UNESCO meeting to designate new biosphere reserves

08 June 2017

Members of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme will designate new biosphere reserves when they hold their annual meeting at UNESCO’s Headquarters from 12 to 15 June.

Biosphere reserves are areas comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Managed in concertation with local communities, they test ways to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with economic development and the sustainable use of resources.

The International Coordination Council will examine proposals to add 28 new biosphere reserves to the network and extensions to existing sites. Proposals come from 22 countries: Benin, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Germany, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Niger, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Russian Federation, Serbia, Sudan, South Africa and Togo.

To date, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves numbers 669 sites in 120 countries and 16 that straddle national borders. It links sites as diverse as Lake Tonle Sap in Cambodia, the Mare aux Hippopotames in Burkina Faso, the wetlands of Pantanal in Brazil and the Canary Island of Fuerteventura in Spain.

The Man and the Biosphere Programme was created by UNESCO in the early 1970s as an intergovernmental scientific endeavour to improve relations between people around the world and their natural environment. The International Coordination Council designates new reserves annually. Thirty-four UNESCO Member States of UNESCO sit on the Coordination Council.

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Media contact: Djibril Kébé, UNESCO Media Section, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 41, d.kebe@unesco.org