Building peace in the minds of men and women

First Youth Forum of the Ibero-American and Caribbean Biosphere Reserve Network (IberoMAB)

From 5 to 8 December 2018, Bosques de Paz Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador-Peru

Young people in action for sustainable development

The First Youth Forum of the Ibero-American and Caribbean Biosphere Reserve Network (IberoMAB) took place from 5 to 8 December 2018 at the Bosques de Paz Transboundary Biosphere Reserve in Ecuador, and was the first MAB regional forum for young people. The Forum was organized by the Secretariat of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme in coordination with the UNESCO offices in Lima, Montevideo, Quito and San José; the MAB National Committees of Ecuador and Peru; the Ministries of the Environment of Ecuador and Peru, the Mancomunidad Bosque Seco, and the Bosque Seco (Ecuador) and Noroeste Amotapes-Manglares (Peru) Biosphere Reserves that incorporate the Bosques de Paz Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Ecuador and Peru).


How to participate

  1. The First IberoMAB Youth Forum is organized for young people between 18 and 35 years old, who live, work, study or carry out research in biosphere reserves in Ibero-America and the Caribbean.
  2. Applicants must fill in the online registration form which must be accompanied by a letter of motivation explaining their relationship with the biosphere reserve, and whether they are part of a young peoples’ network. In addition, the submission must include endorsement letters from the manager of the biosphere reserve and the MAB Focal Point/National MAB Committee in support of the application.
  3. The MAB Programme will select participants taking into consideration the need to ensure a gender balance and representativeness among those who work, live or study a biosphere reserve.
  4. The accommodation and meals of the participants will be covered thanks to the kind support of the organizers.
  5. To ensure the representativeness of all countries of the IberoMAB Network, the MAB Programme will cover the travel expenses from one (1) participant per country from Latin America and the Caribbean. It is expected that Portugal and Spain will provide travel support for their participants.
  6. Candidates who plan to attend the Forum using their own resources or with the support of an organization must clearly state this when submitting their application.
  7. Only three (3) participants will be selected per country (only one of which will be supported by the MAB Programme).
  8. The deadline for submitting applications (online form and support letters) is 19 October 2018 (midnight GMT +1).
  9. Priority will be given to applicants who participated in the First MAB World Youth Forum (Delta del Po Biosphere Reserve, Italy, September 2017).
  10. The participation of indigenous youth is encouraged.
  • The official working language of the Forum is Spanish with no simultaneous interpretation. Participants wishing to speak in English shall contact the organizers at
  • The IberoMAB Youth Forum will employ the same methodology used for the First MAB Youth Forum.
  • Participants will have the opportunity to elect the discussion topics through a pre-event online consultation and survey. The topics will align with the Final Declaration of the MAB Youth Forum and its Action Plan, as well as the IberoMAB Action Plan. Both documents align with the Lima Action Plan and the 2015-2025 Strategy adopted by the UNESCO MAB Programme.
  • The ultimate goal is to adapt the MAB Youth Forum Action Plan to the reality of Ibero-American and Caribbean youth, and to use the adopted document as a working plan for the coming years.



Day 0 – Tuesday, 4 December

10:00 - 12:00

Arrival of delegations 

12:00 - 14:00


14:00 - 19:00

Arrival of delegations 

19:00 - 20:00


Day 1 – Wednesday, 5 December

06:30 - 08:00


08:00 - 09:00

Transfer to opening ceremony venue

09:00 - 10:30

Opening ceremony
Welcome remarks by:

  • Mayor of the Paltas Canton
  • President of the IberoMAB Network
  • UNESCO representative
  • Representative of the Government of Flanders of the Kingdom of Belgium
  • Minister of the Environment of Peru
  • Minister of the Environment of Ecuador
  • Youth Representative

10:30 - 12:30

Welcome by the authorities

10:30 - 12:30

Keynote speeches

  • The World Network of Biosphere Reserves - Representative of UNESCO/IberoMAB
  • The role of youth in the Biosphere Reserve - Representative of UNESCO/IberoMAB
  • Bosques de Paz Transboundary Biosphere Reserve - Management Committee
  • Presentation of the Agenda, Description of the event - Organizing Group

12:30 - 13:00

Group picture

13:00 - 14:30

Lunch - Gastronomic meal based on products produced within the Bosque Seco Biosphere Reserve

14:30 - 18:00

Working group sessions

  • SWOT analysis of the current situation of young people within the Biosphere Reserves of the Ibero-American and Caribbean (IberoMAB) Network.

18:00 - 19:00

Return to hotel
19:30 - 20:30 Dinner

Day 2 – Thursday, 6 December

07:00 - 08:00


08:00 - 09:00

Transport to Forum sessions
09:00 - 12:30

Working group sessions

12:30 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 - 15:30 Working groups plenary
15:30 - 18:00 IberoMAB Youth Fair
18:30 - 19:30 Dinner
19:30 - 22:00 IberoMAB Youth cultural event
22:00 - 22:30 Return to hotel

Day 3 – Friday, 7 December

07:00 - 08:00


09:00 - 10:00 Presentations of relevant experiences on the creation of the youth committees
10:00 - 12:30 Regional participatory meeting between youth actors and managers of Ibero-American Biosphere Reserves
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 18:00 Other activities: visit to Bosques de Paz Transboundary Biosphere Reserve
18:30 - 19:30 Dinner
19:30 - 22:00 Ibero-American Youth Festival: open-mic night and informal discussions

Day 4 – Saturday, 8 December

07:00 - 08:30


08:30 - 10:00 Transfer to closing ceremony
10:00 - 12:30

Closing ceremony and handing over of the declaration to the authorities

  • Civic space
  • Personal experience of the event delivered by a young participant
  • Screening of the official video of the event
  • Reading of the final declaration by youth representatives
  • Handing over of the declaration to the authorities
  • Closing – speeches of authorities
12:30 - 14:00 Closing lunch
  Delegations depart


  • Tour 1: Pisaca Reserve/ Eco-hydrology model site.


