Strengthening laws and governance

We promote the integration of environmental sustainability in the governance of the extractive sector.

Natural resources governance

The International Resource Panel conducts research to advise policymakers, industry and communities on how to improve mineral resource management. Their reports have received wide media coverage and reinforced the need to reduce, reuse and recycle.

We are working with Norway on the Oil for Development Programme to provide capacity-building to 12 countries on environmental management of the oil and gas sector.

The UN Environment-hosted Nairobi Convention, which was set up to protect the marine and coastal environment in East Africa, is working to ensure that the burgeoning oil and gas sector in the Western Indian Ocean is run with as small an environmental impact as possible.

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining

Through the Global Mercury Partnership, UN Environment is assisting 21 countries to develop National Action Plans to meet their commitments under the Minamata Convention to reduce mercury use in artisanal and small-scale gold mining. The convention bans new mercury mines and aims to phase-out existing ones, amongst other measures. A new project by UN Environment and the Global Environment Facility, GEF GOLD, is also backing the goals of the convention.

REDD+ project in Zambia is aiming for, by 2025, the mining industry to contribute to the management of surrounding indigenous forests and the establishment of forest plantations for its own timber needs.

Harnessing public revenues

The Green Fiscal Policy Network unites countries to build interest in fiscal policies that allow public revenues from extraction to support sustainable development. The network is a partnership between UN Environment, the German Corporation for International Development (GIZ) and the International Monetary Fund.

The Poverty-Environment Initiative, which is run jointly by the UN Development Programme and UN Environment, works to ensure that the links between poverty and the environment are recognized and accounted for in national policies and budgets. The extractives industry is clearly important in this work. In Myanmar, for example, PEI works with the government to support investments, particularly in natural resources, that are beneficial for Myanmar’s people without high environmental or social impacts. The government is modifying investment laws, policies and practices and has established a “One Stop Service” to guide investors.

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