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SDG2: Zero hunger

With our strong focus on sustainable development there is great potential for ICMM to support the mining and metals industry in making an important and lasting contribution towards the UN’s global goals. We work with members and partners to catalyse lasting social and economic progress that supports an end to poverty, protects the planet and ensures prosperity for all.

SDG2 calls for an end to hunger, access to safe and nutritious food for all, and a doubling of agricultural productivity using sustainable and climate-resilient farming practices. 

Agriculture is the world’s largest employer and the main livelihood for poor rural households. It can generate decent incomes, provide nutritious food, and support people-centred rural development. However, soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity are being rapidly degraded, in part due to the conversion of land for agriculture. Climate change is putting even more pressure on these critical resources, increasing risks associated with disasters such as droughts and floods. Many rural people can no longer earn a living from their land, forcing them to migrate to cities in search of opportunities.

How is this relevant to mining and metals?

Where mining companies operate in traditionally agricultural areas, the impact of mining on water, land and biodiversity resources can be a concern to farmers and local communities and can become a potential source of social conflict. Mining companies may also operate in areas with chronic malnutrition, especially among children. Companies can manage their impacts on natural resources, through limiting the amount of land they use and enabling access by communities to lands they manage which may provide important sources of food. They can also collaborate with development agencies to help eliminate hunger, or to provide essential micronutrients for food supplements.

What companies need to know to manage impacts or make a positive contribution

  1. How mining activities may affect agricultural livelihoods.

  2. What interventions can be made to strengthen agricultural livelihoods, and identify alternative livelihoods where appropriate.

  3. How to support local hunger reduction efforts by working with local agencies to combat malnutrition.

Minimising negative impacts

Maximising positive contributions

  • Engage broadly with local communities to enable positive co-existence of mining and agricultural production.
  • Minimise land take and locate project infrastructure away from productive farmlands.
  • Monitor water quality and soil fertility on a regular basis to ensure adverse impacts are not occurring.
  • Manage water effectively in a way that doesn’t inhibit access for agriculture and improves security of supply for agriculture.
  • Invest in capacity building for local agricultural producers to optimise production according to international good practice and pursue post-closure agri-business opportunities.

  • Where local food production capacity allows, procure food and drink for operations from local producers rather than internationally.

  • Ensure infrastructure developments, such as water and means of accessing markets, help to strengthen local food production.

  • Support efforts led by development agencies to reduce malnutrition or provide essential micronutrients.