerns identification and delineation of ASM zones, estimation of resources and economics of ASM zones, and conceptual environmental, health and safety planning; implementation, which consists of licensing and permitting, elaboration of mines and their closure plans; and long-term management, which includes supervision and support. He highlighted that ASM zones provide a good basis for formalization and improved planning of ASM, but they are costly and time-consuming as they require significant human and financial resources to be allocated by the government, close coordination among all stakeholders, and active participation of ASM miners.
Toni Aubynn, Minerals Commission, Ghana, discussed the Ghanaian government’s experience in ASM management. Recalling colonial management of natural resources in Ghana, he indicated that the government only legally permitted the SSM in 1989. Aubynn said the SSM in Ghana is mainly artisanal and the production of the sector is significant. He underscored various challenges for the government in identifying and demarcating suitable areas, providing guidance to miners, and recategorizing ASM.
Glenn Gemerts, Ministry of Natural Resources, Suriname, highlighted the importance and complexity of ASM zones, indicating that his government lacked funds to manage ASM zones and thus requested support from IGF. He further called for consideration of other sources of economic development and post-closure management in planning for ASM zones.
David Noko, AngloGold Ashanti, said the mining industry must work with ASM stakeholders. Drawing on the company’s experience, he discussed different types of actors engaging in ASM, including indigenous people mining historically for cultural celebrations or trade, people seeking livelihoods, and criminal groups engaging in illegal mining. He highlighted the existence of many rules among ASM members, calling on the government and mining companies to understand such rules, engage miners in the decision-making process, surrender certain mineral areas, and provide technical support. He further recommended that the government formalize the ASM sector, strictly regulate illegal mining, and set up local buying centers for ASM products.
During the discussion, participants highlighted challenges with regards to: regulating mines in which both large-scale and small-scale operations are underway; establishing who pays for rehabilitating an ASM operation; assessing the social power structures and informal production processes prior to introducing policy or production changes; and illegal mining and intruders. One panelist suggested that payment for restoration should be a combined effort and should be part of the initial approval process to engage in mining. Taxation was also noted as a revenue source to help fund the rehabilitation process.
MINE TAILINGS MANAGEMENT: GOVERNMENT ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
A session on mine tailings management on Thursday, 27 October, facilitated by Ben Chalmers, MAC, provided a discussion on emerging industry standards for good governance in tailings management.
Kristina Thygesen, GRID Arendal, highlighted the damaging effects of tailing dams that fail, including degraded environments and destroyed livelihoods for people with minimal social and economic safety nets. She noted the potential for capacity building for planning and risk management through the use of spatial data, technological innovation in reusing mine wastes and the need for a global reporting system that can help catch failures before they happen.
Chalmers introduced a mine tailings standard developed by the MAC, which commits member companies to adhere to five indicators: the adoption of a tailings management policy; a functioning tailings management system; accountability of tailings management; an annual management review process; and an independent operation, maintenance and surveillance process that meets or surpasses industry standards. Upon a tailings dam failure in Mount Polley, British Columbia in 2014, he noted that the MAC standard took on its own independent review to ensure going forward that: all new mines of member companies achieve at least an “A” level; both internal and external audits are conducted; guidance is developed to implement independent review mechanisms; and community engagement is prioritized.
Richard Morgan, Anglo American, emphasized that building trust between governments and communities is key for tailings dam management. He stressed that industry-level performance standards for mine tailings management requires: “the right people, with the right skills, in the right roles”; independent technical reviews; mandatory internal standards; risk management programmes to be formally monitored and adhered to; and the adoption of technological innovation in dam construction and monitoring.
In the ensuing discussion, panelists noted the potential for consolidating regulatory standards in avoiding fragmentation, questioned the degree of independence in review processes, and stressed greater community outreach to secure tailings site facilities.
ENHANCING STAKEHOLDER TRUST AND SHARED DECISION MAKING THROUGH OPEN DATA AND TRANSPARENCY
On Thursday, 27 October, facilitator Marisol Estrella, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), opened the session focusing on SDGs 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships for the Goals), indicating that open and reliable data can increase transparency of the extractives industry, build trust among different stakeholders, and achieve better governance.
