The immediate aim of the paper was to serve as background material for the annual general meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (IGF) in Geneva in October 2017. It is structured to first give a global (as well as regional) update on key ASM numbers and trends, followed by discussions of key ASM themes. These are: environment, health and safety impacts and remedial efforts; the ASM interface with large-scale mining (LSM); alternative livelihoods and diversification; ASM formalization and the global policy debate; and mineral certification schemes for ASM. The paper concludes with a discussion on initiatives and strategies for sustainable ASM.