The EuroMAB Conference DUBLIN 2019 was convened in Dublin Bay, Ireland, engaging participants in discussions about innovative solutions in the effort to promote sustainable development. The event held in April included strategizing with practitioners, managers, policy-makers, researchers, educators, scientists, social entrepreneurs, and local leaders. In attendance were 302 biosphere reserves in 36 countries across Europe and America, UNESCO and its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, based in Venice (Italy).
UNESCO biosphere reserves are great examples of sustainable development in action. Our World Network brings together a diverse range of stakeholders, at different scales - from local to global-, to transform our world into a more resilient and sustainable place to live in every day.
UNESCO designates biospheres around the world to encourage sustainable development and the idea that people and nature are truly better in cohesion. EuroMAB conferences, held every second year, are a way of connecting this network of unique areas and people around the world. UNESCO plays a parent role in these discussions, attracting high-level national and local authorities to join in.
Dublin Bay is a unique example of community and biodiversity. UNESCO has chosen it as venue for the conference this year. Located just 7 km north-east of Dublin city center, the North Bull Island was designated as a ‘first generation’ biosphere in 1981 for its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife.
Since, UNESCO’s concept of a biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity.
The EuroMAB Conference DUBLIN 2019 focused on how communications and networking between biospheres can be enhanced, and how biospheres can best partner with stakeholders and institutions to address global issues with local actions. Collaborative working sessions were tailored around 3 key topics: Inspiring people to get involved; Creating belonging to strengthen the network; and, Empowering stakeholders to take responsibility.
“The purpose of our supporting the participation of 5 representatives from Italy at EuroMAB2019 was to allow their interaction in the collaborative working sessions.”, says Jonathan Baker, Head of Science unit, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe. “Several countries, including Italy, produced new #ProudToShare videos that were shown in plenary, illustrating why biosphere reserves are important for the people that live in them.”
High pressing issues were discussed such as adaptations that are necessary in our changing world and the potential as well that is present within communities to engage the public and local people for inclusive solutions while also including developers in the conversation.
EuroMAB 2019 was beneficial in creating space for networking between 220 delegates from 35 countries, from different spheres of influence and prestige. Discussions tackled a wide range of important issues and concrete steps were proposed to sustainably develop the sites in relation to sustainable development, climate change, oceans, scientific cooperation, youth, ecosystem services to ensure continuity for the future.
Organized by Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve, the underwater photography contest exhibited at EuroMAB 2019 aimed to raise awareness of marine life and to encourage photographers to share their Dublin Bay images. Photos are testimony of the beauty and rich biodiversity that can be present in different areas of the world and of the ways that humans can live in harmony with natural habitats.
EuroMAB 2019 as it came to an end announced that the next one will be held in Austria. It invited to “Stay in touch! Grow the network! Keep sharing best practice examples! Implement in your #biosphere #reserve local actions and big ideas developed at the conference.” The steering committee for EuroMAB 2021 will be composed of France, Ireland, Austria, Poland and the Republic of Moldova.
EuroMAB 2019 was successful in establishing strong ties between different countries and fostering working relationships into the future. It moreover helped foster communication between stakeholders and institutions in relation to global issues.