Earth Resources and Biosphere Reserves
On 15 February 2011 UNESCO’s Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences launched a new initiative on earth resource extraction (mining and the removal of oil and gas) and biosphere reserves. More than 30 experts with diverse backgrounds came together, in the first expert meeting on this topic, to share their experiences of how to sustainably extract minerals. The expert meeting was organized just ahead of the 39th session of the International Geosciences Programme (IGCP) Scientific Board and the 17th meeting of the International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves, strengthening the connection between the Earth Resources theme of the IGCP and the Biosphere Reserve model of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.
The initiative recognizes that biosphere reserves have a zoned structure that gives them the potential to operate as learning sites for sustainable development. This fact, together with society’s increasingly heavy reliance on mineral resources, demands the consideration of mining activities. With this in mind, the initiative draws attention to established tools and sustainability frameworks for the mining industry and recommends the creation of a working group of MAB, IGCP and other experts that will better communicate the purpose and structure of biosphere reserves, collect and disseminate case studies of sustainable mining practices, and improve communication between stakeholders. The outcomes of the initial meeting include PDF presentations, a meeting report and an annotated bibliography of further resources.