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Sustainable Development Strategy
Moving Forward

Canada is globally recognized as a responsible steward of our natural resources and is a leader in advancing sustainable development internationally.

It is evident that Canada cannot achieve its sustainable development goals in isolation. If Canadians want to enjoy the benefits of a robust economy, clean environment, healthy communities, and peace and security, then it is in our interest to work towards ensuring that the rest of the world is also more prosperous, secure, equitable, and enjoys a clean environment. Helping to establish knowledge and capacity to support international sustainable development is also an opportunity to demonstrate Canada’s stewardship and innovation excellence, potentially improving Canada’s competitiveness in international markets.

NRCan’s commitment to the sustainable development of Canada’s natural resources includes optimizing social and economic benefits for Canadians. Therefore, NRCan is dedicated to maintaining or improving international market access for the products of Canada’s natural resource sectors. The Department works with industry to address international trade barriers by improving and demonstrating sustainable development in Canada. This work goes hand in hand with contributing to establishing a more equitable global community.

NRCan plays a role in the development of international standards, policies and agreements through its participation in sector-specific international organizations and fora. For example, the Canadian Forest Service participates in the Montréal Process working to develop and implement internationally agreed criteria and indicators for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. NRCan often works in cooperation with other federal departments to supply the Canadian contribution to international work concerned with sustainable development, such as the activities of Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group. The Department also takes part in bilateral and multilateral initiatives and activities aimed at supporting sustainable development of natural resources around the globe.

Through sharing knowledge and best practices, and engaging in applied projects NRCan assists developing nations in gaining the capacity to plan for and implement sustainable development, particularly in their natural resource sectors. For example, the Minerals and Metals Sector is active in transferring knowledge and technology for non-polluting mining operations and mine-site rehabilitation practices in the developing world. In addition, NRCan’s expertise in geoscience and geomatics is employed in support of priorities such as groundwater management, disaster management and mapping, hydrocarbon and mineral exploration, and assessing the potential impacts of climate change in developing countries and regions. The Department is participating in an increasing number of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-sponsored projects to assist developing nations in establishing sustainable infrastructure planning and resource development.

Canada advocates the effective engagement of developing countries in international trade and environmental agreements, and building social and environmental considerations into trade discussions and agreements. NRCan contributes to this policy direction through its work on international policy development governing trade of natural resources products. For example, the Kimberley Process, a recent focus for the Minerals and Metals Sector, is helping to ensure that global trade in diamonds does not support devastating conflicts in several African nations, while also ensuring markets for the sale of Canadian diamonds.

NRCan’s expertise supports Canada’s foreign policy objectives and makes a significant contribution to sustainable development internationally. The Department’s leadership in energy research and development, earth sciences, forestry, and minerals and metals has helped to create an international demand for Canadian knowledge and experience. NRCan can act as a catalyst in promoting Canada’s knowledge and experience, creating opportunities for Canadian industry to participate in projects around the globe advancing sustainable development. New international collaborations may in turn spur Canadian innovation in the natural resources sectors and earth sciences.


Icon: Policy and GovernanceIcon: Best Practices and Models

3.1 Address issues related to resource access within Canada, and international market access issues concerning Canadian natural resource products and producers

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3.2 Forge partnerships for advancing the contributions of natural resource sectors to sustainable development internationally

Icon: Best Practices and Models

3.3 Promote best practices for sustainable development abroad

Approach Target Anticipated outcome

There are a number of information gaps that the wood industry must address to expand Canada’s offshore markets. These include the need for a better understanding of the housing segment in offshore markets and the potential for wood frame construction housing systems; the need for a better understanding of domestically produced products versus competitiveness of offshore suppliers; the need to improve analytical capacity to assess opportunities in offshore markets; and the creation of export market development strategies for each principal market, based on an in-depth knowledge of each market.

Creating export demand for Canadian wood products will improve the standard of living for forest-related communities, including the many rural communities across Canada dependent on the wood industry for their livelihood.

Acting as a catalyst, the Canada Wood program aims to spur industry to expand their marketing activities in offshore markets, to brand Canada as a preferred and dependable supplier of environmentally friendly, quality wood products. Canada Wood will build on and strengthen the wood sector’s core competencies in market development, branding and technical capabilities.

Canada Wood will create offshore market opportunities for Canadian wood product manufacturers, in response to an increased global wood supply, a series of trade disputes in the U.S. and intense competition from wood product suppliers in emerging producing regions. There are three elements to the program – overseas office representation, branding and promotional activities, and technical assistance (codes and standards, wood frame construction training, etc.).

By 2005, provide training in wood frame housing systems in China.

By 2007, provide training in wood frame housing systems in Taiwan and Korea.

