UNESCO´s biosphere reserves

What are biosphere reserves?  

Biosphere Reserves are an international network of model and learning sites for sustainable development. The network is coordinated by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) through the Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme, established in 1971. The Biosphere Reserve Network currently has 738 sites in 34 countries. This includes 22 transboundary biosphere reserves covering two or more countries.   

The aim of biosphere reserves is to promote a balanced interaction between man and nature in a holistic and voluntary way. In practice, biosphere reserves are model and learning areas for economic, social, ecological, and cultural sustainable development. All biosphere reserves promote ecological and cultural diversity, economically and socially sustainable development and sustainability education and research. 

Biosphere Reserve status is an excellent tool for promoting sustainable local and regional development. The objectives and content of the activities are decided by local actors: municipalities, landowners, residents, communities, businesses and expert organisations of education and research. The concept is enabling, not restrictive. All biosphere reserves operate on a voluntary basis and in accordance with national legislation in each country. A biosphere reserve is therefore not a nature reserve; it is first and foremost a development platform that enables sustainable local and regional vitality to be strengthened over generations. 

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