Peter Bangura, National Minerals Agency of Sierra Leone, presented the Mining Cadastre & Administration System (MCAS) launched in 2010 by the government of Sierra Leone, indicating that the MCAS not only provides a public administration system for license application and management, but also an online repository of open data to be communicated with citizens and stakeholders. He further noted the importance of political will in the implementation of this system, and identified mapping functionality limitations and internet accessibility as two main challenges to engage citizens.
Tom Mills, Adam Smith International, introduced a research project that combines interviews with government officials in Africa and Asia with an online survey on how the use of open data can improve governance. He said the project shows six important elements that can increase open data and transparency: contextualizing data; increasing exchange among people having similar experiences; improving technological infrastructure; using meta-data; identifying boundaries of knowledge; and increasing joint access across datasets and initiatives. Louis Maréchal, OECD, presented an OECD standard providing recommendations to the mining sector to determine if their business activities contribute to conflict financing and human rights violations. He stressed that companies should: build credible management systems to identify risks within their supply chains; mitigate such risks; ensure a third party independent audit; and request that companies publicly report risks identified in their supply chains.
David Jensen, UNEP, noted the plethora of data available that remains fragmented and marred by a lack of reliability and trust. He described UNEP’s “Mapping and Assessing of the Performance of Extractive Industries” (MAP-X) initiative, which provides a single online website aggregating social, economic and environmental data streams to be available to all stakeholders through a suite of tools to geospatially visualize and contextualize multiple datasets. He underscored the importance of a data quality framework built into the MAP-X initiative that eliminates poor quality data from the outset. In the ensuing discussion, participants emphasized, inter alia: the business case for ensuring credible and reliable data, the added-value of new data visualization techniques, and obstacles for data-sharing and collaboration.
IGF MEMBERS SESSION
The IGF member countries met on Thursday afternoon, 27 October, to consider reports on: the Secretariat’s planning and priorities for 2017; the next steps for the Strategy Task Force Report; the IGF Guidance for Governments on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting; and proposed guidance document topics. IGF members also reviewed a draft Communiqué regarding the meeting’s proceedings.
The Secretariat indicated that it will attend several regional events in 2017, and is planning to organize regional conferences in Latin America and Asia-Pacific in 2018. The Secretariat will also conduct follow-up and capacity building related to ongoing MPF assessments and initiate new MPF assessments. Training and capacity-building programmes based on identified needs and communication activities were noted as other Secretariat activities during the coming year.
One member country indicated that a governance review will be undertaken on the IGF, to examine and update its rules of procedure among other issues, and invited members wishing to participate in the review to inform the Secretariat.
Members were requested to send their comments on the Strategy Task Force Report to the Secretariat by the end of November 2016.
Members were informed about planning for work related to maximizing the revenues due to governments for mining activities, and were told that the work plan will be designed to coordinate with the consideration of related issues by the UN, OECD, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and others. The outputs of the other organizations will be evaluated for whether they are sufficiently specific to the needs of the mining sector and developing countries. If they are not, a mining sector supplement will be developed.
One member stressed the importance of guidance on how to evaluate proposals for revenue sharing.
During the review of the draft Communiqué, members suggested highlighting the links between mining challenges and SDGs 5 (gender equality) and 13 (climate change), in addition to the references to SDGs 6 (clean water and sanitation), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships for the Goals). Members also suggested including the names of countries that will be undertaking MPF assessments, and thanking IISD for its work as the Secretariat along with information on its work plan. Members were told that the final communiqué would incorporate these changes. The final Communiqué can be accessed here: http://igfmining.org/agm2016/agm-2016-communique/
AGM CLOSING SESSION
On Thursday afternoon, 27 October, Yanchun Zhang, UNCTAD, addressed the final session of AGM 12, highlighting the value and importance of the IGF as a partnership for all stakeholders on mining issues. She also said: the 2030 Agenda provides a road map to ensure dignity and a better life for all; the mining sector creates challenges and strategies for achieving the SDGs; and further consideration should be given to ASM. She noted that UNCTAD looks forward to welcoming the IGF back to Geneva in late 2017.
Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, IISD, on behalf of IISD and the IGF Secretariat, welcomed the IGF’s newest member, Liberia, and stressed the value of the meeting’s examination of the mining sector through the lens of the SDGs. She thanked UNCTAD for hosting the meeting and looked forward to working with the IGF’s members and partners to implement the SDGs in the coming year.
IGF Executive Committee Chair Gemerts thanked UNCTAD, IISD, WEF and participants for making the AGM possible and officially closed the meeting at 4:58 pm.
Four workshops took place as part of the week-long series of IGF events. On Monday, 24 October, IGF member countries participated in discussions of regional concerns and priorities with regards to mining policy and sustainable development, followed by a discussion on IGF services and the IGF Strategy. On Friday, 28 October, IGF member countries and representatives from the private sector and civil society participated in discussions on SDG implementation challenges and opportunities for the mining sector, and the MPF and SDG comparative analysis.
REGIONAL CONCERNS AND PRIORITIES: Greg Radford, Director, IGF Secretariat, highlighted that this workshop would be conducted in three parallel groups, with each group discussing mining and sustainable development challenges in a different language: English, Spanish and French.
Glenn Gemerts, Chair of IGF Executive Committee, welcomed members and noted that governments face many challenges in ensuring that mining is a trigger for sustainable development. He highlighted that mining issues need to be dealt with in a way that respects economic and social capital while also paying attention to sustainable development requirements. He also emphasized the role of dialogue between government and industry representatives.
French-Language Discussion on Regional Priorities and Best Practices: Suzy Nikièma, IISD, and Clémance Nare, IISD, facilitated small group discussions in the French-language workshop, in which more than 20 participants broke into three subgroups to identify challenges their countries face in optimizing the contribution of the mining sector to sustainable development and in relation to the six pillars of the MPF.
On the legal and policy environment (pillar 1), speakers said that the key challenges for considering sustainability in the mining sector include: obsolete legal frameworks; insufficient harmonization between the concerns of States and investors; inflexible fiscal regimes; instability of economic and social conditions; and the difficulty of legal implementation.
To achieve financial benefit optimization (pillar 2), participants emphasized, inter alia: rationalization of tax law in the mining sector; conciliation between the objectives of fiscal policy and the constraints of mining activities; diversification of taxes; increased income and regional standardization of fiscal policy in the mining sector; optimizing contributions of mineral resources for government budgets; and controlling speculation in mineral prices.
With respect to socioeconomic benefit optimization (pillar 3), participants indicated the need for, inter alia, increasing the percentage of added-value production in mining regions, and providing further support for capacity building, knowledge transfer and the production of locally-produced materials.
On environmental management (pillar 4), participants discussed challenges related to the lack of regulations; insufficient human resources in environmental protection; difficulties in reconciling the interests of local communities and investors, and the need to reduce soil and water pollution and forest degradation.
Regarding post-mining transition (pillar 5), participants highlighted the challenges of rehabilitating sites, consideration of socio-economic issues, and monitoring small mines.
On ASM (pillar 6), participants highlighted the challenges related to the use of hazardous substances, child labor, migration, money laundering, and negative environmental impacts, among others.
Participants then prioritized these key issues according to human and environmental impacts. Recognizing that impacts vary across countries, participants agreed that most issues have high impacts from both social and environmental perspectives.
Spanish-Language Discussion on Regional Priorities and Best Practices: Martin Brauch, IGF Secretariat, facilitated the discussion among 10 participants. Members discussed key environmental and development priorities within the mining sector and related to the six pillars of the MPF. Priorities included the need to: improve legal mandates between different sectors and levels of government; evaluate and implement national mining codes; improve the sustainable use and management of water resources; enhance awareness of sustainability among all actors involved in mining; improve transparency of data to communities, and formalize laws for the closure of mining operations.
In relation to pillar 1, members emphasized the lack of inter-ministerial coordination for revising mining codes and a need to establish a transparent process for mining companies to obtain licenses for both the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources.
On pillar 2, members highlighted the role of evaluating and updating frameworks for mining royalties and tax collection.
Regarding pillar 3, the creation of intergenerational funds, incorporation of community interests into mining decisions and the distribution of resources between levels of governments were identified.
On pillar 4, improving awareness across society, including the artisanal mining sector, on environmental impacts and how these can be avoided or remediated was identified.
