Social progress in mining-dependent countries: Analysing the role of resource governance in delivering the UN SDGs
In 2018, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) released ‘Social Progress in Mining-Dependent Countries: Analysis through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’. The report examined trends across a broad set of established and widely accepted socio-economic indicators in countries with a sustained history of mineral dependence. This report updates and extends ICMM’s 2018 analysis to further explore how socio-economic development has progressed in those countries that are most dependent on mining, and the extent to which mineral resource governance has an influence on outcomes.
Based on 41 social metrics grouped under 12 relevant United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the report finds that across three quarters of these metrics, there has been significant progress made on socio-economic development. The biggest relative improvements were made in Bolivia, Botswana, Indonesia, Ghana, and Peru. Most mining-dependent countries continue to close the socio-economic performance gap with non-resource-dependent countries. This represents a counterpoint to the ‘resource curse’ – a widely held perception that mining is likely to impede the economic and social progress of host populations. However, governance matters. The research strongly suggests that the higher the quality of governance, the stronger the socio-economic progress observed. While many mining-dependent countries have invested time and effort in adopting clear and modern legislative frameworks, actual implementation is proving more challenging. Countries that are more peaceful, have lower levels of corruption, and a vocal and active civil society with sufficient civic space are better able to translate natural resources into social progress.