03.11.2011 - UNESCO Office in Venice/UNESCO Natural Sciences Sector

International Day for Biosphere Reserves

© A. Lotov Altaiskiy Biosphere Reserve (Russian Federation)

On the occasion of its 40th birthday, the Man and Biosphere programme (MAB) and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves are happy to celebrate 3 November 2011 as the International Day for Biosphere Reserves! Many events are planned all over the world, including an art exhibition, a film projection and a special session on “Messages for the sustainable futures” in UNESCO at 6 pm, in Room XII. A live webcast of this event will be accessible on the website (see links below).

The MAB Programme has reached its age of maturity but it is still characterized as a young and dynamic programme that constantly keeps pace with emerging environmental scientific and societal issues!

‘The MAB Programme was initially invited by René Maheu, then Director-General of UNESCO, to focus on the “general study of the structure and functioning of the biosphere” and the “changes brought about by Man in the biosphere and its resources.” This was a groundbreaking concept, for, as retired UNESCO staff member Malcolm Hadley relates overleaf, “the underlying philosophy behind many national parks [at the time] was that, in order to protect nature, you needed to make it off-limits to the human population.” Here was a programme that set out to reconcile humanity with the rest of the natural world.

The flagship product of the MAB Programme has been the constitution of a vast network of 580 biosphere reserves in 114 countries. Forty years on, the initial focus on scientific research has broadened to include experimentation in sustainable development, with the growing participation of the private sector. (…)

Climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty, deforestation, land degradation: the MAB Programme’s approach to solving these problems can be summed up in two words: sustainable development. Each biosphere reserve is unique, so its approach to sustainable development will also be unique, even if they can also learn from one another. This is the network’s added value.’

Gretchen Kalonji
Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, in her <a jquery1319788377489="175" href="typo3/en/natural-sciences/resources/periodical/a-world-of-science/vol-9-n-4/" class="internal-link">editorial for the issue of A World of Science celebrating the 40th Anniversary of MAB</a>.

Related links:

Messages for sustainable futures.
3 November 2011, 6:00-7:30 pm, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, Room XII

Links to see the live webcast:

Full news : International Day for Biosphere Reserves

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