Tribute to Robert Barbault

© MNHN/J.-C. Domenech
- Professor Robert Barbault, President of MAB France

The Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, and in particular its Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme, wish to express their deep sadness and regret at the passing of Robert Barbault on Thursday 12 December 2013.

Robert Barbault was Professor Emeritus at both the Pierre and Marie Curie University and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris (France), where he directed the Department of Ecology and Biodiversity Management from 2002 to 2012. His fields of research and expertise spanned ecology, the dynamics of biodiversity and conservation biology.

He had been President of the MAB National Committee since 2002. Over the past decade, he had injected fresh impetus into the committee and heightened its visibility by mobilizing both the broad scientific community and local actors, including decision-makers around the challenges of sustainable development and biodiversity. Under his presidency, three new French biosphere reserves were created. He was convinced that biosphere reserves were necessary references for putting sustainable development into practice and that the World Network of Biosphere Reserves deserved to play a greater role on the international scene. He was always accessible and adept at mobilizing his team at key international MAB meetings, to which he made substantive contributions. Recently, he had chaired the international working group responsible for updating the nomination and periodic review forms of biosphere reserves.

Robert Barbault was a man driven by curiosity, a man who was open to all forms of knowledge. He was discreet and a man of great sensitivity. He was known for his simplicity, his kindness and sense of commitment. He will be sorely missed by the MAB programme, which owes him a lot. We would like to convey our sincere condolences to his wife and children, to his family and friends, in the name of the extended MAB family, who appreciated and respected him. We thank him for his profound, committed and visionary work, which we shall pursue in his memory.

Video: Tribute by Gilles Boeuf at UNESCO (only available in french version)

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