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UNEP and Global Mercury Partnership Convenes Global Forum on Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining

December 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), together with the Global Mercury Partnership, convened the Global Forum on Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (AGSM) from 7-9 December 2010, in Manila, the Philippines.

Attended by approximately 100 participants from 17 national governments, as well as representatives from intergovernmental organizations and nongovernmental organizations, the Forum explored policy, legal, technical and financial considerations of AGSM. The Forum paid particular attention to the ongoing intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) process to develop a legally binding instrument to address mercury, and the implications for the ASGM sector.

Key messages from the Global Forum included: AGSM is recognized as a complex global development presenting challenges and opportunities globally and is linked to broader social and environmental issues with external costs to society; the ASGM community can take concrete steps to reduce the mercury demand in the long and short term, including technical options for seeking mercury use and release reductions, as well as non-mercury technologies; and lack of access to formal credit markets due to the informal nature of their practice makes financing a challenge for miners. [IISD RS Sources]