Baobab trees at sunset at the avenue of the baobabs in Madagascar @Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Launched in 1971, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.

The MAB Programme develops the basis within the natural and social sciences for the rational and sustainable use and conservation of the resources of the biosphere and for the improvement of the overall relationship between people and their environment.

By focusing on sites internationally recognized within the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the MAB Programme strives to:

  • identify and assess the changes in the biosphere resulting from human and natural activities and the effects of these changes on humans and the environment, in particular in the context of climate change;
  • study and compare the dynamic interrelationships between natural/near-natural ecosystems and socio-economic processes, in particular in the context of accelerated loss of biological and cultural diversity with unexpected consequences that impact the ability of ecosystems to continue to provide services critical for human well-being;
  • ensure basic human welfare and a liveable environment in the context of rapid urbanization and energy consumption as drivers of environmental change;
  •  promote the exchange and transfer of knowledge on environmental problems and solutions, and to foster environmental education for sustainable development.

AfriMAB: The “Regional Conference for Forging Cooperation on Africa’s Biosphere Reserves for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development” which took place in Dakar (Senegal) in 1996 created the AfriMAB network. The network aims at promoting regional co-operation in the fields of biodiversity, conservation and sustainable development through transboundary projects.

Directory of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)

Composed of 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries, including 20 transboundary sites, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) of the MAB Programme consists of a dynamic and interactive network of sites of excellence.

Africa: 75 biosphere reserves in 28 countries

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