Mining critical for sustainability goals

LARGE-SCALE mining has the potential to play a critical role in helping to achieve the sustainable development goals in resource-rich countries, according to a new report at the UN High-Level Political Forum in New York.
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The report, ‘Mapping mining to the sustainable development goals: an atlas', is a joint effort of the UN and other parties working on SDGs.

The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, endorsed by all UN member states in 2015, represent the world's plan of action for social inclusion, environmental sustainability and economic development.

"The mining industry has an enormous role to play in sustainable development, and this report will help the industry to map its roles, responsibilities and opportunities across the 17 SDGs. Not only is this a key tool for the mining industry, it is a model for other sectors of the economy as they search for ways to align their activities with the SDGs," said Jeffrey Sachs, adviser to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

The atlas maps the relationship between mining and the SDGs by using examples of good practice in the industry and existing knowledge and resources in sustainable development that, if replicated or scaled up, could make useful contributions to the SDGs.

Mining companies, their staff, management and boards are the primary audience for the atlas. The atlas is also intended to advance the conversation on how mining companies can work collaboratively with governments, communities, civil society and other partners to help achieve the SDGs.

The atlas includes a chapter for each of the SDGs, focusing on the contribution the mining industry can make to that goal through its business operations and identifying opportunities for mining companies to collaborate with other stakeholders.

Each chapter also includes case studies on which to draw in building innovative, systematic and sustained collaborative efforts.

Some of the conclusions to stimulate action, further debate and research include: the mining industry has the potential to positively contribute to all 17 SDGs; while the mining industry is diverse, the scope and nature of typical mining activities highlight some SDGs where mining can have a particularly significant impact; and the mining industry must ramp up its engagement, partnership and dialogue with other industry sectors, government, civil society and local communities to address the challenges of the SDGs.

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