By 2007, establish three additional offshore offices or representatives to provide a base for Canadian products to be showcased and marketed.

Greater knowledge and acceptance of Canadian wood products and our wood frame construction system to increase demand for our wood products.

Increased opportunities for export growth, thus ensuring sustainable prosperity in the wood products sector.

Sustained employment in Canada’s rural communities.

Energy security and reliability, including the availability of energy from clean sources, are international challenges. There is a growing global marketplace for technologies that address energy needs while mitigating the environmental impacts of energy production, conversion, distribution and use. For its voice to be heard and influence felt on the world stage, as well as to promote its energy technologies globally, Canada must participate in international energy S&T activities and use them to leverage market opportunities for Canadian energy technologies.

NRCan will undertake bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the areas of science and technology with international orgnanizations such as the International Energy Agency, Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, International Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy, and the North American Energy Working Group.

NRCan will assist Canadian companies undertaking feasibility studies for international technology-transfer projects.

NRCan will also undertake trade promotion and facilitation activities in collaboration with Industry Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Environment Canada.

By 2006, increase international market opportunities for Canadian technologies.

Increased international uptake of Canadian technologies, energy products and knowledge.

New technology alternatives to conventional resource use.

Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Canada’s recycling industry will promote the wise use of Canada’s valuable resources, divert waste from landfill, provide well- paying jobs to regional/rural communities, and strengthen Canadian companies competitiveness internationally.

Canada’s recycling industry is constrained by Canadian regulations that impede their access to recyclable materials.

NRCan will implement Canada’s Mineral and Metals Policy to regulate recyclable materials based upon the risk they present to human health and the environment.

NRCan will work with Canada’s recycling industry, all provinces and territories, Environment Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. This action is consistent with advancing Canada’s international policy on regulatory reform.

By 2004, amend Canada’s Export and Import of Hazardous Waste Regulations to facilitate international access to recyclable materials.

Improved access to essential recyclable resources, while the environment is protected.

Improved ability to recycle domestically generated materials making Canada more self-sufficient.

Canada is showcased as an international leader in the wise and efficient use of natural resource materials.

Maintained employment and critical industry contributing to the economy and quality of life in rural and remote regions.

Canadian mining companies are responsible for almost $50 billion worth of accumulated investment outside of Canada, in addition to their investments across Canada. The Canadian government wishes to maximize the benefits to Canadians of this global world-class sector and its allied industries.

There is a need to reach out to major foreign and domestic mining companies who have an interest and ability to invest in new projects in Canada; foreign governments and Canadian companies with operations abroad; Canadian and international mining companies with global operations and companies from Canada’s industries allied to mining.

NRCan will communicate the positive aspects of the Canadian investment climate to corporate decision-makers in Canada and abroad, for the purpose of maximizing investment in Canada. NRCan will also respond to requests from foreign governments or Canadian companies abroad to become involved in explaining measures to establish a ‘level playing field’ for mineral investment, for the benefit of the host country and also for Canadian companies operating worldwide.

This will be done by ensuring that Canadian mineral-related investments abroad are given national treatment (protection of Canadian interests); promoting the use of Canadian mining equipment and services; and encouraging greater cooperation between Canadian mining companies with operations abroad and international Canadian mining equipment and service providers.

By 2004, meet with delegations from foreign governments interested in studying and assessing Canada’s administration of its mineral resources, and how to establish a competitive investment climate in Canada as a stable source of supply of minerals and metals and/or as a centre of expertise in all phases of minerals and metals activity.

By 2004, meet with a number of foreign governments to communicate the positive aspects of the Canadian investment climate.

By 2007, work towards the completion of a major investment in Canada by Korea and/or China.

Better awareness of Canadian investment opportunities on the part of both foreign and domestic investors, and foreign governments, leading to increased investment in Canada.

Resolution of investment protection issues negatively impacting Canadian investments abroad (regarding outward investment from Canada).

Greater use of Canadian mining-related equipment and services by the global mining community.

Base- and precious-metal reserves are at historic lows and threaten the sustainability of metal mining in Canada and the downstream industries that rely on a secure domestic supply of these metals.

There is a need to evaluate exploration incentives to replace declining metal reserves.

NRCan will work with the Intergovernmental Mineral Taxation Working Group, industry, associations, Finance Canada and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency to evaluate the merits of an extension for the federal 15% tax credit for exploration, and to evaluate the industry’s request to have community consultation (particularly with Aboriginal groups and baseline environmental studies) included in Canadian Exploration Expenses, which are eligible for fast write-offs.

By 2004, provide Canada’s Mines Ministers with analysis and recommendations of the intergovernmental mineral tax working group on exploration incentives.

