» The Portuguese MAB National Committee met at the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve of Gerês-Xurês to discuss bes...
21.06.2018 - Natural Sciences Sector

The Portuguese MAB National Committee met at the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve of Gerês-Xurês to discuss best practices

Meeting of the Portuguese MAB National Committee (29-30 May 2018, Gerês, North of Portugal). Copyright: Anabela Trindade

Representatives of the 11 Portuguese biosphere reserves met between 29 and 30 May 2018 in the Gerês-Xurês Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Portugal and Spain) to learn about the territory, discuss and exchange experiences with different stakeholders, and discuss strategies for strengthening the governance of biosphere reserves and adapting the Lima Action Plan to the national reality.

During the first day around 20 participants – managers of Portuguese biosphere reserves, observers and representatives of the UNESCO National Commission, and the UNESCO Chair on Biodiversity Safeguarding for Sustainable Development of the University of Coimbra – had the opportunity to visit the Portuguese and Spanish territory of the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve. During the visit, they spoke with several stakeholders about the importance and socio-economic impact of the biosphere reserve designation for the territory. They also discussed the importance of sustainable tourism and how to ensure well-prepared tourist visits for the area.

On the last day, the meeting started with a presentation by the Spanish authorities about the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, with a special focus on the particularities of managing a shared territory. The common work plan for the reserve was also presented. Afterwards, the participants exchanged experiences, examined the achievements and challenges of each biosphere reserve, and highlighted best practices. The Lima Action Plan for the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (2016-2025) was presented and a draft proposal for the adaptation of the document to the Portuguese reality was discussed.

Nominated in 2009, the Gerês-Xurês Transboundary Biosphere Reserve was the first of the three existing shared biosphere reserves between Portugal and Spain. These sites are a good indicator of cooperation related to conservation and the sustainable use of shared ecosystems, and the technical and political commitment of the two countries.

Today, there are 20 transboundary biosphere reserves around the world seeking international cooperation in order to achieve sustainable development.

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