In relation to pillar 5, members underscored the importance of formal laws for the closure of mines.
Lastly, members highlighted the need for building capacity among artisanal and small-scale miners to achieve pillar 6.
One member highlighted his country’s experience with the MPF assessment, underscoring the critical role of a governmental champion who served as a logistical focal point to facilitate the work of the IGF team in carrying out the assessment. Specifically, the focal point connected the IGF team with key actors in the mining, energy and environmental sectors of the government as well as with mining companies and civil society to obtain information on mining laws, tax codes, and to collect social and environmental data. Through a series of interviews with key actors, he noted that sufficient data were collected to enable the evaluation of the country’s mining sector in relation to each of the six pillars.
English-Language Discussion on Regional Priorities and Best Practices: Alec Crawford, Matthew Bliss, and Greg Radford, IGF Secretariat, facilitated small group discussions, in which approximately 65 members broke into three groups to identify challenges their countries face in optimizing the contribution of the mining sector to sustainable development.
Participants said challenges include: the impact of ASM on other sectors in addition to the direct environmental problems caused by ASM; limited enforcement capacity in relation to technological advances; including local communities in the benefits of mining; optimizing the linkages between legal and financial benefits; retaining human capital, as well-trained individuals may shift to private sector positions or move abroad; and verifying costs, which is relevant for proper tax assessment and collection.
Additional challenges identified includes the management and rehabilitation of wastes when mines are closed, including through post-legacy planning for closures, and the pollution impacts of ASM on water bodies..
Speakers noted that changes in governments can impact mining policy processes: if a policy is going through the legislative process when a government changes, the policy may have to go back to the beginning of the legislative process with the new government.
In a discussion on the areas in which the IGF should provide support, speakers discussed whether it is best to focus on issues where improvements could be realized in the short term, such as updating checklists through MPF assessments, or to address areas that require longer term efforts, such as ASM. Some speakers suggested that a combination of the two approaches would be best. A member also highlighted the importance of enforcement frameworks, alongside legal and policy frameworks, to ensure that laws are enforced. The need for mechanisms to ensure that communities with SSMs receive benefits from them was also noted.
One member suggested that SSM should be recategorized to keep this area of mining from being generalized and suggested new policies for SSM. Another proposal was to examine the possibilities for using technology to track illegal activities, such as the use of global positioning systems to track heavy equipment and the ability to remotely shut down this equipment, as appropriate. Another member emphasized the need for good governance structures and institutions, including well-paid mining sector employees, alongside well-designed mining frameworks, in order to maintain legal structures over the long term.
On ASM, additional suggestions included: development of guidance and implementation of pilot activities; phased regional strategies and policy recommendations; and identifying success stories.
IGF SERVICES: This workshop convened on Monday afternoon, members considered existing IGF Services including MPF assessments, demand-driven capacity building and technical support and communications and made suggestions on other potential services..
In the English-language discussion group, one member suggested that materials from work with Francophone countries could be translated for English-speaking countries, and vice-versa. Information on the process to request services, such as an MPF assessment, was requested. The need for technical support with regards to mineral agreement models as well as contract negotiation and support to decision makers for permitting processes was also highlighted. Another suggested countries would benefit from training on how to recognize and respond to rapid economic changes that cause commodity price fluctuations and present financing challenges.
On communications, the benefits of capacity building related to improving communications on mining, including for multi-stakeholder engagement and outreach, was noted. Other suggestions included enhancing opportunities of information-sharing among members, and developing a catalogue of the proceedings of all 12 AGM sessions regarding the issues discussed and experts who attended.
In the Spanish-language discussion group, members highlighted the positive role of IGF’s work in integrating mining and minerals extraction within the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, as well as aspects that ought to be included in the MPF and in IGF’s work. Specifically, members identified the need for: a comparable analysis of best practices as well as negative experiences from each country and across particular regions in order to improve mining legislation for sustainability; national champions or focal points within the government who can advance the implementation of sustainable mining practices emerging from the assessment; the integration of IGF expertise within State policy; updating and re-evaluating indicators for biodiversity and climate change in relation to mining activities; and providing a consolidated database of different mining laws, codes, projects, social and environmental practices as well as perspectives of different actors in relation to sustainability.
