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Good morning, this is Paula. A week-long focus on the sourcing of metals and minerals got off to a start in Geneva at the World Resources Forum, where panellists argued that the centuries-old resource curse was far from over and that the green energy transition may not be as green as many think.

But proof that they may not have to resign to such a bleak fate just yet, the UN launched its newest cool toy – an online platform to trace ships digging up sand from the sea. It is publicly available, and its creators hope it will spark a conversation about how to regulate the world’s second-most exploited resource.

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Paula Dupraz-Dobias


On our radar

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Miners working at the Shabara artisanal mine near Kolwezi, 12 October 2022. Some 20,000 people work at Shabara, in shifts of 5,000 at a time. (Keystone/AFP/Junior Kannah)

Calling a spade a spade amid the ‘green’ scramble for minerals. Calls to decolonise climate policy and humanise the green energy transition were made at the opening of the World Resources Forum on Monday, as participants discussed how climate talks often ignored the environmental and social impact of minerals and metals extraction and what needs to change.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Here's what else is happening

Reason for hope

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A screenshot of the Marine Sand Watch shows dredging activity in the North Atlantic Ocean (Sand Marine Watch)

UN using AI to track ships scooping up sand from the seas. Around six billion tonnes of sand are extracted from the bottom of the ocean and coastal areas every year, disrupting ecosystems and affecting communities nearby, according to data compiled by a new UN initiative launched in Geneva. The Marine Sand Watch has been trained with artificial intelligence to detect the movement patterns of dredging vessels, which it can track through the signals emitted by all ships for marine traffic purposes.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

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