01 Nov Marc Goichot
Marc Goichot is a geographer specialised in the management of large rivers with a specific interest in sediments management and fluvial geomorphology. Marc currently leads WWF’s Water Initiative in the Greater Mekong. He was recently involved in assessments of the impacts of sand mining in the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers.
The world has been slow to recognize the potential and cumulative impact of unsustainable and illegal sand mining on rivers. With vast amounts of sand being extracted to meet soaring demands from the construction industry for concrete and land reclamation, particularly in Asia, it is critical to highlight the potential threats to the world’s rivers and advance solutions to ensure that countries promote sustainable sand mining for the benefit of people, economies and ecosystems.
To promote greater understanding, WWF commissioned a global review of the current and potential impacts of sand mining on rivers – such as riverbank collapse, deepening of river beds, sinking deltas and coastal erosion as well as biodiversity loss, especially when coupled with the impacts of dams and climate change – and the ecosystem services they provide. The report also looked into how sand could be sustainably supplied to meet development needs without wrecking rivers and the livelihoods of millions. The report was based on both a Quick Scoping Review of the relevant scientific literature and a web-based literature review that included media articles, government reports and websites.
This session will share the main findings of WWF’s review – including the urgent need to raise public awareness about the impacts of sand mining, develop alternatives and economic incentives to reduce the construction industry’s dependence on river-sourced aggregates, and ensure sustainable extraction – as well as experiences from a number of large sand mining-impacted river basins. It will also highlight the benefits of sustainable sand mining for rivers and the communities, companies and countries that depend on them. Finally, the event will help to generate a list of existing knowledge gaps and identify how these could be filled.