Small-scale mining to help boost social and economic development in the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States

Jul 15, 2015

Brussels, 15 July, 2015--The African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Group of States, the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched today an initiative to support the low-value minerals and materials sector in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. The sector includes the mining of construction materials, dimension stones, industrial minerals and low-grade metals and precious stones.

In contrast to the large-scale tradable minerals and hydrocarbons sector, the low-value minerals and materials sector has closer links with the local economy and the potential to generate more local jobs, and can, therefore, have a greater impact on reducing poverty.

The initiative “Capacity development of mineral institutions and of small-scale private sector operating in low-value minerals in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries” aims to help the sector contribute to the fulfilment of the ambitious, and soon to be agreed to, sustainable development goals, as well as toward the ACP Framework of Action on the Development of Mineral Resources Sector, endorsed by the ACP Committee of Ambassadors in 2011.

“Despite its development potential, the low value mining and materials sector often remains unrealized or under-realized”, said Dr. Patrick I. Gomes, the Secretary General of the ACP Group. “The ACP Group believes that this type of action to build ACP capacities to better manage mineral resources and process them locally will enable these countries to achieve economic and social development in keeping with the objectives of sustainable development”.

The initiative will support the small-scale private sector, mining, public institutions and communities in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States that operate in the low value mining and materials sector. It will promote knowledge exchange to increase the sector’s productivity, help better manage mining operations to adhere to national and international environmental and health standards, and prevent conflict through effective community relations.

Recognizing the far-reaching impacts of extractive activities, UNDP has adopted a Strategy for Supporting Sustainable and Equitable Management of the Extractive Industries and has carried out in recent years dialogues to discuss the role the extractive sector can play in eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development.

“Low-value minerals, if exploited correctly, can have an impact at the social, economic and environmental level,” said Barbara Pesce-Monteiro, Director of the UN/UNDP office in Brussels. “Because of the small scale of the exploitation, they are gender-sensitive and can make an important contribution to household livelihoods and to the local economy. In this sense, they are a critical element in contributing to the future SDGs in many countries”.

The three-year €13.4 million initiative is an Intra-ACP programme initiated by the ACP Secretariat, financed by the European Commission and UNDP, and implemented by UNDP at the request of ACP Group of States.

An inception workshop held in July and attended by more than 70 participants - experts from government, private sector, civil society and community - from 32 countries gathered information about the small-scale low-value mining sectors of the ACP countries and identified the most suitable capacity development approaches, tools and potential partner institutions for the successful implementation of the initiative.

Since 2004, UNDP and the EU have partnered in 115 countries to deepen democratic governance, prevent or recover from conflict and natural disasters, build resilience, and adapt to climate change and are currently working together on about 170 projects worldwide in these areas.

Contact information

Daniel Franks, daniel.franks@undp.org, +32 (0)2 290 87 66 or  Ludmila Tiganu, Communications Specialist, ludmila.tiganu@undp.org,  +32 471 702 903 

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