The application to list the Magaliesberg Biosphere as an International Biosphere Reserve came close to being declined. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) however allows for an application to be "deferred" while the identified issues are addressed. The Department of Environmental Affairs is committed to getting the revised application to UNESCO in the first week of September 2013.
There were two concerns to be addressed, and the revised application will be debated in 2014 again by the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (the Council).
The mining industry plays a vital role in South Africa’s growth and development. But if mining is not strategically planned and carefully implemented, it has significant negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, in particular our catchment, rivers and wetlands that support water-related services. The Mining and Biodiversity Guideline: Mainstreaming biodiversity into the mining sector interprets the best available biodiversity knowledge and science in terms of the implications and risks for mining in a practical and user-friendly guideline for integrating relevant biodiversity information into decision making. The development of this guideline was initiated by the Chamber of Mines and the South African Mining and Biodiversity Forum (SAMBF), in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Mineral Resources, and with technical input and coordination by the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) Grasslands Programme.
The UNESCO "Man and the Biosphere" (MAB) Programme convened for the first time in 1971 and laid the foundations for a new type of conservation area - biosphere reserves. It declared the harmonious development of man and nature to be its key goal. Biosphere reserves represent a global network of model regions in which sustainable forms of use and options for adaptation to changing ecological, economic and social conditions can be tested, involving all stakeholder.