UCL Earth Sciences


Sustainable Resource Development

24 September 2014

The Himalayas hold the promise of enormous opportunities for local communities and the nations to which they belong, but their rich and varied resources are being developed against a backdrop of rapid cultural and environmental change. Geoscience holds the key to understanding these resources, and their effective and responsible development.


To explore relevant geoscience research and identify lessons for sustainable resource development in the Himalaya, the Geological Society and the Institute of Energy Research and Training, University of Jammu in collaboration with other local partner organisations, held a three-day conference in the region of Ladakh, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. This event was a collaborative endeavor - engaging with political and scientific figures from across the Himalayan nations as well as further afield. Several senior members of UCL/Birkbeck Earth Science staff (Phil Meredith, Juergen Thurow, Peter Sammonds and Bindra Thusu) were represented on the international organising committee, and contributed to the conference proceedings.


The conference was accompanied by a two-day workshop for c. 250 local school children on ‘climate change, natural hazards and sustainable resource development in the Himalaya’. The programme was held in Leh for students from schools across the region. Student’s were invited to create posters on the themes of the programme, and the students that produced the winning posters were invited to meet the governor of Jammu & Kashmir state and present their posters at the scientific conference. Further students programmes were held in Nyoma and Puga; both residential schools that serve nomadic communities that are particularly vulnerable to natural hazards. The natural hazards section of the programme was being coordinated by student organisation Geology for Global Development, and was co-led by UCL PhD student Rosalie Tostevin, with financial support from the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. The student programme is part of the long-term legacy of the conference in the region – aiming to contribute to disaster risk reduction through the engagement and training of young people.