Other possibilities for improving IGF’s work included: the need to identify new social and environmental priorities as they emerge through a post-evaluation of action plans and to incorporate them into the proposed database of best mining practices; the importance of incorporating sustainability concepts within mining education at all levels; awareness raising of the environmental impacts of mining for mineral extraction to all members of society; ensuring gender equality in the sector, and identifying the trans-local social and environmental impacts of mining beyond the zone of extraction.
In the French-language discussion group, one participant proposed that the IGF Secretariat could: organize frequent regional meetings and support information exchange among members that are facing similar challenges; establish a pool of expert consultants who could help members prepare MPF assessments; and facilitate partnerships to share geological information and ensure policy continuity.
Another participant emphasized the importance of training on legal frameworks and financial and technical knowledge. Noting that civil society plays a key role in mining activities, he further recommended intensive and longer training in member States, for instance on contract negotiations.
One participant noted that the IGF Secretariat could follow the example of OECD in the elaboration of a guide of best practices with respect to mine closure, land law, tax systems governing multinational enterprises, participation of local communities, and profit sharing among other topics. Another participant proposed the IGF create a prize for the country that made the greatest effort to achieve sustainable development in the mining sector during the assigned time period.
Others suggested, inter alia: establishing contacts between IGF and the International Atomic Energy Agency to address nuclear minerals; organizing study tours in countries applying new practices; promoting high-level standards in the mining sector; collaborating with regional intergovernmental organizations; and making the MPF assessment compulsory for member States.
On IGF’s communication strategies, participants proposed that the IGF Secretariat could provide regular information exchanges through questionnaires with members; further engagement with decision-makers in member States; and create a network of experts in each region.
IGF Strategic Plan 2017-2021: At the conclusion of the Monday afternoon workshop, Jackeline de Oliveira, Chair of the Task Force on Strategy, presented the work of the Task Force and the Strategic Plan for IGF 2017-2021. De Oliveira said the Task Force highlighted that the IGF’s mission is to enhance the mining sector’s contribution to sustainable development by providing services as a global platform for multi-stakeholder constructive dialogue and for improving good governance of mineral resources. She introduced the vision for the IGF by 2021, noting it should be a unique intergovernmental organization for advancing sustainable mining frameworks and to enhance the capacities of members to ensure equitable exploitation of mineral resources for inclusive growth and economic transformation. She said the strategic goals for the IGF include: good governance of mineral resources; a global agenda for policy dialogue on good governance of mineral resources; and the MPF evaluation for contributing to the SDGs.
De Oliveira highlighted recommendations that the Task Force developed, including calls for the IGF to work in close collaboration with members to engage with potential members and pursue partnerships that strengthen the IGF Strategic Plan, and to better coordinate the IGF’s shared work and responsibilities.
SDG IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES: This workshop convened on Friday morning, and was facilitated by Gillian Davidson, WEF. Davidson emphasized that the focus of the workshop wasto identify specific actions to implement what has been learned throughout the week in linking mining activities to the achievement of the SDGs.
Casper Sonesson, UNDP, highlighted that national governments are: mainstreaming national priorities with the SDGs through inter-ministerial commissions to ensure policy coherence; identifying key priorities to catalyze actions that can have positive impacts across multiple SDGs; and ensuring budget frameworks are geared to SDG prioritization. In maximizing the mining sector’s contributions to the SDGs, he stressed to need to: clearly define roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders in the sector; enhance transparency about the sector’s environmental and social impacts; and build stronger links between mining and other industry sectors.
Aidan Davy, ICMM, discussed how the SDGs could be made more relatable and actionable when it comes to private sector participation in the mining sector. In assisting mining companies to evaluate the SDGs and how they can positively contribute to their activities while managing potential adverse impacts, he highlighted the core principles of ICMM that directly link to the SDGs and provided specific examples of how companies can contribute to SDGs 3 (good health and well-being), 6 (clean water and sanitation), 8 (decent work and economic growth), and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).
