Questionwhat are the SDG challenges facing the mining sector?
AnswerAt the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030 (UNPD, 2016.) One area in which there has been minimal progress over the past 10 years is in the capacity of governments in developing nations to ensure that mining contributes to sustainable development. (Buxton, 2012). This poses fresh challenges in light of the new trend for such governments to reassert control over their mineral resources in response to the boom in commodity prices on the global market over the same period. Governments are doing this by, for instance, changing their tax laws and mining policies or acquiring equity stakes in companies that are active in the sector (Buxton, 2012). The mining and metals sector is uniquely placed to support the realisation of the SDGs. Large-scale mining is a global industry operating in all corners of the world, and often in remote and under-developed areas where it is capable of mobilising financial, technological and physical resources on a vast scale. However, while the mining and metals sectors have the potential to catalyse the achievement of a number of the SDGs, mining has historically also caused or exacerbated many problems that the SDGs seek to address. Poorly managed mining operations can result in large-scale displacement of affected populations (including of indigenous and tribal peoples), degradation of the environment (including water sources), social and economic inequality, increased levels of corruption and conflict, gender-based violence, and grave risks to health (The Guardian, 2016).
ReferencesBuxton, A., (2012) MMSD+10: Reflecting on a decade of mining and sustainable development. Accessed online via: http://pubs.iied.org/16041IIED.html The Guardian (2016) Sustainable Development Goals: how can the mining sector contribute? Accessed online via: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/mar/29/sustainable-development-goals-how-can-the-mining-sector-contribute UNPD (2016) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Accessed online via: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sdgoverview/post-2015-development-agenda.html
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