» UNESCO works with Morocco and Spain to identify ecosystem solutions in the Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve ...
21.02.2018 - Natural Sciences Sector

UNESCO works with Morocco and Spain to identify ecosystem solutions in the Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean

©UNESCO/A. Iglesias

On 20 February 2018, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme met with local actors from the Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean and its area of influence. The objective of the meeting was to identify examples of ecosystem solutions in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda. The meeting took place in Facinas, Spain, with the support of the Regional Ministry for the Environment and Territorial Planning of the Government of Andalusia, the Autonomous Local Entity of Facinas and the Council of Tarifa (Spain) with the collaboration of the OREDD Regional Observatory on Sustainable Development Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean Andalucía is the first reserve of its type to be designated by the MAB Programme. It combines the Tingitane Peninsula in Morocco and the southern Iberian Peninsula of Andalusia. Both countries are located in a biogeographic region of deciduous forests and evergreen sclerophyllous scrub within the Mediterranean bioclimatic zone. The maritime area of the biosphere reserve is dominated by the Strait of Gibraltar, which links the two peninsulas. The reserve also encompasses natural and human communication routes between Africa and Europe.

The general objective of the biosphere reserve is to promote the conservation and sustainable use of resources by local populations. The reserve also presents opportunities to bring together two peoples from territories that share aspects of their natural and cultural heritage, despite their physical separation.

The meeting was attended by national and international experts and a delegation of Facinians representing socio-economic sectors directly related to the issues and ecosystem solutions under discussion. It was organized within the scope of the MAB Programme and the European project AQUACROSS, which focuses on knowledge, evaluation and management of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem services through public policies.

The meeting enabled local actors to contribute to analyses being carried to identify examples and ecosystem solutions through the creation of ‘green and blue infrastructures’ in the planning and management of aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity. According to the European programme INTERREG, such green and blue infrastructures form part of a planned strategic network of natural and semi-natural areas (coastal, marine and maritime for blue) with environmental characteristics designed and managed to provide a wide range of ecosystem services.

The creation of these infrastructures is intended to improve the functioning of the ecosystem and the promotion of ecosystem services; promote the welfare and health of local communities; and support the development of a green economy, and the management of sustainable land and water.

More information
•    Aquacross project
•    Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
•    Man and the Biosphere Programme
•    Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean: Andalusia (Spain) - Morocco

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