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Widespread impacts

p. 49-54

Texte intégral

1Widespread impacts occur when an impact observed locally spreads more widely to another territory or subject. The application of the approach to generating impacts from research outcomes that has been used in New Caledonia to mining operations in Morocco is an example of a widespread impact that is relevant to this report.

2In 2007, in view of the research and development (R&D) dynamics generated, Fabrice Colin contacted scientific partners, the government and local authorities to raise the idea of creating an “Island Ecosystems: knowledge, uses, management of natural and anthropogenic risks” competitiveness cluster (Document 20). In partnership with AFD, funding was obtained to carry out a feasibility study, which agreed on the capacity to create a competitiveness cluster, driven by the mining industry. The proposed model, revolving around mining activity but backed by R&D, consisted in using the knowledge generated to diversify the economy and help it become a sustainable economy. However, the mining operators did not support the proposal, considering the activities of the lead organisation in the cluster to be too far removed from their mining objectives in the strict sense of the term.

3However, the work carried out laid the foundations and IRD, remaining the lead institution, promoted it with its partners through several ideas that would subsequently come to fruition and consolidate the structuring of research and innovation throughout the territory.

Rapid growth of the Amedéé international network

4As mentioned previously, research strategies on the “Nickel, Environment and Societies” topic (organisation and programmes) have produced advanced knowledge in New Caledonia, which has become a research laboratory on a truly territorial scale.

5The idea of combining mining and environmental issues – linking the sectors rather than opposing them – was already a cornerstone of the CNRT’s feasibility study (1999). In fact, it was also one of the main underlying thrusts of the research conducted from 2000 to 2008, to the extent that such a generalisation can be made.

6In 2008, the IRD submitted a proposal to the UNC to create a Unesco Twin-Twin Chair on this issue entitled Amedéé (Mining, Environments, Development, Economics, Ethics). This project did not come to fruition.

7However, the reflections undertaken with the French Development Agency (AFD) on the competitiveness cluster, and a summary of the Research, Development and Innovation research carried out in New Caledonia (Colin, 2012)1, led to the idea of triggering a paradigm shift in primary mining activity towards a circular economy (no longer an oxymoron), based on the multidisciplinary knowledge generated by the research.

8Based on the results obtained in New Caledonia, a model was formalised, in which IRD’s historical partners in the Global South were invited to co-construct a network of research projects that would facilitate the sharing and development of the knowledge acquired, and the joint exploitation of materials – both sustainable (during the transitional period) and sustainable (in the long term) – in order to integrate mining activities into a more virtuous circle. In this way, mining becomes a generator of economic diversification, and the influence of mining projects extends beyond the narrow confines of their economic activities by promoting genuine projects for sustainable societies, provided that they are accepted and shared.

9Following six workshops (Morocco, Madagascar, Senegal, New Caledonia, France, Côte d’Ivoire) carried out between 2016 and 2017, with strong backing from IRD’s senior management and partners from countries in the Global South, in association with IRD’s participating joint research units and with the national partners who joined the initiative (BRGM, Cirad, INERIS, mining schools), the Amedéé network was created in December 2017, at a joint event to launch the “Regional Centre of Excellence for Mining and the Environment” at the INPHB in Yamoussoukro (ACE). (Document 21).

10The Amedéé digital platform was created in January 2018 (www.Amedéé-network.science).

11The international Amedéé network is the first collaborative platform developed by scientific partners from countries in the subtropical and inter-tropical zones and from France with the aim of promoting a new model of responsible and virtuous mining activity through R&D.

Highland forest, Mount Panié, New Caledonia, a remarkable endemicity.


© IRD/V. Héquet

12Amedéé adopts a comprehensive approach covering mining and industrial issues in their entirety, from prospection through to the closure of mining sites. The platform informs the thinking on this model by bringing together research/action/training projects related to this activity, led by researchers and professors from the countries concerned, particularly in South America, the North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Pacific and South-East Asia. Research projects are multidisciplinary and multi-institutional, combining earth, bio and environmental geosciences, and human and social sciences. They rely on a partnership built on trust between operators.

13The overall objective of this platform is to promote – through research – sustainable and ethical mining activities, which are measured, accepted by populations, and conform to the general principles of circular economy within the overall framework of sustainable development goals. By sharing knowledge, seeking innovative solutions, and promoting a societal model that respects people and their environment, this platform supports a resolutely ecological and economic transition.

14The network’s governance is shared by the project leaders and the Amedéé representatives in each country concerned.

15The network is already involved in supporting the activities of centres of excellence in Africa, in the framework of World Bank calls for tenders. Together with the IRD Joint Research Units, it supports the development of IRD resources in the South (JEAI and LMI), which will subsequently inform the partnership-based research carried out.

Impact pathway on Mining Activity in New Caledonia


Notes de bas de page

1 Colin F., 2012 – Recherche et développement en Nouvelle-Calédonie : équilibres, déséquilibres et équilibrages. Faberon J.Y. (dir.),Mennesson T. (dir.), 2012 – Peuple premier et cohésion sociale en Nouvelle-Calédonie : identités et rééquilibrages. Aix-en-Provence, Presses universitaires d’Aix-Marseille : 287/306. (Droit d’outre-mer). ISBN 978-2-7314-0854-6

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