Programme / Biosphere reserves: shining gems of natural ecosystems

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Tuesday / 6 DEC

14:30 - 16:00

Side event:
Biosphere reserves: shining gems of natural ecosystems
Venue: Meeting Rooms 1.43-1.44

Many of the risks threatening humankind, apart from anthropogenic factors (e.g. global war, rogue artificial intelligence, cyberterrorism and pandemics) are in the domain of earth system governance. One example is the degradation of natural ecosystems and the associated decline in biodiversity. UNESCO, with the aim of improving the relationship between people and their environment, launched its Man and the Biosphere Programme. Today, 51 years later, more than 700 biosphere reserves exist in ca. 130 countries, including several transboundary sites. Almost half of them are under UNESCO patronage. Africa, due to its high biodiversity is a perfect location for Biosphere Reserves.

Biosphere reserves are a unique endeavour to integrate research, nature conservation and sustainable development. They play a key role in protecting and presenting ecosystems that are endangered by industrialization and agricultural intensification. It is important to point out that besides provisioning services the ecosystem provides other important services such as supporting, regulating and cultural ones. Protected areas can also preserve indigenous knowledge thus providing societal benefits.

Any effort to move towards sustainability requires a forward-looking stewardship that is committed to increase the resilience of the natural ecosystems by the recent developments in circular bioeconomy. Furthermore, soil and water resources must also be protected.

A wide-ranging international cooperation is needed to promote the responsible and sustainable use of ecosystem resources. Scientific evidence should be the basis of dialogues between the stakeholders, such as governments, regulators and NGOs.

In this session outstanding experts of the field will deliver thought-provoking presentations that would be followed by a lively discussion of the topic. Experts will be invited to shed light on various aspects of the Regional Biosphere Reserves. The prevention of this unique network of UNESCO-recognized biological resources will also be discussed. An interactive roundtable event will conclude the session with different stakeholders.