Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Asia Pacific Coalition held a forum to sharpen advocacy work related to the issue of transitional minerals in the context of energy transition through online media Zoom, Thursday (2/12/2021). This activity is a continuation of the capacity-building workshop related to transitional minerals in the Asia Pacific, which is a collaboration between PWYP Indonesia, PWYP Australia, and PWYP India (30/09/2021). This activity aims to discuss initiatives, priorities, and advocacy opportunities at the national, regional, and global levels in 2022. It also supported PWYP in planning advocacy in line with position 4 in the Energy Transition1 on transformative governance of transition minerals.

PWYP Australia’s National Coordinator, Clancy Moore, facilitated the discussion. “The purpose of this PWYP Asia-Pacific coalition discussion is to share and build a joint advocacy strategy on the issue of energy transition and its relation to transition minerals that will be used in the energy transition process,” said Clancy in his opening remarks. Clancy guided the discussion by sharing some critical questions related to the energy transition. The questions include advocacy opportunities and goals in the national context in 2022; PWYP’s role in encouraging energy transition at the domestic, national and global levels; and activities that can be implemented in 2022.

Clancy explained advocacy opportunities in the context of energy transition in Australia and that the Australian government has recognized its potential role as a producer of energy transition minerals and wants to promote the country as an investment destination. Clancy also emphasized that if there is a new ‘mineral boom’ in transition minerals, there must be a solid push to implement environmental, social, governance, and human rights standards. “We also see that there is an opportunity with the government and business actors to formulate policies that pay attention to environmental, social, good governance, and human rights protection standards,” said Clancy.

Aryanto Nugroho, PWYP Indonesia’s National Coordinator, said that the topic of transitional minerals in Indonesia is still relatively new because most of the public debate still revolves around the energy transition in the coal, palm oil, and land use sectors. Aryanto also said that Indonesia is currently very interested in encouraging downstream industries and starting to restrict the export of raw commodities. “It is important to ensure good governance in the downstream industry. Governance, anti-corruption, gender, human rights, environmental and social aspects are aspects that must be encouraged,” he said. In addition, Indonesia is currently in the G20 presidency in 2022. This moment is an opportunity to mainstream discussions around corruption risks associated with transition minerals. “PWYP Indonesia and Transparency International Indonesia (TII) are part of the anti-corruption working group at the G20. The government wants to frame this discussion around corruption risks in the renewable energy sector. Still, there is a push to expand this discussion to cover transitional energy in general,” said Aryanto.

Saswati Swetlana, PWYP India Coordinator, emphasized that the energy transition process needs to ensure a fair and equitable supply chain of transition minerals. Saswati also noted that there will be new illegal mines if the governance of transitional minerals along the supply chain is still poor. “There needs to be a participatory reporting mechanism from the community for these potential illegal mineral mines,” said Saswati. Saswati hopes for joint research and advocacy on tracking transitional minerals along the supply chain.

The debate around energy transition minerals is at different stages of maturity across the Asia Pacific. In Australia, the government has recognized the country’s potential role as a producer and the opportunities for Australian companies to work at home and abroad. In Indonesia, India, and Myanmar, the transition minerals debate is at an early stage, with many stakeholders needing to be aware of the dynamics associated with energy transition minerals. This discussion highlighted an essential role for PWYP in promoting accountable and responsible practices in the mining and energy transition minerals value chains. PWYP coalitions need to push for good governance aspects to avoid the environmental, social, governance, and human rights impact associated with mining booms in the past.