Consultative Forum: Chairmens' Summary, Brussels Meeting, September 28-29, 2000



Brussels, Belgium

September 28-29, 2000 



The member countries of the three international non-ferrous metals study groups - the International Copper Study Group, the International Lead and Zinc Study Group and the International Nickel Study Group - convened the first meeting of the Non-Ferrous Metals Consultative Forum on Sustainable Development in Brussels (Belgium), September 28 - 29, 2000. The Forum, co-chaired by Sauli Rouhinen, Ministry of the Environment, Finland, and Alek Ignatow, Natural Resources, Canada, was held at the Conference Centre Albert Borschette and hosted by the European Commission. Some 90 delegates from 22 countries attended, including 9 representatives from environment and social non-governmental organisations. A list of Forum delegates is attached.

The Forum was convened to build on the outcomes of the Workshop on Sustainable Development held in London in November 1999. At that time, the Workshop identified the need for activities that promote the production, use, re-use, and recycling of efficient, effective, durable and environmentally sound materials for use by society. The purpose of the Forum was to identify those recommendations or action items with the broadest level of support from governments, multilateral institutions, industry and other non-government organisations. Forum participants were tasked with developing the components of an action plan and its implementation, for consideration by member countries of the Study Groups and others.

The first day of the Forum was divided into five sessions. In the first session, participants were asked whether or not the Discussion Paper (circulated in advance of the meeting and available on the Consultative Forum Web site at ) adequately reflected the outcome of the 1999 Workshop. Participants were then asked in each of the subsequent sessions to identify those Workshop recommendations with the broadest level of support for further action.

Based on the points raised during the first day of discussions, the Co-Chairs and Rapporteurs compiled a list of recommended activities into the following six areas for consideration by the Forum on the second day:


    • Stewardship Programmes
    • Community Consultation and Involvement
    • Promotion of Recycling
    • Research and Development
    • Open and Transparent Mechanisms to Improve Communication
    • Information Development and Dissemination for Decision Making


The key recommendations or actions identified by the Forum for each of the six areas are included in Annex A.

Given the breadth of activities identified in Annex A, the Co-Chairs suggested a path forward to reflect the strong desire on the part of the Forum participants to achieve visible and rapid progress. The Forum strongly recommended the establishment of the following three ad-hoc working groups to take actions forward: i) Production of Non-Ferrous Metals, ii) Product Stewardship, including use and recycling, and iii) Science, Research and Development. Each working group will take into consideration all the recommended activities from each of the six identified areas outlined in Annex A. As examples, the Forum identified some preliminary actions, which commanded significant support at the meeting, each working group might wish to take forward as follows:


1. Production of Non Ferrous Metals,(including metal production)

  • best practices in dealing with community issues such as consultation

2. Product Stewardship, including use and recycling

  • methodologies for addressing materials choice
  • material flow analysis in metals production
  • Study Group initiative to facilitate technology transfer to enhance recycling in developing countries

3. Science, Research and Development

  • establishment of a Global Research Network
  • Workshop on Risk Assessment


Forum participants also recommended that the existing joint Study Group Web site for the Forum be expanded to act as a clearing house for information exchange and to facilitate the work of the three working groups.

The three ad-hoc working groups should be established with co-chairs from government, industry and non-government organisations, with a mandate to bring together existing work, share information, identify gaps and to rapidly initiate relevant activities related to the recommendations identified by the Forum for future action. Initially each working group should consider all the outcomes from this meeting in Brussels and draw up a work plan for taking the most appropriate forward as quickly as possible. Each ad-hoc working group will receive secretariat support from one of the three international metal study groups. The Study Groups Advisory Committee on Sustainable Development will establish the terms of reference for the groups in consultation with the Forum Co-chairs.

Once the Chairmenís Summary has been revised based on comments from Forum participants (this has now been completed by the Co-Chairs), it will be widely distributed through the Study Groups to member countries and others, seeking an indication of their willingness to participate in the working groups. Interested parties will be asked to confirm their intentions by the end of January 2001. The Study Groups Advisory Committee on Sustainable Development will collate the responses and establish the groups, which will then draw up their own work plans. Each working group will report back to the Forum, at a time and place yet to be determined, towards the end of 2001.

The Co-Chairs noted the strong spirit of co-operation during the Forum discussions and the desire on the part of participants to maintain the momentum and to continue working collectively towards achieving tangible results. Already during the discussions, several participants volunteered to participate in the working groups and offered to support work on specific actions.


