Ecolex Logo
The gateway to
environmental law
Search results » Treaty decision

Mineral resource governance

Document type
Reference number
Mar 11, 2019
Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly
Full text
Mineral resource governance.pdf

Mineral resource governance*

The United Nations Environment Assembly,

Recalling the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling also the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment 1972, its Action Plan and recommendation 56 on mining and mineral resources,

Reaffirming General Assembly resolution A/RES/37/7 of 28 October 1982, entitled “World Charter for Nature” that states that “non-renewable resources (…) shall be exploited with restraint, taking into account their abundance, rational possibilities of converting them for consumption, and the compatibility of their exploitation”,

Recalling the Berlin II Guidelines 2002 and their Fundamental Principles for the Mining Sector, which states that governments, mining companies and minerals industries should recognize environmental management as a high priority, establish environmental accountability, and ensure the participation of interested parties,

Reaffirming the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, adopted on 4 September 2002, which recognized that minerals are essential for modern living and sustainable development,

Reaffirming also the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, entitled “The Future We Want”, General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/288 adopted on 27 July 2012, which stresses the major contribution of minerals and metals to modern societies and which calls upon governments and businesses to promote the continuous improvement of accountability and transparency,

Recalling United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/1 of 25 September 2015, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 7 “Affordable and clean energy” and Sustainable Development Goal 12 “Responsible consumption and production” and reminding the important contribution of mining to their achievement,

Noting that clean technologies, highly depending on metals and minerals, are important to combat climate change issues,

Welcoming the ‘Global Resource Outlook 2019: Natural Resources for the Future We Want’ report by the IRP presented at UNEA-4,

Taking note of the reports “Mineral Resource Governance in the 21st Century: Gearing extractive industries towards sustainable development (IRP 2019), “Mine Tailings Storage: Safety is No Accident” (UNEP – GRID ARENDAL, 2017) and “Sand and Sustainability: Finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources (UNEP-GRID 2019), as well as UNEP’s relevant activities,

1. Recognizes the findings of the International Resource Panel, related to the sustainable management of metal and mineral resources and the need for further action, as well as the findings of UNEP on mine tailings storage and UNEP GRID on sustainable sand management;

2. Also recognizes that sustainable management of metal and mineral resources contributes significantly to achieving the SDGs;

3. Underlines the need for the sharing of knowledge and experiences on regulatory approaches, implementation practices, technologies and strategies for the sustainable management of metal and mineral resources, including over the whole life of the mine and the post-mining stage.

4. Requests the Executive Director, based on relevant reports such as those by the UNEP International Resource Panel and UNEP GRID, to collect information on sustainable practices, identify knowledge gaps and options for implementation strategies, and undertake an overview of existing assessments of different governance initiatives and approaches on sustainable management of metal and mineral resources, and report to the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly.

5. Encourages governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations, academia and international institutions, within their different competencies, to promote:

(a) Awareness of how the extractive industries can contribute to the sustainable development of countries and the wellbeing of their populations, as well as of the possible negative impacts on human health and the environment when these activities are improperly managed;

(b) Due diligence best practices along the supply chain addressing broader environmental, human rights, labor, and conflict-related risks in mining, including the continuous increase of transparency and the fight against corruption, inter alia with the support of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) implementation and monitoring of existing environmental standards, and accountability;

(c) Capacity-building mechanisms for sustainable management of metal and mineral resources including the management of major hazards as well as to address mine closure requirements and the remediation of contaminated sites, including abandoned mines;

(d) Public and private partnerships to promote sustainable management of metal and mineral resources;

(e) Research, development and technological innovations, to sustainably manage metal and mineral resources;

(f) Sustainable mining and sourcing of raw materials in order to move towards decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation through approaches including, but not limited to, resource efficiency and circular economy;

(g) The reduction of impacts associated with the materials needed for the transition to an innovative and environmentally friendly economy.