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ARCHIVED - Sustainable Development

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Sustainable Development Strategy 2007- 2009

Achieving Results


Goal 2: To advance Canada’s position as a world leader in sustainable resource development and use

The sustainable development of natural resources cannot be achieved by one country acting alone—global understanding and international solutions are necessary. With a resource-intensive economy, the stakes are high for Canada. NRCan has been playing an increasingly active role at the international level. Promoting the sustainable development of natural resources is in the interest of Canadians and all global citizens. NRCan champions Canadian expertise in the sustainable development of natural resources, regionally and globally, to strategically position Canada in the emerging world community.

Canada’s wealth of experience and expertise—including our ability to use and develop natural resources responsibly, to mitigate potential impacts from resource development, and to develop technologies that increase economic and environmental performance—can benefit resource managers worldwide. NRCan demonstrates its leadership internationally by sharing its state-of-the-art knowledge and transferring technology to its global neighbours. 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 improving international market access for the products of Canada’s natural resource sectors.

Canada advocates the effective engagement of other 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 resource products. The priority objective for this strategy is to enhance Canada’s role as a competitive and responsible steward of natural resources. NRCan will be continuing work with international partners, including the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development. Enhancement of market opportunities for Canada’s natural resource sectors will be facilitated by expanding the Canada Wood and Value to Wood programs.

SD Success Story: A New Global Forum on Mining

Canada and South Africa are playing a leading role in the sustainable development of natural resources by advancing a new international mechanism on mining and metals. In a joint initiative, the two countries are promoting the creation of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development. The Forum evolved from a dialogue launched at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. The purpose of the Forum is to address a wide variety of issues facing the mining, minerals and metals sector, including the equitable distribution of the economic and social benefits from mining and environmental protection during mine closures and rehabilitation.

The Forum is hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Support is also being provided by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the World Bank, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. Canada, as represented by NRCan, provides the Forum’s secretariat. To date, 36 countries have joined the Forum.1

At the Forum’s inaugural meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 2005, the Assistant Deputy Minister, Minerals and Metals Sector, NRCan, was elected chair of the Forum. The Forum was opened by a personal message from Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and ended with the adoption of an action plan. The Secretary General said that "the establishment of the Forum is a significant step towards maximizing the contribution of the minerals sector to sustainable development." He concluded that the Forum can "help governments develop their capability to improve governance and address the economic, social and environmental issues raised by mining in an open and innovative framework."

The Forum held its second meeting in Geneva in October 2006. Among other matters, members discussed the elements and procedures of environmental impact assessments and reviewed a template on the requirements related to exploration and mining regulations, as well as factors determining country risks as viewed from a corporate perspective. Members identified the need for a substantial increase in international support for: geological mapping and environmental impact assessment in developing countries; policies that more effectively integrate mining into the economic and social objectives of countries; and greater vigilance in order to react to unjustified barriers to market access for mineral and metals. Members also acknowledged the critical role played by exploration companies in identifying mining opportunities. A committee was established to prepare for the meetings of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in 2010-11 that will review progress on addressing mining- and metal-related priorities identified at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Forum agreed that the leading themes for its next meeting will be optimizing the benefits from mining, developing good governance critical to investment decisions, and resolving issues surrounding community benefits and development. The Forum’s next meeting will be held in Moscow in 2007.

1 The 36 members of the Forum are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Republic of Guinea, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Zambia.

SD Success Story: The Canadian Wood Fibre Centre

Launched in March 2006, the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) represents the beginning of an innovative initiative in forest research. The CWFC responds in a clear and tangible way to the ever-growing need to increase forest sector competitiveness in Canada. By focusing on the needs of our clients, in this case industry, NRCan has put in place the foundation for positive, demand-driven results.

The CWFC will develop a research program that is focused on improving forest productivity, enhancing fibre quality, and either increasing product revenue or reducing production cost at the forest level. The CWFC is national in scope but with a strong regional component to address the differences in forest ecology and types of government-industry partnerships across the country. The CWFC will be one component of a new national institute that will result from the imminent amalgamation of three of Canada’s most prominent Canadian forest research institutes: the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC), Forintek, and Paprican.

The CWFC has been the result of forest sector leaders in both government and industry working together to develop a cohesive and focused forest sector innovation strategy at the national level. Each of the forest research institutes has also contributed to the partnership. The new national institute aims to become the single largest forest research organization in the world, with the intent for the CWFC to provide upstream, or forest-level, research to complement the work of the research institutes. The CWFC will also provide focused application of research results.

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