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UCT’s contribution to Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals

6 Jun 2016 - 09:30
SDG map from the mining atlas
Where Mining and the 17 SDGs (inner circle) showing in the outer circle where mining can have the major impacts. (From the mining atlas)

In September 2015, nearly all the world’s nations (193) agreed to adopt a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2015-2030. The 17 SDGs contain 169 targets that impose specific, easily quantifiable features that can be monitored to gauge progress towards meeting the goals. The SDGs should serve as a reference point and a global compass for policy makers as they navigate a complex, dynamic, and difficult economic and political backdrop.

The SDGs represent a paradigm shift in global sustainability thinking. They recognise the complex interactions between social, economic and the environmental dimensions of sustainability. The interconnectedness of global issues drove the system design of the SDGs resulting in strong themes of universality, integration and transformation. The SDGs form a connected system and therefore the agenda cannot be advanced in isolation for this reason the gaols are aimed to be implemented in every country and all sectors including cities, businesses, schools and organisations. This interdisciplinary feature is vital if implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the goals will be successful however this will require unprecedented collaboration and dialogue amongst all stakeholders to incorporate the goals into their activities and engaging in a collaborative partnership to secure implementation by 2030.

Since Mining affects all 17 SDGs, both positively or negatively and has an extraordinary potential to contribute to the achievement of SDGs due to the following factors

  • Scale – Mining can mobilize physical, technological and financial resources on a vast scale for achievement of the SDGs and the broader 2030 Agenda
  • Catalyst – Promotion of investment, technology and knowledge transfer, innovation
  • Linkages – Development of infrastructure and up-, down-, and side-stream linkages
  • Multipliers – Job creation associated with each direct mining job
  • Scope – Global presence, including in remote, less-developed areas

The document Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: A Preliminary Atlas was drafted by the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, United Nations Development Programme, World Economic Forum As a Joint project of WEF, UNDP, SDSN and CCSI. 

Its purpose is to help the mining industry navigate where its activities – from exploration through production and mine closure – can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and to encourage mining companies of all sizes to incorporate relevant SDGs into their business and operations, contextualize and reframe current efforts and spark new ideas. It also presents case studies which demonstrate impacts. It aims to facilitate three outcomes:

  • Increased understanding of how the SDGs and mining relate to one another
  • Awareness-raising of opportunities and challenges that the SDGs pose for the mining industry and its stakeholders, and how they might address them
  • Multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration towards achievement of the SDGs

It was developed on the basis of interviews conducted with over 60 global experts from the mining industry, civil society, governments, academia, financial institutions and other international organizations and a draft published for public participation in Jan 2016.

Workshop at UCT on 13th March discussing mining atlas

Workshop at UCT on 13th March discussing mining atlas

Dee Bradshaw initiated workshops at UCT  which were coordinated by Professor Mike Solomon and post docs Rahul Ram and Juarez Amaral Filho together with based on the following questions

•             How are the SDGs relevant for the mining sector?

•             What is the role of the mining sector in contributing to the achievement of the SDGs, and how can the framework be helpful to companies?

•             Can we researchers contribute with some case studies?

At Mining Indaba in Cape Town , Dee Bradshaw and Herman Meyer of UCT participated in the Networking round table event hosted by Gillian Davidson where the topic was ‘Mining and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals: From Theory to Practice.’  Where the atlas was presented.

Networking Roundtable 9. Mining and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals: From Theory to Practice at Mining Indaba Tuesday 9th Feb 2016.