This year, the International Development Conference will highlight the theoretical development studies and policy research that play a predominant role in shaping development projects. When concrete, tangible policies and projects are implemented, theory and practice often fail to coincide. Development solutions and initiatives, as well as daily livelihood decisions, executed by an array of actors - from large development players to individual households - affect the lives of citizens and underdeveloped areas throughout the world. As such, critical reflections on ongoing development efforts, common consumption decisions and ingrained aspects of the world economy highlight that, while considerable victories have been attained to achieve a more just, prosperous and equitable world, attempts at reforms and aids are not without their drawbacks. 

The controversy surrounding the involvement of religious aid organizations may politicize and undermine efforts to eliminate poverty and obtain relief. Attempts to regulate small scale gold mining, while environmentally necessary, may fail to address the dilemma of gold demand in shaping the persistence of artisans gold mining. Efforts to democratize and increase the transparency of the international trade regime may succeed in incorporating sustainability as a core principal of global commerce, but tedious institutional reform may not reflect the urgency of climate change. Alongside the IDC 2017’s thematic discussions, which will explore these and more concrete development efforts through a critical lens, the conference will also host a selection of Canadian NGOs, businesses, and student researchers to showcase the diversity and innovation of new ideas and efforts shaping the development sectors today. 


Sunday, February 12 • 13:30 - 15:30
All that Glitters: Gold Mining, Mercury Pollution, and ASGM Communities

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No other metal that has captured the attention of man more than gold. Throughout history gold has served as currency benchmarks, circuits in modern electronics, and symbols of enduring love. However, artisanal gold mining (AGM) represents a stark and present reminder of the cost for this precious metal. AGM actives heavily rely on the use of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, for gold extraction. International institutions, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions have stepped up to provide national and international organization, technical intervention, and scientific research into the ASGM sector. In spite of this, the impact of mercury exposure on the estimated 12-15 million artisanal gold miners and the full scope of global mercury pollution are still not fully understood. Together with a panel of artisanal gold mining experts, environmental and social NGO’s, and environmental health scientists, the IDC 2017 will discuss the current state of artisanal gold mining, the scope and impact of mercury pollution, and the effectiveness of technical and legal interventions in reforming artisanal gold mining practices.



For the past fifteen years, Jim has focused his attention on the identification and facilitation of sustainable human and environmental future. He has a broad background in ecology, sociology and economics, as well as a proficiency in computational procedures relating to, optimization... Read More →



The primary aim of her research program is to increase our understanding of the biogeochemical cycles that are important for life on Earth and how these cycles have evolved over time through the use of trace metal and stable isotope geochemistry. Besides the inherent importance of... Read More →


Jack Caravanos currently serves as both the Director of Research for Pure Earth/Blacksmith Institute and as an Associate Professor of Environmental Public Health at Hunter College. Carrying only a few hand-held machines in his backpack, he travels to remote areas of Zambia, Indonesia... Read More →


Adjunct Professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of TorontoDr. Angela Li-Muller specializes in environmental health and regulatory toxicology, evaluating the impact on human health from exposures to chemicals from air, water, or soil. Over the years... Read More →


Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto | Senior Fellow, Global Cities InstitutePeter is a results based management specialist as well as an environment and development specialist with over a decade of experience working for non-profit organizations in Canada and Southeast Asia... Read More →

Sunday February 12, 2017 13:30 - 15:30
MW 160

Attendees (2)