Obituary: Pedro Araya, National Focal Point in Chile for the MAB Programme

© Miguel Clüsener-Godt

Mr Pedro Araya Rosas, who held the position of National Focal Point in Chile for the  Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme as Head of the Department of Zoning and Planning in the Management of Protected Areas Corporation (CONAF), passed away on Thursday, 15 November at 9.30 p.m. in Davila Clinic in Santiago, Chile.

Since his designation as focal point for the MAB Programme, Pedro Araya Rosas, inspired with motivation and dedication, promoted the work of CONAF and all stakeholders who actively participated in the MAB Programme at the national and international level. Mr Araya did not despair and continued with his duties despite the diagnosis of his disease that would eventually take his life. Since 2004, Pedro Araya Rosas continuously promoted the MAB Programme in his role as focal point. Among his achievements were the nominations of the Biosphere Reserves Cabo de Hornos,  Bosques Templados Australes and Bosques Corredor Biológico Nevados de Chillan-Laguna del Laja and improvements made to existing  biosphere reserves. He actively participated in regional cooperation programmes such as the ASPACO Project (Asian-Pacific Cooperation for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources in Biosphere Reserves and Similar Managed Areas) and contributed to the editing of numerous UNESCO publications such as “Biosphere Reserve: a space for integration of conservation and development” ; “Biosphere Reserves: their contribution to providing ecosystem services” and “The Biosphere Reserve Model and Instruments for Its Sustainable Use: the Case of Chile”.

At the level of IberoMAB, Mr Araya’s work has been prominent since he organized the XI Meeting of IberoMAB in Chile and he produced the basic document for the medium term evaluation to create an Action Plan for IberoMAB 2010-2020. Lastly, Mr Araya was nominated President of the IberoMAB Network for the period 2011-2014. All these activities demonstrate his unending commitment and dedication. His passing away is a great loss for the MAB Programme and the IberoMAB Network.   

Call for candidate for the Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management

© Aya Biosphere Reserve
Learning about agriculture

Deadline for submission: 31 January 2013

The Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management is awarded every two years in memory of Dr Michel Batisse for excellence in the management of the biosphere reserves in line with the recommendations of the Seville Strategy.

Case studies must be submitted through, and have the endorsement of, the respective MAB National Committees, and/or the UNESCO National Commissions of the country concerned. Applications for the 2013 Awards should reach the MAB Secretariat in Paris no later than 31 January 2013.

The winner is awarded with a prize of US$ 6,000 plus international travel and allowances in Paris, France, to present the award winning case study to the MAB-ICC session.

Their Fate is Ours: Great Apes Survival Partnership Council to Meet to Save Species

© M. Graye, IGCP.
Mother and child Mountain Gorillas, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) was established in 2002 to lift the threat of imminent extinction faced by gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans across their ranges in equatorial Africa and south-east Asia.

The GRASP Council—coordinated by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and UNESCO—will hold its second meeting at UNESCO Headquarters from 6 to 8 November to define a new strategy to protect these endangered primates, whose numbers have continued to decline.

20 new Biosphere Reserves added to UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme

© Tibor Mikuska
Mura-Drava-Danube Transboundary Biosphere Reserve

Paris, 11 July - The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), meeting in Paris from 9 to 13 July, has added 20 new sites, including two transboundary, to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). As recommended by the Bureau of the International Coordinating Council at its 24th session, the total number of sites participating in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) will now be recorded on the basis of the number of biosphere reserves in each country. This number will include sites that are part of transboundary biosphere reserves, which will also be listed separately. The network now includes 610 reserves in 117 countries, including 12 transboundary sites.

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New Chair for the MAB International Coordinating Council

© UNESCO/P. Chiang-Joo
Prof. Boshra B. Salem

Prof. Boshra B. Salem from Egypt was unanimously elected Chair of the International Coordinating Council (MAB-ICC) on 9 July 2012.

Prof. Salem, an expert on sustainable development in dryland ecosystems, is the first woman to hold this position.

The MAB-ICC is meeting in UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 9-13 July 2012.

Testing grounds for sustainable development: Kafa biosphere reserve

© NABU/S. Bender
Coffee collector - Kafa, Ethiopia

Kafa is the birthplace of wild Coffea Arabica, which first grew 1,000 years ago in the forest undergrowth. There are now close to 5,000 wild varieties of coffee in this biodiversity hotspot. A unique coffee culture is deeply engrained in the Ethiopian economy and history. This culture is a key element of the participatory forest management scheme created in the Kafa Biosphere Reserve to avoid deforestation and boost economic development.

Canary Islands’ Biosphere Reserves towards Rio+20

© Cipriano Marin
Wind Powered Desalination plant in Fuerteventura

Islands, and island biosphere reserves in particular, have traditionally been seen as privileged places where to test actual sustainable development models. Many projects and initiatives carried out in the Canary biosphere reserves during the last years answer some of the new challenges discussed at Rio+20. Each island offers a mosaic of innovative solutions with promising replication capacity.

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Biosphere Reserves in Spain

Managing Vietnam Biosphere Reserves: experimenting and learning from new approaches

Wet day in Vietnam

Wet day in Vietnam

Biosphere reserves are like system models: their management are based on the principle “System thinking, Landscape planning, Inter-sector coordination and Quality economy” (SLIQ). A new approach being implemented in some biosphere reserves in Vietnam.

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Biosphere Reserves in Vietnam

International experts to review new submissions

© J.N. Poda
Fisher boats in Mare aux hippopotames Biosphere Reserve

International experts are meeting during the eighteenth meeting of the International Advisory Committee to review submissions for new biosphere reserves, and extensions to existing ones.



World Network of Island and Coastal Area

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Meeting of the World Network of Island and Coastal Area Biosphere Reserves in Menorca (Spain)

Representatives from Island biosphere reserves met in February 2012 in Menorca (Spain) where was decided the creation of a newly World Network of Island Biosphere Reserves.

World Network of Island Biosphere Reserves

© UNESCO/Jessica Wakefield

Representatives from Island biosphere reserves to discuss and agree on the creation of a newly World Network of Island Biosphere Reserves.

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