On 27 November 2013, the Austrian MAB National Committee celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the Man and Biosphere Programme in Austria. A ceremony was held at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in the presence of the Minister of Science and Research, Mr Karl Heinz Töchterle, and attended by more than a hundred guest. During the proceedings, the long-standing chairman of the Committee, Mr. Georg Grabherr, was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class, the highest possible decoration permitted for a scientist in Austria.
In his speech, the Minister remarked: ‘The relationship between humans and the environment has been particularly explosive in recent decades. The MAB programme is a very early example of Austria’s broad commitment to this area, especially concerning the sustainable use of resources‘.
The President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Mr Anton Zeilinger, also noted that: ‘The Austrian MAB National Committee, which occupies a special position worldwide with its own research budget, has achieved the coordination and development of internationally acclaimed work related to the MAB programme. For several years the Committee has been provided an additional contribution to the MAB Young Scientist Awards for the training of young scientists from developing countries and emerging markets.’
The coordinator of the Austrian Academy of Sciences’ research programmes, Dr. Günter Köck, has served three times as Vice-Chair of the MAB programme. This fact underlines the international recognition and esteem in which the Austrian MAB National Committee is held for its work and achievements.