Investment attracted for exploration and mine development in Canada sufficient to replace depleting metal reserves.

The northern communities that depend on mining are sustained, and an appropriate level of community and Aboriginal consultation and baseline environmental studies are undertaken before new projects are initiated.

The continuing ability of Canada’s base metals smelters and refineries to contribute to sustainable development depends on various cost factors associated with the geographic origin of smelter feed supplemented by recycling. These, in turn, are affected by the level of mineral development in Canada and the regulatory regime which defines waste. The economic consequences of these factors need to be more fully understood.

Address these informational needs by providing an assessment of the economic challenges facing Canada’s base metals smelting industry with a view to suggesting strategies which will maximize their contribution to sustainable development and the well-being of Canadians. On the environmental front, the future viability of Canada’s base metals smelters is closely tied to the Canadian mineral production, access to recyclables, and implementation of competitive environmental improvements.

By 2004, produce recommendations for federal action on how to address challenges faced by Canada’s base metals smelters and refineries.

Identification of priorities for action in areas affecting Canada’s smelters which will strengthen sustainable development in the base metals sector.


Action 3.2: Forge partnerships for advancing the contributions of natural resource sectors to sustainable development internationally
Issue Approach Target Anticipated outcome

Currently, national governments with an interest in advancing sustainable mineral development lack a functioning global venue to discuss issues of mutual concern, hindering their influence in global intergovernmental policy discussions.

National governments with responsibility for mining, minerals and metals will share experiences and information, provide mutually supportive advice and make recommendations on minerals and metals issues to intergovernmental fora on ways to enhance the contribution of mining to sustainable development.

Critical issues that merit international discussion include: governance and capacity building; social/ communities concerns; socio-economic matters; and environment and product stewardship.

Canada and South Africa initiated the Global Dialogue as a Type II Partnership at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Support now includes some 40 countries from all regions of the world.

By 2004, launch Intergovernmental Forum in partnership with the Government of South Africa.

Increased international recognition that mining, minerals and metals are essential for modern living.

Increased recognition that mining can contribute to sustainable development by strengthening the economic base of national governments, enabling them to meet their environmental and social aspirations.

Increased Canadian influence internationally on policy development for mining, minerals and metals.

Canada is participating in the multilateral research and development (R&D) initiative under the Generation IV International Forum, in close cooperation with nuclear research and government entitites in Canada and abroad, such as Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and the United States Department of Energy.

Canada will continue to demonstrate leadership in R&D related to advanced reactor concepts and related energy applications, including the development of the necessary mechanisms and funding, to support Canada’s energy-related R&D efforts.

By 2005, put in place a model for Canadian participation among government, industry and academia in the Generation IV program.

Canada remains at the forefront of advanced and innovative nuclear technology development.

Commitment in its efforts to ensure a sustainable, safe, secure, economical, environmentally sound and proliferation- resistant nuclear energy option.


Action 3.3: Promote best practices for sustainable development abroad
Issue Approach Target Anticipated outcome

Developing countries require information about their geography, environment and natural resource base in order to promote sound decision-making on issues related to sustainable development. This information can often be effectively and efficiently delivered by the Canadian earth science industry.

Contribute to Canada’s foreign policy objectives by promoting opportunities for Canadians earth science industries, particularly through participation in externally funded international development projects related to specific application areas in which earth sciences can make a significant contribution to sustainable development.

By 2005, transfer Canadian technologies and know-how in specific application areas relating to earth sciences to support sound decision-making with respect to sustainable development in developing countries.

Raised awareness of Canadian values internationally through visibility of Canadian excellence in the area of earth sciences for sustainable development and international development.

India currently produces about 90 MT of cement annually (about eight to nine times that of Canada), resulting in the emission of over 80 MT of carbon dioxide annually. India produces 100 MT/year of fly ash per year, and production is expected to double within 10 years. Without the introduction of new technologies and practices to use larger proportions of fly ash in concrete, the production of ordinary portland cement would translate into a significant increase of carbon dioxide emissions.

The increased use of supplementary cementing materials as cement replacement in concrete will decrease carbon dioxide emissions for every cubic metre of concrete produced; less fly ash will go to landfills; fly ash concrete can be cheaper than conventional concrete and will be more durable, thus reducing long-term maintenance.

NRCan will strengthen India’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable development, and will work to enhance the capacity and willingness of key stakeholders to effectively use NRCan-developed technology for concrete construction. This will be carried out through an implementation program for High Volume Fly Ash in Concrete (HVFAC) technology, including demonstration projects, transfer of technology activities, and networking with standards and specifying bodies and organizations.

This is a CIDA-funded initiative with partners in India.

By 2004, develop project Web site.

By 2005, complete four demonstrations projects of HVFAC technology in India.

