IN FOCUS 2015
East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network meets at the Shiga Highland Biosphere Reserve in Japan.
The 14th meeting of the East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (EABRN) took place from 6 to 9 October at the Shiga Highland Biosphere Reserve in Japan. The theme of the meeting was ‘Activities in the transition area and the role of local communities in managing biosphere reserves’. The meeting was organized by the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, the Japanese National Committee for the MAB programme, the EABRN Secretariat of the UNESCO Office in Beijing and the Shiga Highland Biosphere Reserve.
The 14th meeting of the East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (EABRN) was successfully concluded on 9 October 2015 at the Shiga Highland Biosphere Reserve, Japan. Under the theme of “Activities in the transition area and the role of local communities in managing biosphere reserves”, the meeting included a field evaluation of the host Biosphere Reserve as well as joint sessions with Japanese Biosphere Reserves Network (JBRN). Key outcomes of the meeting included the revision and updating of the EABRN Statutes, the identification of priorities for network activities over the coming decade, and the confirmation of EABRN’s presence at the 4th Biosphere Congress in Lima.
UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme revived in Nepal
A meeting on UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme took place on 22 September 2015 in Lalitpur, Nepal. Over 50 participants including academic experts, policy-makers and civil society discussed initiating the MAB Programme in Nepal and reviving the MAB Committee.
‘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’.
The Representative of the MAB Programme, Mr Miguel 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.
MAB France rewards original sustainable development initiatives in biosphere reserves
The French MAB National Committee and the Man and the Biosphere Programme presented this year's winners of the French Biosphere Reserve Trophies in a ceremony that took place at UNESCO Headquarter in Paris on Monday 21 September 2015.
The Biosphere Reserve Trophies rewards original initiatives carried out by local actors in the field of sustainable development in French biosphere reserves. They encourage commitment to the sustainable management of natural resources, biodiversity, sustainable development and combatting climate change, and are accompanied by financial support. The trophies promote the establishment of exchanges and partnerships between biosphere reserves and local actors to support their network organization.
The MAB France Trophies is a great opportunity to highlight positive and concrete action that are taking place in Biosphere Reserves.
Writing the future of the MAB Programme and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves
The MAB Strategy Group meets from 1-2 September 2015 in UNESCO Headquarters to work on the development of the new MAB Action Plan.
For over a year, the MAB Strategy Group has been working in cooperation with the MAB Secretariat on the development of a new Strategy and a new Action Plan that will guide the MAB Programme and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in the period 2016-2025.
The MAB Strategy 2015-2025 was adopted at the 27th Session of the MAB International Co-ordinating Council (ICC), June 2015, and it will be submitted to the 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference for endorsement in November 2015. The Action Plan should be adopted at the 28th MAB ICC session that will take place in conjunction with the 4th World Congress on Biosphere Reserves, Lima Peru, from 14 to 20 March 2016.
El Hierro Biosphere Reserve supplied for the first time exclusively with renewable energy
On Sunday, 9 August 2015 at 12:00 pm, an important milestone was reached by the wind-hydro plant of Gorona del Viento. For the first time, it supplied the entire electricity demand of the Isla de El Hierro Biosphere Reserve (Spain) using renewable sources.
The President of the Island Government, Ms Belén Allende, said that this was a very important milestone for the Island of El Hierro, for the Canary Islands, Europe and the world, as it shows that it is possible for renewable energy sources to meet all of the requirements of the population and for the consumption of fossil fuels to be discontinued.
Enriching knowledge through exchanges between Haitian and Chilean biosphere reserves
In July 2015, representatives of the Haitian MAB National Committee met with the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF-Chile) in Chile, to learn about the management of Chilean biosphere reserves.
During their visit they explored the management models of La Campana - Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve, and discussed cooperation protocols, shared experiences and the possibility of strengthening capabilities between the two nations. This visit gave rise to new opportunities to exchange practices and seek benefits for both countries within the framework of South-South Cooperation.
This exchange was made possible by the contribution of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) to the MAB programme in Haiti.
New Network of Biosphere Reserves to promote the relationship between Mediterranean countries
A total of sixty biosphere reserves from fourteen Mediterranean countries — Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Tunisia — have launched on 19 June 2015 at the UNESCO International Centre for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserve the Network of Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves (RRBMed).
The RRBMed aims to highlight the biosphere reserves of these fourteen countries through case materials, with a view to promoting their natural and cultural heritage, strengthening ties and sharing knowledge between the biosphere reserves, reinforcing north-south relations, and developing links between academia, civil society and business.
Twenty new sites added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves
The International Co-ordinating Council of the MAB Programmehas added 20 new sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, bringing their total number to 651 sites, including 15 transboundary sites, in 120 countries.
Myanmar had its first biosphere reserve inscribed this year. These additions were made by the Council during a meeting taking place in Paris from 8 to 12 June.
MAB Council meets to designate new Biosphere Reserves and discuss new Strategy and Action Plan for the next ten years
The 27th Session of the International Co-ordinating Council (ICC) of the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) opened today at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. During the session (from 8 to 12 June) the MAB ICC will decide on the designation of new Biosphere Reserves in a total of 18 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, China, Ethiopia, France, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Portugal and Vietnam.
The International Coordinating Council will also discuss the new Strategy and Action Plan that will guide the MAB Programme and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in the period 2015-2025.
