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Climate Change Adaption

IGF Annual General Meeting 2019: Mining in a Changing Climate

Side Event on Gender Equality during the IGF 2019

28.10.2019 |

Climate change has an impact on mining. Extreme weather events and advancing climate change increases the environmental hazards of mining. Flooding, erosion and aridity are just a few examples. But mining also has an impact on the climate. Deforestation and the use of fossil fuels for the energy supply of a mine are just a few examples. How can we meet the Paris climate targets while at the same time securing the raw materials needed for the energy transition?

"Mining in a Changing Climate" was the motto of this year's Intergovernmental Forum on Mining Minerals and Metals (IGF). More than 500 participants were registered for the Annual General Meeting - more than ever before. These included representatives from more than 80 countries, the EU Commission, international organisations (including the World Economic Forum, OECD, UNDP, World Bank), NGOs and companies. Among them were Yannic Kiewitt from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and representatives of the sector programme Extractives and Development.

Under the overarching theme of "Mining in a Changing Climate", three main topics were discussed:

  • Adaptation of the mining sector to climate change
  • Raw materials needed for climate technologies
  • Development of a climate-friendly mining industry

Other topics included voluntary sustainability initiatives, small-scale mining, environmental and social impact assessment, local value creation, mine closure, taxation and profit transfer.

In addition, the increasing digitalisation of the sector has been a major concern of audiences and panellists in almost every session: What will future mining look like? What impact will the progress in digitalisation have on the way people work? Kemal Özkan of the global union IndustrieALL explained that the situation among miners was tense: "Everyone is talking about jobs. These are our jobs. Yet nobody is talking to us." The impact of digitalisation on jobs is an issue that the New Tech, New Deal project, which is financially supported by the BMZ, is also addressing.

Overall, Germany was involved in several sessions. For example, as part of the multi-actor partnership Women's Rights & Mining (WRM), GIZ has organized a lunch session to strengthen women's rights in the mining sector. Among other things, the working group presented the statement jointly drafted with the OECD, which strengthens women's rights along the value chain. In addition, GIZ moderated the interactive exercise - Power Ladder - on "Gender and Extractives". The exercise sensitises participants about how gender and social identity (such as age, class, ethnicity or sexuality) affects different roles in the mining sector and what different challenges and concerns women and girls face in the context of mining. In the last part of the event, a first teaser video of the special series on "Gender Equality and Mining", which was financially supported by the BMZ, was presented. With about 75 participants, the topic met great interest.

Overall, the presentation of approaches to climate change was very much influenced by contributions from international companies, organisations and examples from a few countries (notably Canada, Chile, Australia). This shows that developments in many countries are still in their beginning. Here, just as with the topic of new technologies, the realities of individual "showcase projects" of the industry and the broad practice of mining in many countries are obviously still far apart.

In addition to the sessions on climate change, the sessions on small-scale mining were well attended, as were discussions on questions of taxation and profit transfer. The topic of sustainability standards and supply chain initiatives, which received less attention last year, was discussed more intensively this year, particularly with regard to the gold sector. In this context, a separate session on the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM) was held for the first time.

This year's IGF meeting ended with a full-day workshop on Local Content Policy. Within the workshop the IGF Guidance Document For Governments was presented and discussed how mining can better contribute to the development of the local economies of mining countries. The focus was on strengthening the local procurement and the downstream value creation. The impact of digitisation on local content policies was also discussed.

In conclusion, the IGF has further developed into an internationally established forum for ministries responsible for mining as well as an exchange platform for questions of governance in the mining sector, also through increasing membership. The professional organisation and the interactive discussion formats provide a good insight into the respective developments and challenges in the countries and represent a very good forum for networking with relevant actors.

A comprehensive documentation of the meeting and the respective workshops and panels can be found at https://www.igfmining.org/event/15th-annual-general-meeting/

 

For further information please contact Teresa Bornschlegl or Lisa Stellner.

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