New biosphere reserves to be designated at UNESCO meeting
Several new biosphere reserves will be added UNESCO’s global network at a meeting of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB), to be held from 27 to 30 May at the Organization’s Paris Headquarters (Room XII).
Biosphere reserves are sites where communities, governments and scientists work together to find ways of reconciling human development and economic activity with conservation of the environment. The reserves are typically established in particular types of ecosystems such as mountainous regions, tropical forests, urban areas, humid zones and coastal and marine sites.
There are presently 610 reserves in 117 countries, including sites as varied as Tonle Sap Lake (Cambodia), the largest freshwater lake in Asia; the Mare aux Hippopotames (Hippopotamus Lake) in Burkina Faso; the Pantanal wetland region in Brazil and Fuerteventura Island in the Canaries Archipelago of Spain. During this year’s session, the Coordinating Council will consider new sites proposed by China, Ecuador, France, India, Italy, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Spain and Uruguay
The Council will also examine applications for the MAB Awards for young scientists. Every year since 1989, ten young researchers have received awards of up to $5,000 to support their research into ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity.
Launched in the early 1970s, the Man and the Biosphere programme supports interdisciplinary research into the ecological, social and economic dimensions of biodiversity loss. MAB combines natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and safeguard natural ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially appropriate and environmentally sustainable. For implementation of its interdisciplinary work, MAB relies on the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and on thematic networks and partnerships for knowledge-sharing, research and monitoring, education and training, and participatory decision-making.
Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service,
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 64, a.bardon(at)unesco.org