Brussels, 29 November 2016 The FORAM project was launched in Brussels during the first Raw Materials Week, organized by the European Commission (EC). To date it is the largest collaborative effort to improve worldwide cooperation on securing raw materials access, promoting innovation and fostering sustainable mining, recycling and use of raw materials. Apart from key stakeholders from governments, research and industry in Europe the project brings together partners from Japan, the USA, and other G20 countries, as well as other countries active in the mining and other raw materials sectors.
As Mr. Marcin Sadowski, Head of the Raw Materials Sector at the EC Executive Agency for Small and Mediumsized Enterprises (EASME) stated, FORAM supports the EU International Cooperation Strategy on Raw Materials and he expects that the project will be an essential contribution to its success and international uptake. Mr. Mathias Schluep, FORAM project leader, from the Swiss based World Resources Forum, said, “common approaches and solutions for both primary and secondary raw materials will be identified”.
The event was organized and hosted by EuroGeoSurveys (EGS) and brought together close to 100 enthusiastic participants, ranging from policy makers, industry, academia and research institutions who concluded that the ambitious initiative will need to be inclusive, open, and built upon the successes of related European and global initiatives in this field.
Mr. Jaco Huisman, from the United Nations University, in charge of the identification of FORAM key challenges and priorities, said: “The raw materials field is a dynamic environment with lots of initiatives and projects. However, many actors are still working in silos. It is important to track relevant information flows, identify clusters and to trigger targeted interaction where needed. Actors in the primary minerals and secondary recycling clusters in particular should talk much more to each other to fix data gaps and to foster sustainable materials supply for future generations.”
Mr. Vitor Correia, President of the European Federation of Geologists, also reiterated the need of clustering stakeholders: “Nowadays we face many different types of constraints, such as lack of food or water in certain areas of the world. Society does not always trust the mining industry and there is a lack of information. FORAM is a good opportunity to put different clusters together and discuss also how we can gain trust from communities and contribute to better governance of natural resources”.
Mr. Bas De Leeuw, Managing Director of the World Resources Forum, stated “Key aspects of advancing the idea of a World Forum on Raw Materials include assessing its focus and its format. Will there be a need for just information gathering, or for a scientific platform? Should the platform offer policy dialogue, multi-stakeholder awareness raising and capacity building, or a mix of these? Should it be a network or become a formal institution? We will assess these questions with an open eye for all the good work that is already going on, and in close dialogue with existing networks. We do not intend to reinvent wheels, we want to offer ideas for increasing efficiency and effectiveness for all concerned”.
According to Mr. Luca Demicheli, Secretary General of EuroGeoSurveys “by closely working with relevant stakeholders in industry, European and international organizations, governments, academia and civil society, this project will contribute to consolidating the efforts towards a more joint and coherent approach towards raw materials policies and investments worldwide. Synergies with relevant EU Member States initiatives will be explored and fostered. The project will in particular seek to engage the participation of G20 Member countries and other countries active in the mining and other raw materials sectors, so that experiences will be shared and understanding of all aspects of trade in raw materials will be increased”.
The participants could engage in dialogue, share ideas and interact directly with the project team and Advisory Board members thanks to the dynamic format of the workshop. The FORAM consortium will organise a major public pilot event which is tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2018. This event will present the upcoming analyses of the topic, important obstacles and opportunities for wider cooperation, and will involve the main global players.
Advancing the Idea for a World Forum on Raw Materials
FORAM, a two-year project to advance the idea for a World Forum on Raw Materials, was officially launched in Brussels on 29 November 2016 during Raw Materials Week, an event organised by the European Commission. The project was also presented at various other events, including the 6th EU-US-Japan Trilateral Conference on Critical Raw Materials.
FORAM is the largest collaborative effort for raw materials strategy cooperation on a global level so far. Building on an EU-based platform of international experts and stakeholders, it will enhance international cooperation on raw materials policies, making the complex maze of raw materials’ related initiatives more effective.
The FORAM project is led by the Swiss based World Resources Forum Association (WRFA) and is supported by 11 additional leading organizations: EuroGeoSurveys, European Federation of Geologists, United Nations University, Leiden University, University Kassel, Clausthal University of Technology, ESM/Matsearch, Gondwana Empreendimentos e Consultorias, Servicio Geológico Colombiano, MinPol GmbH and La Palma Research Centre for Future Studies SL. In addition, more than 20 international organisations are involved as Advisory Board members and 40 organizations as Linked Third Parties, for a total number of over 70 key influencers. These will work closely for the next two years to enhance international cooperation and increase the understanding of all aspects of raw materials investment and trade.
All interested parties are invited to express their concerns and needs, and help shape the recommendations on how to most efficiently and effectively establish a World Forum on Raw Materials.