PEOPLE | PLANET | PROSPERITY
The Three Pillars of Sustainability
The motivations behind sustainability are often complex, personal and diverse. For most people, sustainability comes down to the kind of future we are leaving for the next generation.
Ecological integrity is maintained, all of earth’s environmental systems are kept in balance while natural resources within them are consumed by humans at a rate where they are able to replenish themselves.
Human communities across the globe are able to maintain their independence and have access to the resources that they require, financial and other, to meet their needs.
Economic systems are intact and activities are available to everyone, such as secure sources of livelihood.
Universal human rights and basic necessities are attainable by all people, who have access to enough resources in order to keep their families and communities healthy and secure.
Healthy communities have just leaders who ensure personal, labour and cultural rights are respected and all people are protected from discrimination.
Defining Sustainability in Terms of Legislation in South Africa:
The National Environmental Management Act defines sustainable development as meaning “the integration of social economic and environmental factors into planning, implementation and decision making so as to ensure that development serves present and future generations”
A Biosphere reserve is designed to resolve one of the most important issues the world faces today.
“How can we reconcile conservation of biodiversity and biological resources with their sustainable use?”
To integrate man and nature, simply protecting areas to conserve remaining biodiversity is not enough. Additional measures that include socio-economic upliftment by means of low-environmental impact sustainable growth strategies are encouraged. Even the flexible transition zone with its commerce and industry and intensive agriculture can practice cooperative sustainable utilization of Magaliesberg Biosphere resources, and enhance this as a benefit to communities.
An effective biosphere requires the contribution of many stakeholders – Natural and Social Scientists, conservation and development groups, management authorities and local communities.
Mindful consideration of biodiversity and heritage assets can create socio-economic opportunities, by introducing sustainable practices into industrial and agri-systems and other developments, such as community food gardens, refined production processes, energy and water efficiency, pollution control, appropriate fire and grazing management and green building design and landscaping.
Characteristics of a Biosphere that supports local communities
- A change from the traditional reserve model, through appropriate zoning , where protected area Core zones are combined with Buffer zones where sustainable development is fostered by local dwellers and local enterprises, often with highly innovative and participative systems of governance.
- Focusing on a multi-stakeholder approach with a particular emphasis on the involvement of local communities in decision making and management of initiatives.
- Fostering dialogue for conflict resolution of natural resource use.
- Integrating cultural and biological diversity , especially the role of traditional knowledge in ecosystem management.