Organized by the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) and the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF), the kick-off meeting for the project ‘Biosphere Reserves as a Tool for Coastal and Island Management in the South-East Pacific Region (BRESEP)’ took place in Castro, Chiloe Island in Chile from 10 to 12 December 2014.
Financed by the Flemish Government of Belgium and coordinated by the MAB Programme, this three-year project aims to create and strengthen existing biosphere reserves in coastal areas and islands of the eastern South Pacific in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. It also aims to promote biosphere reserves as tools for innovative projects to bring added value to local socio-economic activities, and to sensitize and build the capacity of stakeholders in the area.
The opening ceremony was attended by the director of the Region of Los Lagos, Nofal Abud; the provincial governor, Pedro Bahamondez; the regional secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Pamela Bertin; the Mayor of the city of Castro, Nelson Aguila; and different national and international participants from Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru.
On the second day of the meeting the representatives from the five countries gave presentations on the state of biosphere reserves in coastal areas and islands in their countries. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) presented the project ‘Southeast Pacific data and information network in support to integrated coastal area management’ (SPINCAM) as a tool for the BRESEP project. In addition, the participants discussed the creation and extension of new biosphere reserves, and defined a short and long-term work plan.
The meeting ended with a visit to Chiloé National Park, which is characterized by numerous endemic subspecies of wildlife, diverse species of birds and mammals, evergreen vegetation and the presence of Fitzroya cupressoides, declared a Natural Monument in 1976.