Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage: engagement with extractive industries

Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage sites, both UNESCO designated places, offer two different approaches to addressing the challenges of resource extraction and conservation. Understanding of the inter-dependence between our survival and that of the natural environments on which life depends, is improving. However, as the world’s population expands, and with it demands for natural resources, so do competing pressures on land. The workshop will address the wide range of issues, challenges and management opportunities experienced in World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves (UNESCO sites) with extractive industry presence. Collective action is critical to secure effective solutions to these unprecedented global challenges. This workshop offers an opportunity for collaborative discussion through sharing perspectives from the mining, conservation, oil and gas and finance sectors as well as civil society.
The workshop will present participants with the opportunity to 1) learn about on-going initiatives and projects between extractives and UNESCO sites 2) provide feedback to extractives and UNESCO site representatives and 3) gain a better understanding of the current challenges and opportunities facing the interaction between extractives and UNESCO sites.

It presents a timely opportunity for IUCN’s broad constituency to input to collaborative processes such as extractive industry’s “no-go” commitments in World Heritage Sites in contrast to efforts to explore examples of extraction in Biosphere Reserves as learning sites for sustainable development.

The session aims to analyze and understand experiences of various stakeholders and groups in relation to extractive industries such as oil, gas and mining in the context of UNESCO sites. It seeks to explore how extractive industry issues are being dealt with within the global network of Biosphere reserves and World Heritage sites from a management perspective through case studies and innovative approaches. The workshop offers the potential to strengthen the outcome of separate initiatives considering extractive industries in Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites.

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