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natural resources

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Ensuring that development projects benefit both people and the planet is becoming more and more of a priority.

Environmental and social impact assessments (ESIA) have been in use for decades to consider the effects of projects such as dams, highways, and oil and gas development. Over the years, ESIAs have evolved to cover both environmental and social impacts, including health and human rights.

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“This gathering represents man’s earnest endeavor to understand his own condition and to prolong his tenancy of this planet.” With these stirring words, Indira Gandhi, India’s Prime Minister, galvanized the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. A wake-up call to the state of our planet, Stockholm gave birth to the UN Environment Programme, amid high hopes that humanity could together curb alarming trends in pollution and natural resource loss.

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The world is on track to become a very different place in the next two decades. Per capita income levels are rising, the global middle class is expanding, and the population is set to hit 8.3 billion people by 2030. At the same time, urbanization is happening at an accelerated pace—the volume of urban construction over the next 40 years could equal that which has occurred throughout history to date.

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With significant areas of overlapping high biodiversity resources and mineral wealth, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faces increasing pressure from competing uses of land widely considered incompatible. This policy paper reviews the rise of commercial mining and the mining concessions afforded ostensibly at the expense of conservation efforts where protected areas and mining permits overlap. The paper highlights the need for the DRC to review and harmonize multiple and often contradictory laws, strengthen land use laws, and build implemetation and enforcement capacity.

  • Market-based mechanisms focused on candidate species conservation, also known as pre-compliance conservation, can provide preemptive and cost-effective interventions prior to a species becoming listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
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With wildfires, floods, tornadoes, and other dramatic weather events making front page news around the world, many people are asking questions about the signs and impacts of a changing climate. Climate Science is the World Resources Institute’s periodic review of the state of play of the science of climate change. With summaries and explanations of recent peer-reviewed research from a host of scientific journals, Climate Science is a window into what scientists are discovering about how climate change affects the living things and complex systems of our planet.


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