The UN Sustainable Development Goals and Mining in the Andean countries – How does it fit together?

Panelists of the event Sustainable mining in the Andean countries

19.07.2018 |

Mining can never be sustainable because minerals are always finite. However, mining can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if it meets certain standards. On July 6th, the forum for Sustainable Mining in the Andean countries took place in the GIZ representative office in Berlin. The forum was held following a delegation trip on the topic of dealing with residues of by the regional project Regional Cooperation for Mining Sustainability in the Andes. The regional project together with the sectoral program Extractives and Development organized the forum.

After keynotes by the BMZ`s Latin American representative, Dr. Bögemann-Hagedorn and Carlos de Miguel of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), a panel (SWP, trade associations metals and mining ministry of Colombia) discussed requirements and opportunities for a sustainable mining approach along the Agenda 2030. An intensive exchange between the participants, including delegates from the Andean countries, civil society, political foundations and various federal departments, followed.

Essential for the discussion was the Agenda 2030, which marks the framework for sustainability in the mining sector. This also includes the demand for mining products. As a central challenge, the multitude of international standards was identified. Overall, the participants agreed that the time is right for ‘bigger’ solutions: by standardizing norms, more reliability will be created. One idea was to establish a platform for mining products and metals. Furthermore, the discussion emphasized the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and the involvement of all stakeholder groups at national, sub-national and regional levels. This is the only way to make supply chains more sustainable and to extract the, for the transport and energy transition required, raw materials in a socially and environmentally friendly manner.

This discussion just started and needs to be continued at different levels. Therefore, Latin America offers great potential: on the one hand because of the high occurrence of critical raw materials (including lithium and copper, which are indispensable for the energy and transport transition) and on the other hand through promising approaches and references such as sustainable designs of the mining sector as a motor for sustainable development.

For further information please contact Nicolas Maennling.

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