Yvonne Lodico, Head of UNITAR New York, opened the seminar with comments on the genesis of the Gold and sustainability conference and the unique collaboration between the World Gold Council and UNITAR. World Gold Council Chairman Randall Oliphant highlighted the importance of the topic of gold and sustainability to operators in the gold mining industry.
He then opened up the floor to the keynote address from his Excellency, Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, the permanent representative from South Africa to the United Nations. Ambassador Mamabolo commented on the importance of mining to the global economy and highlighted the opportunities and challenges in maintaining a sustainable industry which fairly benefits all stakeholders. The Ambassador suggested that a thriving, sustainable gold mining industry is especially important to developing countries, notably those eligible for benefits under the IMF's HIPC Initiative, many of which depend on the industry for local employment and export earnings. The Ambassador also noted gold's unique diversification qualities when included in sovereign reserve portfolios.
A series of lively panel discussions followed in which panellists and seminar participants exchanged experiences and shared ideas for improving industry function. The discussions on Day One focused on the industry's direct contribution to global economic activity and the importance of maintaining and improving policies related to responsible resource management.
Day Two was focused on gold's role as a reserve asset. Panellists and seminar participants discussed recent trends in central bank activity and reiterated the compelling case for increasing central bank gold allocations, as gold provides unique diversification benefits in a reserve portfolio.