Tangier Appeal for Biosphere Reserves as climate change observatories and laboratories for sustainable development in Africa and the Arab States

A side event entitled “Biosphere reserves: climate change observatories and laboratories of sustainable development” was organized in the pavilion of Morocco, in the Blue Zone, during the 2016 UN Climate Change Conference (COP22). It provided an opportunity to present the results of the First Joint Arab-African Meeting of UNESCO’s International Hydrological programme (IHP) and Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB): Towards COP22 and Sustainable Development Goals, which brought together over 100 participants from 18 countries of the African and Arab States regions, including biosphere reserve managers, focal points of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP), members of the scientific community, local authorities and the civil society, on 18-20 October 2016 in Tangiers.

The participants, fully engaged to exchange experiences and identify adaptation or mitigations projects to address climate change-related challenges, proposed to issue a call during COP22, to promote an initiative for sustainable development.  

The Call was issued during the Water Action Day, organized under the framework of the Global Climate Action Agenda (GCAA). High level representatives included Abdeladim Lhafi, High Commissioner for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification and Commissioner General of COP 22, Morocco; and Flavia Schlegel, UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for the Natural Sciences.

Tangiers Appeal

The participants of the first Arab-African MAB-IHP meeting of Tangier,

Recognizing that:

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves has been identified as an important area of cooperation, considering biosphere reserves’ role as learning sites for sustainable development and climate change observatories;

Adaptation activities, which are a priority for the Arab-African region, remain at the heart of climate change-related issues, particularly in the water sector;


A Call for an "Initiative for biosphere reserves as a Climate Change Observatory and Sustainable Development Laboratory" for the Arab States and Africa, putting the water sector at the heart of the initiative.


Organizing the 2nd Arab-African meeting of MAB and IHP in 2017 in order to agree on and define the scope and mechanisms of the initiative, with a view to creating it during COP23.

Media contact:
Senior programme specialist for natural sciences, Climate Change focal point
UNESCO Office in Rabat

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