Biodiversity, Biosphere Reserves & Geoparks

© UNDESA, 2014

Natural resource management and environmental conservation of terrestrial, aquatic and marine biodiversity is a high priority for most Pacific Island Countries. UNESCO contributes to efforts to counter the erosion of diversity, both cultural and biological, by - among other things - promoting understanding of the linkages between cultural and biological diversity and mobilizing traditional knowledge to counter the loss of biodiversity. In the Pacific, several UNESCO programmes and activities contribute to these efforts.

UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere programme aims to set a scientific basis for the improvement of the relationships between people and their environment. It implements this work through its World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Biosphere Reserves are sites established by countries and recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme to promote sustainable development based on partnerships between local community, government, UNESCO and other stakeholders, with a basis in sound science.

In the Pacific, there are currently three Biosphere Reserves, Utwe and And Atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia and Ngaremeduu in Palau. In 2006, the Pacific Man and Biosphere (PacMaB) network was founded to support community-based conservation areas, small-scale business initiatives, as well as rich and highly endemic biodiversity, coral reefs, tropical rainforests and other features. Pacific Island countries can benefit from the technical support and linkages that a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation can provide.

UNESCO’s Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. The flexibility and community-based management of a UNESCO Global Geopark may make it an attractive site designation for the Pacific.

Finally, UNESCO’s Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) programme works to raise awareness about and support biodiversity decision-making, policy-making and management based on traditional knowledge. More information on LINKS and biodiversity management is available here.

Projects and Activities:


Reef and Rainforest: an environmental wiki of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands



Publications and multimedia:


Reef and Rainforest: an environmental encyclopedia in the Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands


Indigenous and Local Knowledge about Pollination and Pollinators (published by the IPBES ILK Task Force, including a case study from New Zealand) 

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