The Environmental and Human Rights Impacts of Raw Material Extraction
January 30, 2024
14:00 to 15:30 (CET)

Following the Raw Material Week in November 2023 and the provisional agreement on the Critical Raw Material Regulation, Wetlands International Europe together with Both ENDS and the EU Raw Materials Coalition have organised a session seeking an open discussion on the environmental and human rights impacts of raw materials extraction, in and around vulnerable areas.

The High Andean wetlands in Latin America are extremely fragile ecosystems that reflect their complex and unique hydrological systems. They are highly productive, veritable oases of vital importance for biodiversity and the wellbeing of local communities. Due to lithium extraction, enormous quantities of water are being lost every year and underground freshwater reserves are in danger of salinisation by coming in contact with brine.

Our session explores this complex issue: the environmental and human rights impacts of raw materials extraction in vulnerable areas. It also considers potential solutions such as more representation of local communities in strategic partnerships and projects and supply chains free of wetland degradation and ecosystem conversion.

Session outline:

  • Welcoming and setting the scene: Moderator, Teresa Hoffmann, Senior Policy Advisor Raw Materials and Fair Trade, Brot für die Welt
  • Case study: Environmental impact of lithium extraction in the High Andes: Román Baigún, Programme Manager of Saving High Andean Wetlands for People and Nature, Wetlands International LAC
  • Case study: Human Impact of lithium extraction: Pia Marchegiani, Director of Environmental Policy – Deputy Executive Director, FARN
  • The CRMA implementation: Robin Roel, EU Raw Materials Coalition Coordinator, European Environmental Bureau
  • Reaction from EU: TBC
  • Q&A
  • Closing 
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