Rectors from the University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology and the Estonian University of Life Sciences issued a joint appeal today to the Parliament and the public, which refers to what they see as serious deficiencies in the use of the country's research facilities and specialistics regarding the country's mineral resources, and apathy by the state in improving the situation.
"In Estonia, there is currently not a research-based, thoughtful and sustainable use of natural resources policy, said the University of Tartu vice-rector for development, Erik Puura. "Minerals are a nationally important natural resource that deserves science and wise decisions in order to increase the skillful management of society's well-being and sense of security, "
Puura added that Estonia should learn from the example of the Nordic countries, where the mineral exploration and the use of a very environmentally friendly, inclusive and innovative researchers, creators of jobs and the development of their countries.
The universities suggested that the Parliament and the government adopt the following proposals:
1. Ensure a systematic involvement of researchers, experts in the fields of environmental and earth resources are included in discussions, and provide a platform for research-based and mineral wise policy.
2. The science-based use of mineral development and policy development is possible and necessary to increase the use of mineral resources for a socio-economically beneficial impact on Estonian society.
3. Estonia's rearch resources are needed to investigate and evaluate the potential use of modern methods that provides minimal and acceptable environmental impact, and effective and sustainable management of natural and mineral resources. The research laboratories of Estonian universities and their know-how regarding mineral exploitation and environmental issues is currently under-utilized.
4. Smart specialization in the field of materials and the use of mineral resources should be a key factor in shaping the Estonian advanced high-tech country, but this issue needs to be addressed more broadly than just the oil shale connection.
Editor: S. Abel, S. Tambur