Artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM)

Formalization Handbook

UNITAR, in collaboration with the UN Environment Global Mercury Partnership and a group of national and international experts, has developed the Handbook for Developing National ASGM Formalization Strategies within National Action Plans. The Formalization Handbook provides a comprehensive introduction to ASGM formalization, including key concepts, best practices, and a human rights-based approach. This is followed by step-by-step suggestions for creating an enabling environment for ASGM formalization and developing a national strategy for formalizing the ASGM sector. The various issues and approaches are illustrated with case studies from developing countries.

The Formalization Handbook can be found here.

The Formalization Handbook will be launched at the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (on 18 October 2018 in Geneva) and the Second meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (on 20 November 2018 in Geneva). UNITAR will use the Formalization Handbook to guide the technical support it is providing to countries developing NAPs.

Socio-Economic ASGM Research Methodology

UNITAR has developed a Socio-economic ASGM Research Methodology, which provides a suggested approach for collecting and analyzing socio-economic information about the ASGM sector. The purpose of the methodology is to enable countries that are developing National Action Plans (NAPs) to collect information that will enable them to get a nuanced understanding of the local dynamics of the sector. This can help countries to inform key elements of the NAP, such as strategies for formalizing the ASGM sector, for managing gold and mercury trade, and for protecting and empowering women and children; and more generally, to inform the behavioural change that the NAPs envision to achieve.

The Socio-economic ASGM Research Methodology can be downloaded here.


UNITAR, under the Global Mercury Partnership has developed an electronic data collection application to facilitate understanding the local dynamic of the ASGM sector. This tool has 3 main functions:

  • Combine location data with basic site-specific information to build a map; 
  • Contextualize and manage the pictures taken at the mining site; and 
  • Manage data collection from distance and share the progress with key stakeholders. 

The user guide can be found on the here.