VOICES FOR THE AMAZON
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The recent planetGold conference brought together some of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners to discuss the most important issues connected to mining. The GEF-funded planetGOLD programme unites a wide range of stakeholders—including miner representatives, government officials, international agencies, policy and technical experts and members of the private sector—to share evidence, ideas, and lessons learned in global efforts to improve and professionalize the ASGM sector, and to work together towards a mercury-free future.

7:08:30 – Charlie Espinosa
7:16:15 – Jennis Warren

Among the attendees at the event held in the Philippines were Jennis Warren, Amazon Aid Strategist, and Charlie Espinosa, independent journalist and Amazon Aid Consultant, who spoke on the Forum’s final plenary panel about the vital role of communications in systems change. The panel, “Turning the Tide of Opinion on ASGM,” was moderated by Gabriela Flores, Communications Specialist and Senior Associate, International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED). Joining Warren and Espinosa on the panel were Bob Donofrio – Futura Jewelry Founder & CEO, David Alcantara – ASM Unit Head, Instituto Hondureño de Geología y Minas, Dawn Po Quimque – Communication Specialist, planetGOLD Philippines.

Warren discussed the integration of artists and filmmakers in raising awareness, and the Amazon Gold Working Group, a multistakeholder alliance Amazon Aid is convening to catalyze systemic change. For his part, Espinosa explained the critical role journalism plays in educating the public about gold mining, highlighting the need to tell the stories of disenfranchised miners and the role consumer demand plays in driving environmental and human rights harms. Other key topics included governmental strategies for local community engagement, how jewelry brands/consumers can positively contribute to responsible, mercury free ASGM, the creation the “Gold Talk” radio show and the monthly ASGM Champion series by planetGOLD Philippines, and more.

The conference sessions also explored critical issues in the ASGM sector, including technologies for mercury-free gold processing, opportunities to improve financial access for the ASGM sector, strategies to protect vulnerable people, the impacts of gold mining on biodiversity, and more.