It's time for the launch of the PWYP Olympic blog series!

July 27, 2021 - 14:10

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So it turns out the PWYP International office has been gripped by Olympic Fever and temperatures are running high - literally and emotionally. Perhaps it was inevitable, surrounded as we are (based in London) by Olympic articles, stickers, advertisements and Wenlocks and Mandevilles.

Olympic overload notwithstanding, who doesn’t like the Games? For all the tube delays and sponsorship controversy they’re a moving demonstration of humanity at its height. The feats show you what humanity is capable of when we push ourselves to the very limit. The telling and retelling of Olympic episodes – from Eric “the Eel” to ‘my own’ Fannie Blankers-Koen – have given us characters and stories to celebrate, whether they exhibit persistence, determination or the overcoming of odds.

We see parallels in the work pursued by our members. Granted, while none of them have (to our knowledge) smashed 100m world records with their shoelaces untied, many of them have effected very real change in very difficult conditions. And when it comes to good stories (and underdogs) we’ve got plenty to talk about!

Just as there is a global community united around sport, there is an (albeit slightly smaller) global community united around extractive transparency. (A community which will gather for its very own international event in September). The Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect are ones we strive to emulate within our large coalition in the ways we interact with each other.

All these parallels aside it would be remiss of us not to use the Olympics to draw attention to some of our issues and highlight work done in various regions. Not only is this a fantastic opportunity to gather stories from areas that don’t always get a lot of press – such as Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic – but it is a fun way to draw PWYP members together and share experiences.

And when we realised that the medals corresponded (almost) exactly with some of the very resources our members work on, we knew we couldn’t let this chance slip away. That’s why, for the next couple of weeks, when a country that is rich in gold, silver or copper wins the equivalent medal (we’re cheating a bit and using copper to represent bronze) we’ll post a blog on the mining of that resource. We’re also including countries that are home to famous gold, silver and copper companies and blogging about those too. As on the Olympic flag, we will seek to represent a story from each of the continents.

Unfortunately, at this stage we’re only having one blog per medal/metal per country – we didn’t have the time to gather quite that many blogs.

We hope you’ll enjoy the blogs – they’ll reflect many different angles about resource extraction around the world and give you a flavour of some of the work our members do at the national level.

And if any of the countries we’ve blogged about don’t win a medal? Well, we’ll simply post these after the Olympics. After all, they do say that “it’s not the winning that matters, it’s the taking part”.

Marinke van Riet is PWYP's International Director

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