UNEA 6 Resolution on Environmental Aspects of Minerals and Metals

The sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) convened in Nairobi from 26 February to 1 March. Among the 15 resolutions adopted, ranging from topics as the sound management of chemicals and wastes to sustainable lifestyles and land degradation, one resolution dealt with the environmental aspects of minerals and metals.

The UNEA 6 resolution on environmental aspects of minerals and metals (UNEP/OECPR.6/L.15) marks another step in global efforts towards sustainable resource management, emphasizing the importance of the sustainable management of mineral and metal resources in contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. It underscores the need for enhanced action to support environmentally sustainable practices in the mineral and metal industry.

Action Points

The resolution calls upon Member States and relevant stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to align mineral and metal management practices with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and relevant international obligations. It further requests the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to:

  • Establish a digital knowledge hub to compile existing good practices and share information on the environmental aspects of minerals and metals.
  • Develop capacity-building opportunities, including virtual trainings, on environmental aspects of minerals and metals.
  • Support enhanced cooperation among Member States on policy, technological, technical, and scientific aspects to strengthen environmental management practices.

‘A welcomed step forward’

I applaud the collaborative spirit and efforts showcased throughout the extensive consultation process, which led to the development of the non-prescriptive proposals. Acknowledging the complexities and diverse perspectives involved, it is imperative that we uphold this energy and ambition to translate principles into tangible actions that contribute to a more resilient and sustainable future for all. The World Resources Forum, as leading global multi-stakeholder platform for sustainable resource use, commits to support the successful implementation of the Resolution and the broader international process” commented WRF President, Dr. Bruno Oberle.

WRF Program Director, Dr. Shahrzad Manoochehri, added: “The resolution represents a welcomed step forward in acknowledging the importance of sustainable minerals and metals management. The responsible sourcing and management of minerals and metals will be key to deliver a successful and fair transition to low-carbon economies. We must continue and enhance our efforts to find innovative solutions and prioritize sustainable practices throughout the entire life cycle of these resources

Background to the resolution

2019

IRP Report

The International Resource Panel (IRP) releases a report on Mineral Resource Governance, highlighting the need for coordinated and integrated governance structures in the management of mineral resources.

2019
2019

UNEA 4

Adopts resolution 4/19 on mineral resource governance, initiating actions to collect information on sustainable practices, identify knowledge gaps, explore implementation strategies and undertake an overview of existing assessment of different governance initiatives.

2019
July-September 2020

Global consultations

UNEP organises sub-regional, regional, and global consultations on extractive industry governance, to report back to UNEA 5.

July-September 2020
2022

UNEA 5

Adopts resolution 5/12, mandating UNEP to convene intergovernmental regional consultations to develop non-prescriptive proposals (NPPs) for the environmental sustainability of minerals and metals along their full life cycle, in line with the 2030 Agenda.

2022
April-July 2023

Regional consultations

Regional consultations held in five UNEP regions that developed 24 NPPs, grouped into three thematic groups: policies and tools; minerals and metals along the entire life cycle; and platforms for international cooperation.

April-July 2023
7-8 September 2023

GIMM

Global Intergovernmental Meeting on Minerals and Metals (GIMM) is held in Geneva, Switzerland, back-to-back with the World Resources Forum 2023. The Meeting discusses and refines the 24 NPPs developed during regional consultations. The Co-Chairs Summary summarises main discussion points and provides an overview of the 24 NPPs for consideration at UNEA-6.

7-8 September 2023
2024

UNEA 6

Adopts resolution on environmental aspects of minerals and metals, recognizing the significance of sustainable management practices and outlining action points for Member States and stakeholders.

2024

About UNEA 6

As the world’s top decision-making body on the environment, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) aims to ‘help restore harmony between humanity and nature, improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people’. UNEA 6 focused on how multilateralism can help tackle the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. Backed by strong science, political resolve and engagement with society, the Assembly was an opportunity for world governments, civil society groups, and the scientific community and the private sector to shape the global environmental policy.

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