On May 17 and 18, the regional consultation for the States of Latin America and the Caribbean on the Environmental Aspects of the Management of Minerals and Metals took place at ECLAC, within the framework of Resolution 5/12 of the Environmental Assembly of Nations United. The consultation was carried out by UNEP and the Ministry of Mining of Chile as the host country. ECLAC participated in the meeting as an international observer entity.
The purpose of the meeting was to make a regional assessment of existing activities on the subject, identify opportunities to improve international cooperation and develop proposals to improve the environmental management of minerals and metals throughout their entire life cycle, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The meeting was held in a hybrid format and included the participation of representatives from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. The activity in the region was part of a series of consultations made to each of the United Nations regions, in preparation for the global meeting to review the implementation of the resolution to be held in September.
The regional consultation lasted two days. During the opening, the Undersecretary of Mining of Chile and host of the consultation, Willy Kracht, recalled how the context of combating climate change and the energy transition contribute to a new common purpose for mining in the region. On behalf of ECLAC, Mauricio León, Head of the Non-Renewable Resources Unit, opened the meeting emphasizing the importance of the region complying with social and environmental standards to reduce the impacts of the global transition and mining activity. It was recalled that ECLAC collaborates with the other Regional Economic Commissions, UNEP and UNDP, in the Working Group on the Transformation of Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development, as a platform to improve coordination on the subject within the UN System and to accompany the progress of the debate on critical minerals for the energy transition in different parts of the world.
On the first day of the regional consultation, a technical session was held on the management of sands and mining waste, where knowledge gaps, proposed solutions, and relevant initiatives that can drive best practices were identified. At this point, ECLAC presented the work carried out on tailings management and, in particular, the preparation of the Mine Closure Methodological Guide, which is in the updating phase and will give rise to a virtual course, which is currently being developed by ECLAC’s Natural Resources Division.
The second day of the meeting focused on the definition of prospective proposals, including those to strengthen international cooperation and foster the development of capacities and technological, technical and scientific cooperation in the mining sector, especially with developing countries.
Following the regional consultations, a two-day face-to-face global consultation will take place on September 7-8, 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland, highlighting the main findings of the regional consultations and providing an opportunity to gather additional feedback.
The report on the results of the regional consultations, as well as more information on the global meeting, are available at the following link (available only in English).