Readers note: From October 31 to November 2, 2023, Artisanal Gold Council(AGC) staff from Canada, Burkina Faso, Mongolia, and The Philippines attended the Fifth Annual Conference of the Parties to the Minimata Convention. Below is part 3 of 4 in a series of reflections from the conference.
Khishgee Dondov is the Field Coordinator and Community Relations Manager for the Global Environmental Facility-funded planetGOLD Mongolia project, executed by Artisanal Gold Council.
Question (Q): What was your main takeaway from COP5?
Khishgee Dondov (KD): The COP5 is unique in that it coincides with the eighth year since Mongolia ratified the Minamata Convention and the fifth year since the planetGOLD Mongolia Project was started and executed by the AGC. In other words, it is a time you can touch and review the project achievements; a time when the government can evaluate the progress of their obligations under the convention. It was my first time attending such a high-level conference, so there was a lot to learn from the discussions and activities related to artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), as well as to compare our own experiences in other countries.
(Q): What can AGC do to continue furthering the goals of the Minamata Convention?
(KD): AGC’s role in the next step could be in a formalization of ASGM supply chain or technology transfer based on organizational expertise and experiences. This should be recognized and not limited to a few countries.
(Q): Are we making progress? What are the successes and opportunities for growth for the international community (in your respective countries) to meet Minamata’s goals?
(KD): I participated in this COP with government representatives from Mongolia and it was an opportunity for me to present the project at the international level on the ground. The project’s activities and outcomes are like a freshwater river tributary to the global mercury elimination goal. Hearing satisfactory impressions about the project result and AGC by government officials gave me a feeling of encouragement.
(Q): What can you and your team do to advance progress towards Minamata Convention goals?
(KD): The COP-5 highlighted the importance of relevant stakeholder engagement in reducing and eliminating mercury use in ASGM and implementing National Action Plans (NAPs). AGC is the executing agency of the planetGOLD Mongolia Project and the organization, and its project teams, have built and maintained good relationships with the government and civic society organizations (CSOs) stakeholders in Mongolia.
Therefore, during the remaining period of the project, we should intend to reinforce this success, handover the knowledge and technologies created in the framework of formalization and professionalization of ASGM to the national stakeholders, encourage their ownership of responsibilities, ensure the sustainability of the project, and accessibility of the benefits for artisanal and small-scale miners.
(Q): How is AGC different from other organizations doing the same work, or similar, and how can we leverage our unique place in the international community?
(KD): The projects carried out in different countries by AGC brought unique experiences, lessons learned and new knowledge, which are very valuable for mining communities and national governments. In my opinion, I think that if AGC continues to focus on how it excels in ore processing technology and supply chain formalization in ASGM, it would create an advantage at the international level.