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Natural Resources Canada pushing “sustainable development indicators” — Indicators of what?

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

This past Spring, Natural Resources Canada (a.k.a. NRCan) initiated a multi-stage, multi-stakeholder process that MiningWatch Canada has been involved in. The first stage, which is ongoing, is meant to discern 'Canadian values' that might inform indicators that will measure 'progress' in the mining sector with respect to sustainable development.

MiningWatch's participation has focused on the need for a broader underlying and collective 'vision' of sustainability, and specifically on 'sustainability' with respect to mining, to inform this project. MiningWatch has argued that indicators to measure progress in sustainability should flow from this consensus perspective. It is impossible to measure progress towards a goal if there is no consensus on the goal, and if we do not know how far current practice is from this goal. Catherine wrote a short piece on sustainability and mining as a discussion paper. This focus by MiningWatch has found support amongst other involved stakeholders. NRCan has not been enthusiastic in adopting this direction but has put the question of whether there is a need to "develop a common vision" on sustainable development of metals on the agenda for the next meeting.

The next face-to-face meeting of the working group will be on November 24-25.