About Ecological Sciences

UNESCO’s work in the ecological sciences aims to advance the goals of sustainable development by the:

  • collation and creation of knowledge and its use in the improvement of the sustainability of human-environment interactions and relationships;
  • promotion of innovation in linking ecological knowledge to policies for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;
  • identification, testing and strengthening of principles and practices that concurrently improve human well-being, minimize biodiversity loss and mitigate and promote adaptation to the consequences of climate change.


The main vehicle for UNESCO’s work in the ecological sciences is the flagship Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), launched in 1971 as an intergovernmental and interdisciplinary initiative.

The Programme is advanced through extensive networks and partnerships within the context of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) as well as MAB ecosystem and thematic networks with a variety of public and private institutions, to generate and promote the exchange of information and knowledge and to contribute to international efforts in environmental assessment and monitoring.

The WNBR is a unique asset both for UNESCO and the wider UN system to experiment, monitor and assess how humans can address and resolve the growing number of environmental and development challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss and green development.

Capacity building, training and education initiatives in the environmental sciences, both in the formal educational systems and for the general public, are actively promoted.

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