MAC: Mines and Communities

Landscaping - or land grabbing?

Published by MAC on 2007-04-23

Landscaping - or land grabbing?

23rd April 2007

Four years ago a proposal by IUCN, the world's largest single conservation organisation, to collaborate with the then newly-founded International Council on Mining and Metals caused a furore among its member groups. As a result, the IUCN was forced to "downgrade" its collaboration from a "partnership" to a "dialogue". That should have fooled noone.

Now the IUCN and ICMM have set up a joint working group to examine "integrated landscape management" and find a "balance" between "development" and "conservation".

Those who believe that mining, in itself, can compensate for socio-economic losses caused by encroachment on biosphere areas may welcome the move. Others emphatically will not.

New Horizons: Andrews Takes Up Landscaping PDAC's executive director chairing ILM group

The Northern Miner

23rd April 2007

Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) executive director Tony Andrews is chairing an international group that is taking a world-view look at Integrated Landscape Management (ILM).

ILM advocates an integrated approach to landscape management in order to meet economic, social and environmental objectives.

The project falls under the umbrella of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and is part of a dialogue started in 2003 between ICMM and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the world's largest and most influential conservation organization.

With the growing demand for metals and minerals, mines are increasingly being located in undeveloped, more biodiverse areas. At the same time, societies are requesting more protected areas and improved conservation of resources, with the result that there has sometimes been conflict among extractive industries, local communities and conservation groups.

Four years ago, the ICMM and IUCN started a dialogue involving discussions and workshops around mining, biodiversity and related issues. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, joined the conversation and the partners agreed to start a landscape level planning (LLP) initiative.

"It's a broad project," Andrews explains. "The idea is to develop a good practice model for landscape level planning, which is defined as planning over broad regions, and finding a balance between development and conservation.

"This is very much in line with ILM. LLP and ILM are the same concept with slightly different names, and Canada is seen as a leader in this area."

Andrews was asked to chair a working group overseeing the project. The project included identifying criteria and benchmarks for land-use planning systems that could be used as a basis for defining a good practice model; gathering information from case studies; and conducting a gap analysis.

The working group selected a project manager who hired consultants to carry out the studies. The areas selected for study were: Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia; Alberta Pacific Forest Industries (ALPAC), Canada, which has the largest forest management agreement in Canada; and Madagascar.

Next, the consultants developed a report outlining lessons learned from the case studies and their implications for the good practice model, and suggested next steps.

Other partners are planning or developing reports on LLP from different perspectives, such as social and ecological. An international meeting of key parties will use these reports to decide how to move forward with LLP.

Another important part of the ICMMIUCN Dialogue Project, says Andrews, is a review of the IUCN protected areas management category system. There are important links between that project and the LLP project, he says, because conservation is a part of LLP and includes protected areas as an important conservation tool.

"The IUCN system of protected areas is the only international system that defines different categories of protected areas and how they should be used, but there are significant problems with that system," Andrews says. "The ICMM and IUCN decided to implement a project to address those problems."

Industry is concerned about the process of designating protected areas, which it says is not objective, does not reflect realities on the ground and is not applied consistently around the world. ICMM is particularly concerned about the lack of transparency in the decision-making processes used by governments to establish land-use priorities and protected areas.

ICMM hopes, through dialogue with IUCN, to establish a more objective category system that integrates protected areas into landscape level approaches to planning and reconciles biodiversity protection with people's needs for an adequate livelihood.


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