MAB Programme UNESCO

World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)

The concept of Biosphere Reserve was initially developed in 1974. In 1995, during the second world conference of Biosphere Reserves, it was defined and reinforced, the results being recorded in The Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Said documents were approved by the General Conference of UNESCO that same year and are still in force.

The Biosphere Reserves are territories whose goal is to reconcile the preservation of nature and the economical development. They are established in certain ecologically representative areas or regions of unique value, in terrestrial, coastal and marine environments, where the integration of human population and its activities are essential.

The Biosphere Reserves must contribute to preserve and maintain natural and cultural values depending on a sustainable management, supported by correct scientific bases and cultural creativity.

The Biosphere Reserves are proposed by national governments to the MAB relevant authorities and must satisfy some criteria and fulfil minimum requirements so that they can be admitted in the Network. Nowadays, in the year 2016, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) comprises a total of 669 distributed amongst 120 countries.

The coordination between the Biosphere Reserves that are part of the Network is realised by regional or subregional networks. Among them we can name, ArabMAB (Arab countries), AfriMAB (African countries), EABRN (East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network), EuroMAB (Europe, Canada and the USA), and the IberoMAB network (coordinates the MAB National Committees and the Biosphere Reserves in Ibero-America). The REDBIOS comprises the Canary Islands Biosphere Reserve (Spain), Cape Verde, Mauritania, Madeira and Azores (Portugal), Morocco and Senegal.

The Madrid Action Plan, approved during the Third World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, sets out the strategy of the MAB Programme for the period 2008–2013. It consists of a series of objectives and actions which underline the need to use the biosphere reserves as places of demonstration that offer efficient answers to the new challenges –such as the loss of traditional knowledge and cultural diversity, demographics, loss of cultivable land, climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development, particularly places that are capable of mitigating and adapting to the climate change—, and to promote a greater use of renewable energies in the sustainable future of rural and urban areas to improve and take advantage of ecosystem services and products in the sustainable development for human well-being.

The Lima Action Plan for the Man and Biosphere (MaB) Programme of UNESCO and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (2016-2025) contains a set of comprehensive, but concise actions, whose aim is the ensure the effective implementation of the MaB 2015-2025 strategy adopted by CIC-MAB at its 27th session (UNESCO, Paris, 8-12 June 2015) and endorsed by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 38th session (UNESCO, Paris, November 3-18, 2015). Both the MaB 2015-2025 strategy and the Lima Action Plan 2016-2025 are based in the continuity of the Seville Strategy and in the framework statutory of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) and are based on the conclusions of the evaluation of the implementation of the Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves (2008-2013).

The Prince of Asturias Award for Concord given to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2011, meant a very important milestone in recognition of such a commendable work.

This concept of collaboration is present since the genesis of the MAB Programme. The Biosphere Reserves must emerge by the initiative of the social sectors involved without imposition, which means that the inhabitants, farmworkers, cattle-raisers or artisans from a Biosphere Reserve must agree with the project and get involved in its development.

World Map and List of Biosphere Reserves 2010

Updated List of Biosphere Reserves 2013

World Map of Biosphere Reserves 2016-2017

Strategy of Seville

Statutory Framework of the Biosphere Reserves

Seville + 5 (Pamplona)

 Lima Action Plan 

Madrid Action Plan