World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Share Gains From Extracting Precious Raw Materials More Equitably, Guard Against Pitfalls, Cautions Guterres

Extracting minerals, metals and other valuable raw materials from the earth, represents a “crucial juncture” between resources, ecosystems and people, all of which have an essential role to play in advancing sustainability and equity, the UN chief said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Global Roundtable on Transforming Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development, Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Our shared responsibility is to ensure that the benefits of mineral resources reach all people in society, not just elites, while safeguarding the natural environment today and for future generations”.

Extractive industries refers to businesses that take raw materials from the earth, including oil, coal, precious metals, and other minerals, by drilling, pumping, quarrying and mining.

Mineral potential

As one of Earth’s “great endowments”, he said that their extractions play a “dominant role” in the economies of 81 countries, generating large foreign exchange earnings, foreign direct investment and government revenues.

“They have the potential to drive economic growth and poverty reduction”, said the UN chief.

While mineral-rich countries account for a quarter of global Gross Domestic Product, half the world’s population - nearly 70 per cent of their people - live in extreme poverty. And of the world’s 72 low or middle-income countries, 63 have increased their dependence on extractive industries over the past two decades.

They have the potential to drive economic growth and poverty reduction -- UN chief

Mr. Guterres noted that some call mineral extractions “the resource curse” because of their association with “a litany of ills” – from corruption, exploitation and racism to environmental degradation, worsening climate change and biodiversity loss, along with armed conflict, gender-based violence and human rights violations.

Common thread

Common to all regions has been the need for the extractives sector and resources generated to be managed “sustainably, inclusively and equitably”, according to the UN chief.

“This means taking into account the needs and rights of women, indigenous peoples, local communities and other stakeholders who are affected by the industry yet excluded from the design and benefits of extractive operations”, he spelled out.

Improve governance, reduce dependency

The Secretary-General highlighted four imperatives that must be enacted, beginning with the improved governance of extractive resources, including for independent monitoring and addressing corruption, revenue mismanagement and illicit financial flows.

“This is especially important regarding new minerals and metals on which the technological revolution depends”, he said.

Secondly, the UN chief upheld that countries must reduce their dependency revenues from these industries by diversifying their economies, adapting tax systems to new needs and accelerating work on a just transition for employees and communities dependent on extractive resources.

“Overall, the sector should be supporting investment in public services, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human rights”, he said.

A low-carbon future

In his third point, Mr. Guterres advocated for more investment in a low-carbon future by aligning all public and private finance in the extractives sector with the SDGs and Paris Agreement.

Recalling that countries representing 73 per cent of carbon emissions have committed by mid-century to net zero, he said: “Decarbonization of the global economy is inevitable”.

Rapidly deploying renewable energy technologies and phasing-out fossil fuel must be supported by ending the use of coal, shifting subsidies from fossil fuel to renewable energy and promoting technology transfer, according to the UN chief.

“I urge multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other institutions to support this process decisively”, he said.

Strengthen cooperation

Greater regional and global coordination to “manage shocks and ensure a smooth, just and sustainable transition process”, was the UN official’s final point.

He said that the UN Regional Economic Commissions will continue to play an important role this regard and also invited Member States and others to create a UN-hosted Working Group on Extractive Industries to help transform the sector.

‘All hands-on deck’

The Secretary-General closed by calling for “all hands-on deck” to address the triple threat of climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution and to promote equitable, inclusive development where no one is left behind.

“I…look forward to working together to reap the benefits of extractive industries for all while guarding against the pitfalls”.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Afghanistan: Record Number Of Women And Children Killed Or Wounded

More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009, a United Nations report revealed on Monday... More>>

Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>

UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Food Systems: More Than 100 Countries Discuss Visions For Futures To Accelerate Global Action Ahead Of September Summit

More than 100 countries came together over the course of three-days to discuss how they will transform their national food systems to drive progress against the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030... More>>

Food Systems: Italian & Rwandan Leaders Join Urgent Call To Transform World’s Food Systems As Pre-Summit Begins

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame stress need for more inclusive, sustainable and holistic approaches ahead of the Summit in New York in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>