Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme
Capacity Building and Partnerships
The MAB programme contributes to global efforts for education and capacity-building through workshops, training courses, educational programmes and partnerships with professional and educational institutions.
Meeting global challenges and creating sustainable and long-term impacts is only possible through collaboration and broad partnerships. MAB works together with other UN agencies, international and national partners, governments, NGOs, academia and the private sector, and works to promote North-South, South-South and South-North-South cooperation.
Education and Capacity Buidling
There are now 48 University Twinning and Networking Programme/UNESCO Chairs related to biosphere reserves and sustainable development. A newly established UNESCO Chair on World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve Observation and Education was launched at the Heidelberg University of Education, Germany, in November 2016.
The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme is strongly committed to fully exploit the great potential that international, regional, sub-regional and ecosystem-specific networking, as well as South-South and North-South-South cooperation programmes have in ensuring environmental sustainability, reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity and related ecosystem services, and achieving sustainable development on appropriate levels.
Training Courses for Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves Managers. Since 2013, Jeju Island (Republic of Korea) and the MAB Programme have provided annual training courses for managers of island and coastal biosphere reserves.
The MAB Programme also recognizes outstanding work in biosphere reserves through a variety of awards and prizes.
Examples of partnerships include:
- The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP). This alliance brings together 95 partners including UN agencies, great apes range states, non-range states, intergovernmental organizations, conservation organizations and private companies. It aims to remove the threat of imminent extinction faced by gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. Several biosphere reserves are home to great apes.
- The three-year project ‘Biosphere Reserves as a Tool for Coastal and Island Management in the South-East Pacific Region’ (BRESEP) is being implemented in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama, and is financed by the Flemish Government of Belgium.
- The islands of Jeju (Republic of Korea) and Menorca (Spain) support and finance the activities of the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves.
- The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) is financing projects for the successful establishment and reforestation of the Haitian biosphere reserves of La Selle and La Hotte.
- MAGRAMA and the HBD group are also financing the project ‘No plastic. A small gesture in our hands’, which is being implemented in the Island of Principe Biosphere Reserve (Sao Tomé and Principe). The project aims to mobilize the local population to remove plastic from the ecosystem and improve their access to safe water.
- The Belgium Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and the MAB programme have signed a five-year agreement (2016-2021) to provide support to the MAB programme and biosphere reserves in Africa. This support will cover a wide range of activities, such as the research project EVAMAB on the economic valuation of ecosystem services (ES) in African biosphere reserves.
- The African Development Bank is funding the project ‘Applying the model of transboundary biosphere reserves and World Heritage sites to promote peace in the Lake Chad basin through the sustainable management of natural resources’ BIOPALT. The project aims to strengthen the capacities of the Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission – Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Niger and Nigeria – to safeguard and sustainably manage the hydrological, biological and cultural resources of the Lake Chad basin across their borders, in order to support poverty reduction and promote peace.
UNESCO MAB Category II Centres
Category 2 Centres under the auspices of UNESCO are established and funded by Member States to contribute to the achievement of UNESCO’s objectives by way of global, regional, subregional or interregional activities. They are not legally a part of the Organization, but are associated with it through formal agreements between UNESCO and the Member State hosting the centre. The centres are intended to serve as international or regional centres and poles of expertise or excellence to provide technical assistance and services to Member States, cooperation partners and also to the network of UNESCO field offices.
The following Category 2 Centres contribute to the achievements of the MAB programme objectives and to the Lima Action Plan:
- The Regional Post-Graduate Training School on Integrated Management of Tropical Forests and Lands (ERAIFT) at the University of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) trains about 60 experts from French and Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa each year.
- The International Centre on Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves in Castellet I la Gornal, Spain is funded by the Abertis Foundation. It provides an excellent platform for cooperation on issues related to biosphere reserves for all Mediterranean countries.