08.12.2017 - Natural Sciences Sector

Mexican Biosphere Reserves are trained in the good management of their sites


Representatives of 15 Mexican biosphere reserves nominated by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, and which form part of the BioMéxico Network, attended a workshop held from 4 to 6 December 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. The workshop provided training in performing Periodic Review Reports of Biosphere Reserves and the Process of Excellence and Improvement of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The workshop was attended by the President of the IberoMAB Network, and experts from the Autonomous Authority for National Parks (OAPN) of Spain and the MAB Programme, and was organized by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, with the support of the MAB Programme.

The periodic review is an important event in the life of a biosphere reserve. It is performed every ten years and assesses the functioning and zoning of the biosphere reserve, as well as the involvement of populations living in the site. It represents an opportunity to carry out a qualitative survey of implemented actions and their results, and to take stock of progress made by the biosphere reserve, especially regarding the state of knowledge, skills and expertise in resource and ecosystem management. It also provides an opportunity to discuss the zonation system and assess its relevance, question its objectives and management policies, and examine issues and problems tied to implementation. Lastly, it affords time to discuss challenges and analyse how to overcome them.

The Process of Excellence and Improvement of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves aims to improve the quality of biosphere reserves and their functioning as sites where diverse approaches to sustainable development are put to the test. It works to overcome limitations and eliminate obstacles to better compliance and thus guarantee that their performance provides security to social, governmental and academic sectors involved in territorial planning at local, national and regional levels.

From 2015 to 2017, 22 Mexican biosphere reserves submitted Periodic Review reports, representing an unprecedented effort. Five reserves are due to submit their reports in 2018.

During the workshop, the representatives of the Mexican biosphere reserves analysed their experiences arising from this process and explored ways to support reserves still working on their periodic reviews. They also discussed the next steps in the elaboration of the Mexican Biosphere Reserves Action Plan, and how to frame their biosphere reserves within the Lima Action Plan, IberoMaB Action Plan, as well as in different international agreements.

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