"Built on sand?"

Sector Programme participates in Engagement Global´s Expert Discussion

18.11.2020 |

In the field of development education, Engagement Global deals with questions of sustainable management and the use of natural resources. Sand is a topic that has not been given yet much attention in educational work. Therefore, the expert discussion was set up as an interdisciplinary approach with a focus was on the effects of sand mining in the countries of the global south and the role it plays in resource-intensive societies. The aim of the expert discussion was to exchange views across disciplinary boundaries and to identify approaches for raising awareness among a wider public.

In addition to other participants, including participants from politics, business and science, the Sector Programme "Extractives and Development" of the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) also took part in the expert discussion and provided insights into the sand problem in India and Indonesia. These problems include illegal sand mining, serious ecological effects and dangerous working conditions. Furthermore, the project presented some approaches to solve some of the issues related to sand.

The Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone reported that the demand for sand is growing, especially for urban and infrastructure construction. The sand sector in Sierra Leone is not regulated. Poor management of the resource is leading to violent conflicts between industry and small-scale miners and to devastating environmental damage.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that the United Nations have recognized the sand problem and are therefore working to develop international guidelines. Additionally, there is a focus on good governance, for example by promoting international cooperation. In addition to these measures, it extraction of natural sand should be reduced, e.g. by using alternative building materials.

While the morning was devoted in particular to outlining the problems, the afternoon session was outlined possible solutions. Three architects and an urban planner shared their practical and scientific experiences. Sustainable building is working, even if it has not yet been sufficiently reflected in the area and width of the building industry, they concluded.

For further information, please contact Hannah Maul.

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