19.11.2013 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

5th Meeting of the South and Central Asian MAB Network

The 5th SACAM Meeting (26-28 November 2013) and ECO Workshop (29-30 November 2013) are being organized in Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The theme of the meeting is “Harmonizing community livelihood with Biodiversity Conservation" and will be attended by SACAM Member countries from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The 5th SACAM Meeting in Islamabad is significant as it is for the first time that Pakistan is hosting the meeting and that the country’s Juniper Forest of Ziarat in Baluchistan, the second largest Juniper forest of its kind in the world, has been designated under the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by the International Coordinating Council (ICC) of the UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. This is the second site in the country, after Lal Suhanra Biosphere Reserve in Cholistan Desert (near Bhawalpur in Southern Punjab) which was designated in 1977.  Juniper tree species of Ziarat have a global significance because of their old age and slow growth rate.

SACAM is one of the youngest regional MAB network.  The setting up of the network was first decided during the Regional Meeting of Coordinators of National MAB Committees and Biosphere Reserves organized by UNESCO New Delhi in collaboration with the Indian National Committee for MAB and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India,  at Dehradun from 22 to 25 February 2001. The meeting was hosted by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education and was attended by MAB  representatives from eight Asian countries -Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who  decided to create the ‘South and Central Asia MAB Network’ for greater synergy and collaboration in south and central Asian regional MAB programmes.

The First SACAM Network Meeting was held in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka, from 15 to 18 October 2002. The meeting finalized the SACAM statutes and discussed ways and means to strengthen the network activities. The Islamic Republic of Iran hosted the 2nd SCAM Network meeting in Zibankenar, which focused on “Sustainable Eco-tourism in Biosphere Reserves and Similarly Managed Areas”.  The 3rd  SACAM meeting was hosted by India in Jodhpur, Rajasthan from 12 to 15 November 2007 on the sidelines of the International MAB drylands conference.  The theme of the meeting was “International Workshop Ensuring the Future of Drylands – Towards Implementing the MAB Agenda for Sustainable Future of Drylands”.  The Meeting was attended by the MAB National Committees of the region, member countries of the SACAM Network, dryland experts from neighboring Asian countries and countries adjacent to the region such as China, the Russian Federation, Arab countries, Israel as well as representatives of national/international organizations working on dryland issues.  

The 4th SACAM Meeting took place at the Qeshm Islands, Iran on the theme “Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation in Development under Emerging Global Changes” from 14-17 November 2011. The meeting was organized in association with countries of the SACAM network, MAB secretariat as well as the SACAM Secretariat and marked the 40th Anniversary of MAB and 10th anniversary of the SACAM Network. Around 60 participants including delegates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, attended the meeting.  The meeting was jointly organized by UNESCO New Delhi and Tehran Offices and Iranian MAB National Committee. The highlight of the recommendations of the meeting was the request by all the member countries requesting UNESCO DG to explore the possibility of declaring an international year of Biosphere Reserves within the International Decade of Biodiversity.


For further information, please contact:

Mr Ram Boojh, Secretary, SACAM (South and Central Asia MAB Network) Secretariat and National Programme Officer, UNESCO New Delhi Office  (r.boojh(at)unesco.org) 

Dr Muhammad Rafique, Focal Point  MAB Pakistan and  Director, Zoological Sciences Division, Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Islamabad, Pakistan Ph: +92-51-9252268 Email: mabsecretariat.pk92(at)yahoo.comrafique59(at)yahoo.com

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