Helen Clark: Speech at the event “Extractive Industries and the Sustainable Development Goals Enhancing Collaboration for Sustainability”

| September 27, 2015
27 Sep 2015

The purpose of this event is to highlight the potential for the mining, oil, and gas sectors – the extractive sectors - to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to explore what actions are needed to realise that potential.

More and more countries have become new entrants to these sectors over the last decade. These resources are likely to constitute an even bigger share of many countries’ exports and national income in future.

Revenues from extractive industries of mineral resources can benefit development - Norway, Canada, and Australia, are developed countries with significant wealth from them.

Among developing countries, Botswana and Chile developed good models for harnessing the revenues, and among later entrants to these sectors, Ghana and Timor Leste have also set up regimes around resource extraction which aim to maximize national benefit.

In some places, however, exploitation of natural wealth has gone hand-in-hand with a widening gulf between rich and poor, mismanaged economies, entrenched corruption, political instability, environmental degradation and – in extremis - conflict.

The 2030 Agenda is about doing development differently, so that it benefits people and planet. If fully realized, the resource curse would be a thing of the past.

There is tremendous interest among many businesses in aligning with the SDGs, and there is a strong business case for doing so, including for the extractive industries.

Last year, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston Consulting Group surveyed executives in the international mining and metals sectors. Eighty per cent of respondents said that sustainability-oriented strategies were essential for the current and future competitive advantage of the extractive industries.

To support mining and metals companies to identify how they could contribute to achieveing the SDGs, UNDP together with the World Economic Forum, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network is preparing a draft report titled “Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas”. The Atlas aims to support country-by-country and business-by-business reviews of mining activities, and the impact of strategies, resource allocation, and investments on achieving the SDGs.

The Atlas will also suggest ways in which governments, communities, civil society, international organizations, NGOs, and other private sector actors would collaborate around shared objectives.

In Oslo in November, UNDP will be hosting a thematic dialogue on how extractive industries can support the objectives of SDG 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies and access to justice. We also plan dialogues at country level where there are major mining and oil and gas sectors over the coming year.

To conclude: for countries with significant extractive industries, how those sectors do business has a major bearing on whether the countries can achieve sustainable development. Our dialogue on these issues is very important to these countries.

UNDP wishes you a very productive meeting and looks forward to taking its outcomes forward.

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