UNESCO Sites for Sustainable Development

Dorset and East Devon Coast © UNESCO / Mark Simons

With 580 Biosphere Reserves in 114 countries and 936 World Heritage sites in 153 countries, UNESCO designated sites are ideal places for engaging in innovative approaches to conservation and sustainable development. Biosphere Reserves seek to reconcile conservation of biological and cultural diversity, and economic and social development, through partnerships between people and nature. World Heritage sites protect the most iconic and exceptional cultural and natural areas, including cities, cultural landscapes, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and support their sustainable use through the development of tourism, livelihoods, and enterprises to sustain local and national economies.

The economic value of biodiversity and ecosystem services conserved through this vast estate of Biosphere Reserves and natural World Heritage sites also must be factored into measures of economic development.  

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