By 2005, complete one series of transfer of technology seminars in large cities in India.

By 2004, conduct three training sessions of Indian engineers in Ottawa.

By 2005, conduct six training programs on HVFAC technology in India.

By 2005, issue technical information (reports, publications) on fly ash and HVFAC in India.

By 2005, resolve technical issues dealing with the use of HVFAC in the Indian context.

Global greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 5 to 10 MT/year.

Increased awareness by Indian industry, government authorities and specifying agencies of benefits of using HVFAC for sustainable development.

Numerous large projects planned or implemented in India using HVFAC.


SD Success Story

Curbing trade in conflict diamonds:
The Kimberley Process

During the twentieth century, diamonds became known the world over as a symbol of love and eternal devotion. But in the 1990s a darker side of the international trade in diamonds gained the world’s attention. Funnelled through secretive networks, some of these precious gems were carrying a huge cost in human suffering.

In the underground world of black markets and money laundering, diamonds are more than commodities: they are a form of currency—in some cases the preferred way to move value around. Diamonds have been used to back international loans, pay debts, pay bribes, and buy arms, and there have been accusations of their use in funding international terrorism.

But the issue that captured the world’s attention was the link between the illicit international trade in rough diamonds and armed conflict, particularly in some African countries. While these ‘conflict diamonds’ only ever constituted a very small percentage of the international trade in rough diamonds, they have had a devastating impact on peace, security and sustainable development in affected countries. Conflict diamonds are rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.

Consumer awareness of the connection between trade in conflict diamonds and gross human rights violations in affected areas was leading to actions which could have endangered the entire diamond trade, including the emerging diamond industry in Canada. The world needed to find a solution which could balance the need to stop conflict diamonds, while promoting diamonds that contribute to economic development.

Canada has played a leadership role in international efforts to end the trade in conflict diamonds. Within the United Nations (UN), Canada has been at the forefront of several initiatives to address this problem, including sanctions prohibiting the import of uncertified rough diamonds from certain countries. The UN General Assembly has adopted resolutions, co-sponsored by Canada, calling for the development of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds to tighten controls over the diamond trade and prevent conflict diamonds from entering legitimate markets.

The Kimberley Process brings together governments, the diamond industry and non-governmental organizations with the goal of curbing the trade in conflict diamonds through the development of such a scheme. The name comes from the city of Kimberley, South Africa, where the Process was launched in May 2000. It started out as a consultative process, later becoming a negotiating process which culminated in the adoption of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) in November 2002. It sets an international benchmark for national certification schemes to be implemented by each participant country through national legislation.

The simultaneous implementation of the KPCS—in Canada and some 43 other countries accounting for 98 percent of the global trade in and production of rough diamonds—began on January 1, 2003. In Canada, the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act (EIRDA) commits the Minister of Natural Resources to fulfill Canada’s obligations as a participant in the Kimberley Process, which has permitted Canadian diamond producers to continue exporting without interruption. Natural Resources Canada has put in place a mechanism to issue Canadian Kimberley Process Certificates. All shipments of rough diamonds imported to or exported from Canada are required to have a certificate. Trade in rough diamonds with countries that do not participate in the scheme is prohibited.

By effectively controlling the trade in rough diamonds through national certification schemes, the trade in diamonds will be more transparent and secure—consumers can have a reasonable degree of confidence that the diamonds they buy are clean. Monitoring and regular review will ensure that the effectiveness of the KPCS is maintained. This consistent and stable framework for trade in diamonds has significant benefits for all countries that have an interest in the diamond industry worldwide, especially for developing countries. But the main beneficiaries of the effective implementation of the Kimberley Process are the people of countries affected by rebel activity—rebels who will no longer be able to fund human rights abuses by trading in conflict diamonds.

Conflict diamonds do not represent the only occurrence of a link between the exploitation of natural resources and human rights abuses. Canada will continue to be a proponent of harnessing the social benefits of resource development around the world to secure greater equity.

Facts about the Canadian diamond industry:

  • Diamonds were discovered in the Northwest Territories in 1991.
  • Canada’s first diamond mine began operations in 1998.
  • Forecasts indicate that by 2003 Canada will rank third globally in terms of the value of annual diamond production—after Botswana and Russia.
  • By 2007, there could be four mines open in the N.W.T. and western Nunavut. Annual production from diamond mines could soon reach $1.6 billion, and they are expected to generate about 1600 direct jobs.
  • Advanced diamond exploration is pointing to the prospect of additional mines in the N.W.T., Nunavut, and Ontario and exploration is also under way in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • A small diamond cutting and polishing industry is centred in Yellowknife and in the Gaspé region of Quebec.
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