The Biosphere Reserves (BR Biosphere Reserve ) are sites designated by national governments and recognized by UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the context of its Man and the Biosphere (MAB Man and Biosphere ) program.
They are considered to be:
- a place of excellence where new practices are tested and developed for the better management of natural resources and human activity.
- tools to help countries apply the World Summit on Sustainable Development recommendations and the Convention on Biological Diversity and its eco-systemic approach.
- a place of learning within the context of the United Nation’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
It is the MAB’s International Coordination Council that accepts or refuses a site’s application during its annual meeting.
It is the responsibility of the parties, at the local level, to apply with UNESCO and to pass all national and international evaluations relevant to the application.
Once they are nominated, the sites remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the State, but they exchange and share their experiences and knowledge on an international level with in the world network of Biosphere Reserves.
This status is not permanent. There is a periodical evaluation, every 10 years, to revisit the workings, zoning, the size and the involvement of the local population.
Currently, there are near 670 Biosphere Reserves in 120 countries. To see the network’s interactive map, please click here.