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Event: Dialogue on Water

Governing Water Sustainability in Mining and Post-mining Landscapes

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29.10.2020 |

Together with the German Development Institute (DIE), on October 8th and 9th 2020 the Sector Programme "Extractives and Development" and the "Policy Consultation on Groundwater" of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) jointly hosted the 10th Dialogue on Water. The title of the online format was "Governing water sustainability in mining and post-mining landscapes".

Under the title "Governing water sustainability in mining and post-mining landscapes", international participants with various professional backgrounds discussed current topics of development cooperation on the subject of water governance and mining online for two days.

Mining has the potential to strengthen the economy and to contribute to local employment in rural areas. However, mining is associated with social and environmental risks, which are often related to water pollution and increasing water scarcity. The question of how risks and benefits of mining and mining-related water use are shared, touches on the topics of social justice, public health, good governance and environmental integrity. In addition, the role of governance regulations and their ability to mitigate adverse impacts is often put into question. All this and more was discussed within this year's Dialogue on Water.

The Dialogue also picked up the concept of "Water Stewardship", which is currently only being practiced by a few pioneers within the industry. Water Stewardship refers to a precautionary responsibility and proactive role of mining companies for water resources of the regions affected by their operations.

Furthermore, the role of standards for good mining practices in relation to water management was discussed by participants. In areas with deficits in (environmental) legislation or its implementation, standards might provide guidance for responsible action. However, weak points are often unclear criteria, conflicts of interest in self-reporting and the lack of verification by independent organisations and/or the civil society concerned.

Other contributions dealt with disputes on water between indigenous communities and mining companies or government agencies, especially with the clash of very different understandings and conceptualizations of nature, natural resources and their exploitation.

Finally, a panel discussion with participation of the BMZ Division 422, BGR, Germanwatch and Wageningen University closed the Dialogue. All panellists emphasized that cooperation and dialogue should be encouraged. At the same time, it was pointed out, that there are not only different interests and positions between the various actors, but also within the affected population groups, state institutions and companies.

For further information, please contact Hannah Maul.

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