Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves discussed in Malta future action plans

The 5th Meeting World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves was held in Attard, Malta, on 24-26 March 2015 and was attended by 18 biosphere reserves (BRs) from 13 countries. Participants came from Australia (Noosa BR), Canada (Fundy BR), Chile (Campana Peñuelas BR), Estonia (West Estonian Archipelago BR), France (Iles et Mer d’Iroise BR), Germany (three German Wattenmeer BRs), Japan (Yakushima BR), the Philippines (Palawan BR), Portugal (possible future Sao Jorge BR in the Azores), the Republic of Korea (Jeju Island and Gochang BRs), Sao Tome & Principe (Principe BR), Spain (Menorca, La Palma and Urdaibai BRs), Tunisia (Zembra and Zembretta BR), and the MAB National Committees of the Republic of Korea and Spain, the UNESCO National Commissions of Iceland, Malta and the Republic of Korea, and the UNESCO/MAB Secretariat.

The main subject of the meeting was ‘The Impact of Climate Change and Sustainable Development on Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves.’ The participants introduced their biosphere reserves, examined future action plans and took a number of decisions.

The Network decided that as the number of biosphere reserve members has increased and the management criteria are vague, it is necessary to establish regulations for systematically ensuring and managing network activities on a continuous basis. Therefore, the status will be set up by application and approval for the biosphere reserve membership.

Participants suggested that biosphere reserve members should work to share their activities with others, including their use of the Biosphere Reserve brand as a contribution to conservation and sustainable development, and for profit creation. Biosphere reserve members could present successful activities at the upcoming network meeting or through the newsletter. In addition, with mutual consultation, the biosphere reserves members could undertake field studies to benchmark each other.

Participants strongly supported the application of the new Fajas de São Jorge Biosphere Reserve, Azores, Portugal.

The wide range of information and experiences presented at this meeting will be published in book form by the Jeju Secretariat with the support of Menorca.

The 6th meeting of the World Network will take place in Lima, Peru, during the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, 14-19 March 2016.