UNITAR NYO and the World Gold Council hold workshop on Gold and Sustainability

7 and 8 November, 2013, New York - Gold plays an important role in achieving sustainable socio-economic development in countries with gold reserves, with global demand and supply contributing to US$210 billion of global GDP.  The long-term appreciation of gold has allowed central bank reserves to grow alongside increasing demands of countries. Its deep liquidity has allowed these countries to raise money when most critically needed. In light of this, UNTAR NYO and the World Gold Council partnered together to hold a two-day seminar emphasizing the important role of gold as a source of development and a means of improving infrastructure and tax revenues.

Yvonne Lodico, Head of UNITAR New York, opened the discussion with remarks about the genesis of the Gold and Sustainability conference, and explained the nexus with sustainable development.Randall Oliphant,Chairman of the World Gold Council, discussed the importance of Gold and Sustainability and emphasized the highly positive impact of the collaboration between the World Gold Council and UNITAR in improving stakeholder communication and collaboration. 

His Excellency, Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, The Permanent Representative from South Africa to the United Nations commented on the importance of mining in boosting the global economy and maintaining a sustainable industry to the benefit of all stakeholders.  The Ambassador inferred that the sustainability of the gold mining industry is necessary for the growth of developing countries. This is particularly the case for those nations entitled to benefits under the IMF’s HIPC initiative, most of which depend on the industry for local employment and export revenue.  The Ambassador also noted gold’s unique diversification qualities when included in sovereign reserve portfolios.  

Seminar participants were then invited to engage in discussion with panellists on ways in which to improve the functioning capacity of the mining industry.  Managing Director Terry Heymann of the World Gold Council emphasized the industry’s direct contribution to global economic activity and the importance of maintaining and improving responsible resource management.

Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support at the United Nations, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, explored how responsible gold mining can support socio-economic development and explain links between gold and armed conflict.  Ms. Cheng-Hopkins elaborated on the curse of natural resources, whereby the existence of natural resources has been linked to civil conflict and widespread poverty.  She emphasised the importance of community outreach to ensure that nations which have recently discovered gold resources are aware of its highly positive impact on socio-economic development and the importance of developing mining techniques that are sustainable and in the interests of intergenerational equity.  Ms. Cheng-Hopkins also stressed the need for critical leadership and transparency in government.  On this note, Nkoloi Nkoloi, Deputy Permanent Representative of Botswana spoke of his country’s remarkable avoidance of the resource curse through good governance and accountability.  After all, the existence of a resource is not the curse; corruption within government hinders economic prosperity and social development.

On the second day of the seminar, Natalie Dempster, Managing Director in the Central Banks & Public Policy Programme with the World Gold Council led the discussion by focussing on the role of gold as a reserve asset.  Panellists and seminar participants discussed recent trends in central bank activity and put forward reasons for increasing central bank gold allocations.  The panel highlighted the fact that gold provides unique diversification benefits in a reserve portfolio and acts as a rescue currency maintaining stability regardless of stock market volatility.