25.09.2015 - Natural Sciences Sector

UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme revived in Nepal

© Mark John Jackson via Wikimedia Commons

UNESCO and the Nepal National Commission for UNESCO, in close collaboration with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) organized an interactive session on UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme on 22 September, the World Rhino Day, in Lalitpur. Participated by 53 stakeholders including academic experts, policy makers, and civil society, the event focused on initiating MAB programme in Nepal and reviving the MAB Committee.

UNESCO and the Nepal National Commission for UNESCO, in close collaboration with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) organized a meeting on UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme in Lalitpur, Nepal, on 22 September 2015. Over 50 participants including academic experts, policy-makers and civil society discussed initiating the MAB Programme in Nepal and reviving the MAB Committee.

The Secretary General of the Nepal National Commission for UNESCO and Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Bishwa Prakash Pandit, in his welcome remarks, emphasized the relevance of MAB for biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation and sustainable development, but also to promote involvement of scientists in policy-making.

‘While there are no biosphere reserves yet in Nepal, MAB is not a completely new concept in the country’, said the UNESCO Representative to Nepal, Christian Manhart, in his opening remarks. ‘In 1983, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Research (ICIMOD) was established under the MAB Programme in Kathmandu’.

Miguel Clüsener-Godt, Chief of the MAB Research and Policy Section at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, explained the mechanisms and advantages of MAB. Ram Boojh from UNESCO New Delhi office, who is also the coordinator of the South and Central Asian MAB (SACAM) Network, gave a presentation on SACAM’s activities in the region. Both MAB representatives encouraged Nepalese scientists and experts to participate in international meetings organised under this Network.

With regard to potential biosphere reserve sites, Professor Ram Prasad Chaudhary gave an insightful presentation on the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, which could potentially be linked to a biosphere reserve in India as a trans-boundary reserve.

Clüsener-Godt, highlighted the benefits of biosphere reserves as tools for conservation, training and technology transfer. MAB branding attracts technical support and brings additional value to products and services, as well as increasing local communities’ pride in their biosphere reserves. He emphasized that further consultations about suitable biosphere reserve sites will follow.




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