Making policies work


External event


Capitalizing on experiences for future actions: contributions of development partners to sustainable artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)

4 July 2018 8:30 am
4 July 2018 7:00 pm

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Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) engages an estimated 100 million people in over 70 developing countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific Region.

The gold sector alone occupies about 10 to 15 million artisanal and small-scale gold miners worldwide, including 4.5 million women and 600,000 children, and represents a production of about 380 to 450 tons of gold per year, or 17–20% of the gold produced globally. While it is an important livelihood activity, which could potentially contribute to sustainable and inclusive development, the sector is perhaps best known for its severely negative social and environmental impact, including child labour, human rights violations and the effects of uncontrolled toxic waste spills. Given the scale of its economic, social and environmental footprint, development partners and donor agencies engage in the sector, mostly with a view to improve the governance of ASM, foster local economic development and to mitigate its negative side-effects. In this respect, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) has been a very active actor, notably supporting better governance in ASM as well as in commodity trading, including in the fight against illegal financial flows, Switzerland being also one of the most important trading and refining venues for gold.

However, dealing with, and addressing ASM comes with a range of challenges, which partly derived from the complex nature of the extractive sector more broadly. This event:

  1. provided an opportunity to capitalise and share knowledge, challenges and lessons learnt on donor agencies’ approaches and instruments to ASM; and
  2. considered the role of domestic and international actors, including CSOs and private sector in ASM (e.g. mining companies, smelters, commodity traders), and the priorities and effectiveness of donor engagement regarding ASM.

The event was organised around four sessions, with the aim to focus on ASM, while also considering it in the broader extractive sector and governance context, including at local, regional and international levels.

Each of the following four sessions was guided by two or three guiding questions:

  1. The first session looked at ASM from a (local) governance perspective, and invite development partners to present some of the key approaches and concrete projects in this field, and their lessons learnt.
  2. The second session focused on how development partners engage in multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaborate with, and support, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), in addressing ASM sustainability environmental, social – gender and transparency) issues and fostering local development, with practical examples and lessons learnt.
  3. The third session aimed to connect the local with the regional and international frameworks affecting ASM development by taking a value chains approach, with a view to focus specifically on issues relating to due diligence, transparency, (illicit) financial flows and commodity trading.
  4. The fourth session then more specifically looked at the role of development partners in stimulating sustainable and inclusive development, based on the discussions held in the previous sessions.

This event was organized with the support of ECDPM.

Read the conference report and view the presentations:

Artisanal Mining and Sustainable Development, Edward K. Brown Director of Policy and Research ACET
ASM Local Governance Challenges Issues, Lessons and Recommendations, Patience Singo, Governance Advisor
Connecting local ASM activities with multi-level regulatory frameworks, Louis Maréchal, Policy Advisor, OECD Investment Division

More information and the agenda can be found here.