This reserve was established in 2011 and has approximately 410 ha. It is located right on the interventions carried out by the pre-Inka Palta culture, which thoroughly handled the water and the humidity with ancestral techniques. In the outskirts of Cerro Pisaca, the sector’s biggest and most symbolic lagoons can be found. These provide water for Catacocha city 5 km away. The conservation of this area is paramount due to the various ecosystem services it provides. It is a water production and protective zone, as well as a flora and fauna refuge. For this reason, UNESCO declared it “Ecuador’s first eco-hydrology model site”.

The tour includes a traditional lunch at the reserve’s refuge, a 2-hour hike with strategic resting moments at viewpoints and moss-covered woods, which are good places for photographs. We will get to know the experience of a partnership bio-enterprise on the use of Vainillo.

Difficulty level: Medium

Main activities: trekking, cultural tourism, birdwatching and local cuisine.

Requirements: Adequate clothing (temperate weather), mountain hiking shoes, cap or hat.


  • Tour 2: Nahúm Briones /The Bosque Seco Legend

The tour will be based on the stories and legends behind Nahum Briones, born in the area in the early 20th century. Nahum’s legend is considered a vindication for the then landowners. Nahum was a native of Cangomana, a rural parish of Paltas. Considered “Loja’s Robin Hood”, Nahum was said to have robbed from the rich and given to the poor. He became a part of the collective memory, and now both the young and old know of his ventures.

This tour includes a visit to the Cangonama Parish, a heritage site due to its ancient architecture. We will engage in a downward 2-hour hike from 2030 meters above the sea level to 900 meters, which will allow us to experiment the transition of altitudes while resting in viewpoints. We will cross the protective woods of Suquinda and learn about the ‘albarradas’ technique for the conservation of water in the dry woods. Our tour will end in the Polo Polo Palta archeological site, in the Yamana Parish.

Difficulty level: Medium

Main activities: trekking, cultural tourism, local cuisine, archeology

Requirements: Adequate clothing (temperate and warm weather), mountain hiking shoes, cap or hat.


  • Tour 3: Archeological Tour/ The history of Paltas.

This tour will allow us to go back in time and get to know the Paltas, a pre-Inka population that lived in this territory. The Paltas are thought to be originally from the Amazon. After crossing the Andes, they settled in what today is the Bosque Seco Biosphere Reserve. The Paltas were an eminently agrarian culture, whose primary diet was based on corn and cassava. They considered the former a “God’s gift”, because it avoided famine and food crises. The Paltas managed different ecologic floors and two kinds of agriculture: dry farming or temporary or “mountain roses” and fertile plains. It implied good water management and irrigation, an accurate time calculation to opportunely seed as the rainy season approached, as well as a clear concept of agriculture.

In this 2.5-hour tour, we will make specific stops to do small hikes to visit five archeological sites with petroglyphs: Polo Polo, La Rinconada, Barrial Blanco, La piedra del Sol and los Tacines de Chipillico. We will make a tasting of traditional sweets from the San Antonio Parish and delve into the wonders of Bosque Seco.

Difficulty level: Medium

Main activities: small hikes, cultural tourism, local cuisine, archeology.

Requirements: Adequate clothing (warm weather), mountain hiking shoes, cap or hat.



  • Tour 4: La Chorrerera/ Between traditional snacks and sweets.


The traditional sweets will make you go back in time, because of the way they are prepared, the use of local ingredients, as well as the distinctive tastes of sugarcane and peanuts. We will get to the San Antonio Parish, where you will be able to witness the traditional preparation of local sweets, like bocadillos, huevos de faldiquera, colaciones, among others.

Later, we will hike until an eco-friendly coffee farm, where we will watch the process of seeding, harvesting and processing of high mountain coffee. This site was ranked as one of the best socio-environment projects in Latin America by the Lationamerica Verde awards. Besides, we will also get to know some bio-enterprise and ecosystem conservation practices.

We will conclude the tour with a visit to La Chorrera to see its amazing landscape and, possibly, bathing in its refreshing waters. 

Difficulty level: Medium

Main activities: small hikes, cultural tourism, local cuisine, archeology.

Requirements: Adequate clothing (warm weather), mountain hiking shoes, cap or hat.


The results of the IberoMAB Youth Forum were gathered in a Final Declaration, which includes the official establishment of the Ibero-American and Caribbean Biosphere Reserves Youth Network, with two-stage representation: one from each Biosphere Reserve and one from each country. Their goal is to participate directly in governance bodies and in the IberoMAB Network. This Declaration was sent to the President of the IberoMAB Network and all MAB National Committees.

  • Download the IberoMAB Youth Declaration in the following versions:

          English I Español I français I Português