UNESCO unveils 25 new biosphere reserves worldwide for sustainable development

27 October 2006

Twenty-five new sites, including 18 in Mexico, have been added to the United Nations global network of protected biosphere reserves where local communities are actively engaged in sustainable development management, the UN announced today.

The new additions – including three in Spain, one trans-boundary site shared between Spain and Morocco, two in France, and one each in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Viet Nam and Malawi – extends the network overseen by the UN’s Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to 507 reserves in 102 countries.

The reserves are part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, which has been pioneering the practice of sustainable development on a scientific basis for over 30 years, said a UNESCO statement released today.

In the reserves, local communities are actively involved in governance and management, research, education, training and monitoring, promoting both socio-economic development and biodiversity conservation.

One new reserve in Mexico – Mariposa Monarca – will afford protection for the Monarch butterfly, which migrates from North America to this site every year, complementing existing co-operation with the Canadian and U.S. authorities responsible for key sites along its migratory routes.

The arrival of the Monarch butterfly attracts large numbers of tourists, providing considerable income for the local population, UNESCO noted.

The additional sites were approved by MAB’s International Coordinating Council during its 19th session, held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 23 to 27 October.


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