06.07.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Meeting at UNESCO to designate new biosphere reserves

© UNESCO/Edgardo BenitezRío Plátano Biosphere Reserve

New biosphere reserves will be added to the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) World Network during its meeting in Paris. The 24th session of the International Coordinating Council of the MAB Programme will be held from 9 to 13 July at UNESCO Headquarters (Room XII).

Biosphere reserves are not natural parks.  They are sites where communities, governments and scientists work together on new practices for people to live in harmony with nature. The MAB World Network numbers 580 sites in 114 countries. It includes sites as varied as Tonle Sap Lake (Cambodia), the largest freshwater lake in Asia; the Mare aux Hippopotames (Hippopotamus Lake) in Burkina Faso; the Pantanal wetland region in Brazil and Fuerteventura Island in the Canaries Archipelago of Spain. During this session, the Coordinating Council will examine new proposals and applications for extensions from 22 countries.

The Council will also examine applications for the MAB Awards for young scientists. Every year since 1989, ten young researchers have received awards of up to US$ 5,000 to support their research into ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity.

The winner of the $6,000 Michel Batisse Award will also be announced. This prize is awarded every two years for excellence in the management of the biosphere reserves.

Launched in the early 1970s, the Man and the Biosphere programme supports interdisciplinary research into the ecological, social and economic dimensions of biodiversity loss. MAB combines natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and safeguard natural ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that is socially appropriate and environmentally sustainable.  For implementation of its interdisciplinary work on-ground, MAB relies on the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and on thematic networks and partnerships for knowledge-sharing, research and monitoring, education and training, and participatory decision-making.




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