Biosphere Reserves for Environmental and Economic Security (BREES)

©UNESCO / Cat Ba biosphere reserve

Biosphere Reserves for Environmental and Economic Security (BREES) is a long term (7+ years) regional climate change and poverty alleviation program that works with communities, micro-finance institutions, educational institutions, government, and donor agencies to use biosphere reserves as learning centers for environmental and human adaptability to climate change effects and to improve economic conditions for the rural poor in and near biosphere reserves. BREES is one of four regional flagship programs identified by the UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in Jakarta.

In Viet Nam, BREES activities have been taking place primarily at Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve, located off the coast of Hai Phong City and in close proximity to Ha Long Bay. The Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve “Learning Laboratory“ pilot project began in March 2007 in response to the UNESCO recommendation for biosphere reserves to address the gap between existing knowledge and the need for sustainable development. The specific goals of the pilot project address the issues of tourism development, ecological degradation, and poverty.

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