International Meeting on Transboundary Biosphere Reserves in Europe
The management of Transboundary Biosphere Reserves (TBRs) is the main focus of the international meeting organized by the MAB National Committees of France and Germany, the Transboundary Vosges du Nord/ Pfälzerwald Biosphere Reserve, the MAB Secretariat and the UNESCO Venice Office in Vosges du Nord Biosphere Reserve (France), from 2 to 5 June 2015.
Fourteen TBRs have been designated by UNESCO in 23 countries in Europe, Africa and Latin America. TBRs provide a tool for common management and allow the establishment of cooperation projects on the management of socio-ecological systems over borders.
This meeting will provide the opportunity to discuss a broad range of issues on TBRs management and cooperation institutional mechanisms and governance and promotion, visibility and recognition outside the UNESCO/MAB field.
EuroMAB opens meeting in Estonia to discuss biosphere reserves: from heritage to sustainable innovation
EuroMAB – the largest and oldest of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) networks, which includes European and North American countries – opened its 2015 meeting today in Haapsalu, Estonia. During the five-day meeting countries will discuss key issues around the new MAB Strategy (2015-2025) to be examined at the forthcoming 27th session of the MAB International Coordinating Council to take place in Paris in June 2015.
The participants will also examine the implementation of the MAB Exit Strategy and the preliminary results from the communication and branding EuroMAB project. The contribution of EuroMAB to the preparation of the World Congress of Biosphere Reserves (Lima, March 2016) will also constitute a main topic of discussion during this event.
Peru and the MAB Programme announce the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves
The Ministry of Environment of Peru (MINAM) through its National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP) and UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme jointly announce the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, due to take place in Lima, Peru, on 14-17 March 2016.
The objective of this Congress is to review implementation of the Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves 2008-2013, the Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework of 1995. The Congress will assess lessons learned and new challenges faced by the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and will develop and launch an Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves for 2016-2025.
Biosphere Reserves, sustainable development opportunities for local communities
The Peruvian National Service of Protected Natural Areas (SERNANP), MAB and the German International Cooperation (GIZ) jointly organized with the suppor of the Spanish Autonomous Authority for National Parks (OAPN), the workshop ‘Biosphere reserves, an opportunity to promote differentiated products and services’, held in Lima from 11 to 13 March 2015. The workshop was attended by representatives of regional governments, mayors and producer associations of the four Peruvian biosphere reserves, as well as representatives of Colombian and Spanish biosphere reserves.
The Director of SERNANP, Mr Pedro Gamboa, stated that this event constituted a milestone on the long road the International Congress of Biosphere Reserves. The event, to be held in March 2016 in Peru, will serve as a platform to share successful conservation and sustainable development experiences from biosphere reserves in the region.
Applications for the UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation are now open
The UNESCO Sultant Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation is awarded every second year for oustanding contributins by individuals, groups of individuals, institues or organizations in the field of environmental preservation. The prize consists of a diploma and a financial reward of US dollar 70,000, donated graciously by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said of Oman.
Candidatures should be presented in English or French. The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2015 Prize is 15 June 2015.
The Island of Principe Biosphere Reserve has been cleaned of 200,000 plastic bottles since the beginning of the ‘No Plastic’ campaign
In February 2014, the Island of Principe Biosphere Reserve (São Tome and Principe) and the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme launched an awareness and mobilization campaign entitled ‘No plastic: A small gesture in our hands’. The aim of the campaign is to reduce plastic waste and promote access to drinking water in the biosphere reserve.
After a year-long campaign, a total of 200,000 plastic bottles were removed, thirteen water fountains were established, and 6,000 reusable stainless steel ‘Principe Biosphere Bottles’ were distributed among the local population.
The Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves met to review submissions for new biosphere reserves
The International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves, the primary scientific and technical Committee body advising the International Coordinating Council (ICC)of the MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves, met from 2 to 5 February 2015, at UNESCO Headquarters.
The international expert group reviewed submissions for new biosphere reserves, extensions to existing ones, periodic reviews of sites already included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), as well as the functioning of the WNBR, in accordance with the Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework for the WNBR and the Madrid Action Plan.
The Committee provided recommendations on the discussed matters to the MAB-ICC, which will meet at the UNESCO Headquarters, in Paris, France from 8 to 12 June 2015.
New promotional video about the Initiative ‘Mangroves and Sustainable Development’
As part of the Initiative on Mangroves and Sustainable Development, managed by the UNESCO Quito Office in partnership with the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS) and Conservation International - Ecuador, a video has been prepared highlighting the key reasons for this joint initiative.
Mangroves are a unique ecosystem of great ecological value offering multiple ecosystem goods and services: coastal protection against sea erosion, water purification, contribution to climate change mitigation through carbon build-up, scenic beauty, habitat and shelter for molluscs species and fish hatchery, among others.
This initiative aims to promote the conservation and sustainable use of mangroves, to value these ecosystem goods and services, to address economic issues, and to emphasize the cultural, social and spiritual aspects of mangroves.
People and nature - better together!
Biosphere reserves are places with a specific purpose: to find creative, effective ways for people and nature to thrive together. They serve as "living laboratories" for testing and demonstrating integrated management of land, water and biodiversity.
This film, produced by the EuroMAB network, tells the story of these places, and shows that a sustainable way of living is not only possible, but already happening.
People and nature - better together
Biosphere reserves are sites established by countries and recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science. They are places with a specific purpose: to find creative, effective ways for people and nature to thrive together.
Produced by Futerra and funded by the Foundation des Cow Boy Fringuants (Canada), this film tells the story of biosphere reserves, and shows that a sustainable way of living is not only possible, but already happening.