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The Spanish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, and the MAB Programme officially certified three new Spanish biosphere reserves

On 5 February 2014 the Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Environment of Spain, Miguel Arias Cañete, presided over a ceremony, held in Madrid, at which the Man and the Biosphere programme granted official certification to three new Spanish biosphere reserves: Terras de l’Ebre, Real Sitio de San Ildefonso–El Espinar, and Marinas Coruñesas and Terras de Mandaean. These three new reserves were nominated in May 2013 by the International Coordinating Council of the MAB Programme.

The ceremony was attended by the President of the State Council, José Manuel Romay Beccaria, the President of the National Parks Autonomous Agency, Basilio Rada, the Senior Programme Specialist of the Division of Earth and Ecological Sciences, Miguel Clüsener-Godt, and representatives of the new biosphere reserves.

With the inclusion of these three areas in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, Spain is now the second country in the world with the most biosphere reserves (45), just behind the United States with 47 biosphere reserves. These 45 protected areas comprise 8.6% of Spanish territory and represent 7.2% of the World Network.

The Minister stated that the declaration of new biosphere reserves implies a responsibility for conservation and biodiversity, as well as the preservation of traditional uses and customs in these areas.

Minister Arias Cañete referred to the MAB programme as a pioneering approach whose main objective is to ‘maintain a balance between biodiversity conservation, economic development and the social welfare of the people living in these territories’.