Sauli Rouhinen

Environment Counsellor

Ministry of the Environment & Secretary General

of the Finnish National Division Commission on Sustainable Development



Alek Ignatow  

Executive Director

International & Domestic Market Policy

Natural Resources Canada


28 November 2000





Brussels, Belgium

September 28-29, 2000




Aware of the need to set specific targets for each aspect of sustainable development and recognising that these targets need to be timely and credible, the participants of the Non-Ferrous Metals Consultative Forum on Sustainable Development recommended the following activities for consideration:


Stewardship programmes need to be established that promote and demonstrate responsible management of processes and products throughout the life cycle from exploration through to recycling or final disposal. This should include: 

  1. international guidelines, principles and codes of practice;
  2. meaningful communication and co-operation in the supply chain between industry sectors, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders;
  3. worker health and safety;
  4. environmental management systems;
  5. improved product performance and eco-efficiency;
  6. identifying, promoting and demonstrating best practices including technology;
  7. developing efficient, effective and consistent regulations that maintain competitiveness and have incentives e.g. promote market-based approaches;
  8. meaningful consultation with stakeholders;
  9. fuller accounting and dissemination of social, economic and environmental costs/benefits.



Facilitation of broad and comprehensive community consultation and involvement in the decision-making process. This should include: 

  1. broader representation, education and capacity building for communities to participate;
  2. outreach programmes;
  3. recognition of regional/local costs and benefits;
  4. economic diversification during and post mining activities;
  5. transparent collection and communication of data with third parties;
  6. early and ongoing communication and involvement with local/regional communities;
  7. land access/ownership including indigenous issues;
  8. develop intercultural tools and mechanisms for communication and involvement of communities in decision making.



 Opportunities for recycling of metal-bearing products should be increased through a number of measures including: 

  1. facilitating the transboundary movement of metal-containing products and materials destined for recycling in an environmentally sound manner, including maintenance of a safe working environment;
  2. facilitating the development and transfer of technologies that reduce and manage wastes during production and/or recycling, taking into account the long term effects on health and the environment;
  3. incorporating recycling into product design;
  4. engaging downstream manufacturers and consumers in collection and recycling of products including dispersed sources;
  5. monitoring and communicating progress on metal recycling, including better harmonised data gathering and optimising the trends in metal recycling;
  6. reviewing/assessing regulatory and non-regulatory activities related to metal use and recycling and developing initiatives to enhance the benefits and address impediments such as those that restrict materials choice;
  7. highlighting the economic as well as social and environmental benefits of recycling, including energy savings and employment;
  8. differentiating between waste and recyclable materials; 
  9. developing and promoting campaigns/activities that promote all aspects of metals recovery and recycling, particularly in regions currently lacking the required infrastructure.



Programmes to develop, share and communicate credible scientific research and data on metals in a timely manner to facilitate decision making by governments, industry and others. This should include: 

  1. appropriate internationally recognised test methods and screening criteria to assess hazard characteristics of metals and metal compounds for risk assessment and classification including the need to differentiate between metals, alloys and organic chemicals;
  2. an international multi-stakeholder approach and cross-country involvement for the development of protocols for risk assessment of metals;
  3. a mechanism to resolve contentious science issues; 
  4. development of non-discriminatory methodologies for materials choice.



Develop open and transparent mechanisms to improve international communication, consultation, and co-operation on cross-cutting issues relating to metals and sustainable development, particularly the balance between the social, economic and environmental aspects. This should include: 

  1. participation of all stakeholders to foster continued dialogue, and assess and address the contribution of metals to sustainable development;
  2. information relevant to sustainable development decision making, including recognition of its importance to developing countries - using available tools like the Consultative Forum's Web site (;
  3. enhanced awareness and interpretation of risk management activities (e.g. regulations, voluntary measures) that influence the trade, production and use of metals;
  4. expert panels and other sources of expertise to scope out problems, identify information sources, and work with governments, industry, communities, media and others on specific issues; 
  5. increased public awareness/education of the contribution and benefits to society related to the production, use and recycling of non-ferrous metals.



Tracking and measuring performance and reporting on economic, environmental and social factors at all stages of metal processing from exploration, mining and production through to application, use, recycling and end of life. This should include:

  1. identification of information needs such as materials flow data and recycling data; 
  2. explore the feasibility of developing sustainable development indicators; 
  3. identify target audience, recognise capacity to receive the information, develop appropriate messages and means of dissemination; 
  4. develop baseline data, track and measure performance.








International Copper Study Group International Lead and Zinc Study Group International Nickel Study Group