08.08.2017 - Natural Sciences Sector

The UNESCO MAB Programme supports Colombia in the creation of its first biosphere reserve on the Pacific coast

Workshop in Nuqui, Colombia (1-2 August 2017) to support the creation of the first biosphere reserve in the Pacific Coast of the country. Copyright: UNESCO-BRESEP Project

The UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and the Instituto de Investigaciones del Pacífico (IIAP) of Colombia organized a workshop in Nuquí (northwest Colombia) from 1 to 2 August, on ‘Biosphere Reserves as a tool for sustainable development on the Pacific coast’.

The workshop, which had more than 100 participants, aimed to present the experiences and lessons learned from biosphere reserves in Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru to the communities of Bahía Solano and Nuquí, which are working together with the IIAP and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) of Colombia on the nomination file for the country’s first biosphere reserve on the Pacific coast.

The proposed area covers the National Natural Park of Utria and functions as a whale corridor and migratory bird feeding area. It includes tropical forests, mangroves and coral reefs, as well as nesting beaches for turtles and seabirds.

The population makes its living mainly from small-scale artisanal fishing and, to a lesser extent, from livestock, agriculture and tourism. It is renowned for the cultural wealth of its Afro-descendant peoples and the Emberá and Waunana indigenous groups.

Over the two-day workshop, the proposed biosphere reserve was discussed with representatives of MADS, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, scientific experts, and representatives from different biosphere reserves in the four countries and the communities concerned, in order to identify the steps to complete the nomination file and gather international support for the work.

The workshop was organized under the BRESEP Project (Biosphere Reserves as a Tool for Coastal and Island Management in the South-East Pacific Region), which is coordinated by the MAB Programme with the kind support of the Government of Flanders of the Kingdom of Belgium.

The objective of this project is to create and reinforce existing biosphere reserves on the coastal areas and islands of the west coast of Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. The project also aims to promote biosphere reserves as tools for innovative projects to bring added value to local socio-economic activities, and to sensitize and build the capacity of stakeholders in the area.

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