Ecosystem-based approach to science policy for biodiversity

© Atoll Ecosystem Project/Ministry of Housing & Environment
(Baa Atoll), Maldives

The study and management of ecosystems represents the most dynamic field of contemporary ecology, it is key inthe context of sustainable development.  UNESCO’s programmes ensure a sustainable resources management via research, conservation and information sharing.

In particular, the Man and the Biosphere programme ecosystem and theme-specific networks provide valuable insights into sustainable development models and climate change mitigation and adaptation possibilities. They include networks and research, capacity building and educational collaborations. 

Marine, coastal and island areas

  • MAB network and activities
    UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme activities span protection, scientific research and human use.
  • Small Island Developing State: Biodiversity Resources  
    Activities addressing biodiversity conservation in SIDS.
  • IOC Coastal Area Management activities
    The objective for this programme is to assist IOC Member States in their efforts to build marine scientific and technological capabilities in the field of Integrated Coastal Management as follow up of UNCED, Agenda 21. The programme will provide reliable marine scientific data, develop methodologies, disseminate information and build interdisciplinary capacity through symposia, workshops, seminars and training courses.
  • PEGASO Project
    This EU project focuses on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. IOC/UNESCO is one of the key partners of PEGASO; it is responsible for the coordination of one of the most important foreseen outcomes of PEGASO, a Regional Assessment of the Mediterranean and Black Sea. 


  • MAB network and activities
    Mountain regions represent about one quarter of the Earth's terrestrial surface, and are home to approximately 25% of the global population. Mountains are crucial for life. They offer a wealth of ecosystem functions and services (freshwater, biodiversity, forest products, minerals, habitats for threatened species), and landscapes and cultures of exceptional value.


  • MAB networks and activities on tropical forests
    Most of the world species live in forests and in particular in tropical forests. Although some of these creatures are not obvious to all, e.g. insects, fungi and lower life forms, they play a critical role. The rapid disappearance of tropical forest and their biodiversity involves a wide range of changes, well beyond the known crucial interactions between forest cover and climate.
  • Indigenous Conservation and Management  
    The recognition that local and indigenous people have their own ecological understandings, conservation practices and resource management goals has important implications. It transforms the relationship between biodiversity managers and local communities
  • The World Heritage Forest Programme 
    World Heritage forest sites now have a total surface area of over 75 million hectares and represent over 13% of all IUCN category I-IV protected forests worldwide.The World Heritage Convention is uniquely positioned amongst international conventions, programmes and agencies to play a leading role for in-situ conservation of forest biodiversity.

Drylands and Savanna Ecosystems

Urban Areas

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