The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme is strongly committed to fully exploit the great potential that international, regional, sub-regional and ecosystem-specific networking, as well as South-South and North-South-South cooperation programmes have in ensuring environmental sustainability, reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity and related ecosystem services, and achieving sustainable development on appropriate levels.
One of the flagship projects is the South-South Cooperation Programme for Environmentally Sound-Socio Economic Development in the Humid Tropics, coordinated since 1992 by the UNESCO Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences which hosts the Secretariat of the MAB Programme, The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) and the United Nations University (UNU). The Programme focuses on testing instruments for South-South cooperation in humid tropical areas, with special emphasis on:
- network building,
- technology transfer and
- improvement of management know-how for UNESCO biosphere reserves.
The Programme has greatly benefited universities and research institutions in the Amazon region in terms of improving collaboration among institutions with similar interests, strengthening and building scientific capacity and increasing negotiation capabilities with regard to sustainable and equitable management of biodiversity.
In 2009, through the UNESCO Chair in South-South Cooperation for Sustainable Development, the Programme has expanded to other relevant humid tropic countries, and a memorandum of cooperation was signed by the Federal University of Pará (Brazil), the University of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) and the Indonesian National MAB Committee to strengthen cooperation in science and higher education with the view of increasing the local capacity for carrying out management, research and training in the humid tropics environment.
The South-South Co-operation Programme is sponsored by Germany through the Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation (BMZ) and Japan.