Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
1.28 From research to impact on people – how can geosciences be applied in development cooperation?
Monday, 04/Sept/2023:
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Session Chair: Manuel Hublitz, BGR
Location: Hall D (HFB)


3:45pm - 4:00pm
Topics: 1.28 From research to impact on people – how can geosciences be applied in development cooperation?

A Collaborative Approach to Sustainable Mining Governance in the Andes: Insights from BGR's MinSus Project

Achim Constantin, Jacob Mai

BGR, Germany

The Andean region possess a wealth of mineral resources, such as copper and lithium, which are increasingly in demand by various industries and sectors, including renewable energy, electronics, and transportation. The mining industry has the potential to contribute significantly to its growth and social development, desirably in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN Agenda 2030. At the same time, the sector also creates complex socio-economic and environmental challenges in the region.
In this context, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has commissioned the Federal Institute for Geoscience and Natural Resources (BGR) to carry out the MinSus project in cooperation with its regional counterpart, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The presentation will showcase how the MinSus project has promoted responsible and sustainable mining in the Andean countries over the past seven years, highlighting how the project has worked through building capacity for sustainable mining practices, improving governance frameworks, and fostering partnerships between stakeholders.
The presentation will also feature examples of dealing with abandoned mining sites. It will be illustrated how the investigation of these sites with regard to environmental and health hazards can be carried out, as well as how the potential for tailings reprocessing can be determined (“secondary mining”), demonstrating concrete approaches and applied geoscientific methodologies to managing mining legacies in a responsible and sustainable way.

4:00pm - 4:15pm
Topics: 1.28 From research to impact on people – how can geosciences be applied in development cooperation?

Well measured environmental interventions

Franziska Wende, Tim Gottschlag

Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany

For 60 years, Germany’s National Metrology Institute Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) has been promoting the improvement of metrology systems and quality infrastructure within its partner countries in the Global South. Metrology and quality infrastructure are fundamental for the reliable measurement of all environmental parameters. Thus, geoscientific research heavily relies on them as a basis for comparable and accurate data.

Quality infrastructure includes metrology, standardization, testing, quality management, certification, and accreditation. PTB endeavours to strengthen all these components in its technical cooperation projects. For example, PTB works with its partner institutions in the Global South on the adaptation and development of environmental standards. These include, among others, standards concerning soil and water quality. Furthermore, PTB supports the process of accreditation of analytical test laboratories to increase credibility of environmental data on water, air, and soil.
All environmental data relies on the conformity of units. Accredited laboratories need to proof the traceability of their measurements up to the highest metrological authorities. PTB therefore strengthens National Metrology Institutes in its partner countries with regards to environmental services.

In the presentation, the components of quality infrastructure and their importance for geosciences will be introduced. Highlights from PTB projects in India and Guatemala will showcase success stories of improved quality infrastructure in the context of international cooperation for geoscientific applications.

4:15pm - 4:30pm
Topics: 1.28 From research to impact on people – how can geosciences be applied in development cooperation?

Chances and challenges of digitization in the mineral resources management in developing countries, examples from Mongolia

Thekla Abel1, Otgonbaatar Altanbasan2, Batbayar Jargalsaikhan2, Thomas Spehs3

1BGR, Germany; 2German-Mongolian Cooperation Project "Advisory Services for Sustainable Mineral Resources in Mongolia"; 3Spehs GbR

Mongolia is a sparsely populated, resource-rich country with a wide range of different mineral deposits and mining activities in size and quality of operation, distributed over a vast area of the territory. The wealth of mineral resources already being mined or developed for future exploitation, provide the country with a huge opportunity for its economic progress but also present challenges for a sustainable and effective state management of the mining sector.

Since the political change in Germany and Mongolia in the 1990s, the BGR (Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources) has carried out various projects within the framework of the German-Mongolian development cooperation, together with different Mongolian government institutions responsible for the mineral resources sector. To support a transparent and efficient governance of a responsible and sustainable mining sector, the BGR-projects focused mainly on capacity development and elaboration of professional information and data at the geology and mining authorities. In recent years, the focus has been increasingly on supporting digital transformation processes in connection with more efficient mining inspection and supervision works, digital mining cadastre, the digital management of geological maps, as well as enhancing the digital data exchange between institutions. These digital instruments support a more transparent and efficient state management of the mining sector and, during the Covid-pandemic, enabled the continuation of administrative processes (licensing, permits, reporting). Yet, the continuous need for further refinement and maintenance of these digital systems presents a challenge for human and financial capacities of state authorities in developing countries

4:30pm - 4:45pm
Topics: 1.28 From research to impact on people – how can geosciences be applied in development cooperation?


Elisa Gabriela Pineda Mejia1, Miguel Angel Garcia Wiliams1, Cindy Posas2


Honduras, located in Central America at the convergence of the North American tectonic plate with the Caribbean plate in the northwestern part and the Cocos plate with the Caribbean plate in the southern part, has geothermal potential not only related to power production but also for direct use application. A special strategic approach in the Central America is the geoscientific exploration of the over 1500 hot springs in the region. Only in Honduras, there are over 200 hot springs identified, from which over 40% have a superficial temperature of over 50°C and over 10% have temperatures of even more then 80°C.

This abstract presents the case of geochemical investigation in in Namasigüe and El Triunfo districts, located near the border to Nicaragua, in order to proceed in the identification of a deep geothermal reservoir but also identify the opportunity to delineate the potential of geothermal direct use for the community. Important elements of the geoscientific exploration in this socially conflictive area is the preparation of geoscientific information to raise awareness regarding the thermal waters among the local community but also to enhance the acceptance for the geothermal exploration taken out by the National Electric Power Company (ENEE).

The activities are part of Yacimientos II project, implemented by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) from Germany and are supported by the National Secretary of Energy (SEN), who has an operative involvement with local communication concepts to prepare geoscientific findings for the community.

4:45pm - 5:00pm
Topics: 1.28 From research to impact on people – how can geosciences be applied in development cooperation?

Protection of a shallow karst aquifer in Zambia - Approach and challenges

Svenja Henrike Rau, Owen Micho, Douglas Lubaba, Pasca Mwila

Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, Germany

BGR and the Zambian government jointly develop and protect the groundwater resources in the country’s capital Lusaka. As one of the fastest growing cities in southern Africa, Lusaka has been facing a sharp increase in the demand for water in recent years.

Sustainable abstraction of groundwater and the protection of the vulnerable karst aquifer supplying Lusaka are two key elements for future urban planning in the face of population growth, annual outbreaks of waterborne diseases and climate change. Geoscientific experts have to ensure that decisions are based on scientific results and technical recommendations and that the importance of protecting the natural resource is being communicated as a priority to the government, industries and society.

Potential new well fields were identified and one objective of the BGR project is the delineation of groundwater protection zones as a case study for Zambia. The development of statutory instruments to make groundwater protection an integral part of the Zambian law secures the resources for the future. The delineation of the zones is based on the approach from Botswana, as the various Western approaches cannot simply be transferred to southern Africa as soil structure, geology, climate and urban areas are often drastically different.

Protecting a karst aquifer with a thin soil cover is scientifically challenging. The population growth and limited urban planning structures combined with insufficient data increase the risk of groundwater contamination in Lusaka. A high level of cooperation between geoscientists, decision-makers, environmental regulators and the society is required to face the various challenges.