Alexander Medina, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Dominican Republic, discussed his ministry’s efforts to communicate and collaborate with the mining industry in the Dominican Republic. He noted that the industry was largely unaware of the relationship between mining and sustainable development, and highlighted that the implementation of the SDGs by his Government has led mining companies in the country to realize their responsibilities and contribute to sustainable development.
In the ensuing discussion, participants focused on challenges with regards to, inter alia, country-by-country reporting, the State’s responsibility to reform the legal and policy framework, linkages between humanitarian affairs and development in the mining sector, and capacity building for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Panelists highlighted, inter alia, shared responsibility between the State and corporations to undertake voluntary actions to implement the SDGs, potential contributions of mining companies to post-disaster management, and initiatives to build greater capacity of SMEs on sustainable development.
MPF AND SDG ANALYSIS: On Friday afternoon, 28 October, during the final workshop session, Greg Radford, IGF Secretariat, presented on the relationship between the SDGs and MPF, based on an analysis of commonalities and gaps as well as specific strengths of the MPF from a mining-sector perspective.
Radford also discussed a number of IGF organizational issues. Based on the results of a survey of member country priorities, he reported that MPF pillars 1 (legal and policy framework), 2 (financial benefit optimization) and 6 (ASM) were identified as the highest priorities requiring greater capacity building and technical support. During the discussion, 22 member countries noted they are in the process of updating their national mining laws.
Matthew Bliss, presented the MPF-SDG comparative analysis. For pillar 1, he noted alignment with the SDGs on enhanced access to economic resources and the creation of jobs, and gaps with the SDGs on ending child labor and reduced exposure to economic, social, and environmental shocks from resettlement; and strengths of the MPF on community engagement through social and environmental assessments.
The Secretariat asked members to describe the biggest challenges their country faces with regards to the legal and policy aspects of the mining sector. In response, one member noted that individual mining contracts driven by sustainability concerns often deviate from outdated mining laws, resulting in a time-consuming process to agree to new mining contracts. Another member said that enforcement of laws is a key challenge, particularly for the achievement of the SDGs related to minimizing environmental degradation.
For pillar 2, Bliss indicated alignment with the SDGs on, inter alia, the contribution of mining revenues to the mobilization of domestic resources, the use of a portion of the revenues for social investments, and open and transparent revenue systems integrated with other sectors. Noting that the strength of the MPF in relation to the SDGs lies in fiscal instruments and the negotiation of mineral license agreements aligned with national policy, he also listed four gaps including: creating sound policy based on inclusive development strategies; reducing corruption and bribery to prevent illicit financial flows; strengthening domestic resource mobilization via improved tax and revenue collection; and sustainable, accessible infrastructure.
During the discussion, members highlighted their countries’ challenges, including profit shifting by multinational companies, differences between the priorities of governments and the SDGs, the impacts of the closure of mines, and conflicts among regulations. Noting the OECD’s tools for helping developing countries combat base erosion and profit shifting, one member called for multilateral treaties to regulate offshore profit shifting, and the Secretariat said it will continue to work with OECD on this. One member questioned the commitment of governments to the SDGs, indicating that profits from the mining sector are often not used for sustainable development. Members also discussed the differing needs and priorities of each country, highlighting that major challenges for pillar 2 lie in the difference between stakeholders’ expectations and conflicts between mining and tax regulations. Members also recognized the necessity for making funds available for future generations to mitigate the impact of mine closures, while noting the challenges of collecting and administrating such funds.
For pillar 6, Bliss noted: alignment with the SDGs on the promotion of conflict-free standards and certifications and management practices for wastes and chemicals, and gaps between the pillar and the SDGs with regard to ensuring sustainable food production and inclusive and participatory decision-making; and strengths of the MPF in integrating ASM through legal and economic formalization.
Radford presented survey results on members’ preferences for future IGF guidance documents, with the highest priority given to guidance on local content. In discussion of potential partners to consider in preparing the document, members suggested the World Bank Group, UNCTAD, local planning authorities, the World Trade Organization and the private sector. On the scope of main topics to be covered in the guidance, members suggested: clearer definitions of local content; the role of regional organizations; supply-chain management; and integration with infrastructure development.
In closing the workshop, Radford thanked the Chair of the IGF Executive Committee and all participants for their fruitful discussions throughout the week. The meeting was closed at 1:06 pm.