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UNESCO’s MAB-ICC added 20 new Biosphere Reserves during its 33rd session in Abuja, Nigeria

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UNESCO adds 20 new sites to World Network of Biosphere ReservesThe 33rd session of the International Co-ordinating Council of the UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) MAB (Man and the Biosphere) Programme (MAB-ICC) was held in a hybrid format on September 13-17, 2021 in Abuja, Nigeria.

  • This was the first time that it was held in the African continent.
  • During the programme, 20 new sites in 21 countries were added to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (BRs) reaching the total number to 727 Biosphere in 131 countries, including 22 transboundary sites.

The Newcomers:

i.The sites from Lesotho (Matseng BR), Libya (Ashaafean BR) and Saudi Arabia (Juzur Farasan BR) are designated for the first time.

ii.In the Amazon of Europe (Europe), the 5-country BR, Mura-Drava-Danube becomes the first MAB site to be co-managed by quintet viz. Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia.

iii.Other 16 BRs are as follows:

CountryBiosphere Reserves
CanadaAtl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound
FranceMartinique; and Moselle Sud
ItalyMonte Grappa
KazakhstanKolsai Kolderi
MalaysiaPenang Hill
MongoliaUvs Lake Depression Transboundary
Russian FederationKuznetsky Alatau; and Mountain Great Bogdo
SpainRibeira Sacra E Serras Do Oribio E Courel
ThailandDoi Chiang Dao
UzbekistanLower Amudarya State
Viet NamNui Chua; and Kon ha Nung

Extension, Rezoning or Renaming of existing BRs

The MAB-ICC also approved the extension or re-zoning of two existing biosphere reserves namely:

i.Appennino Tosco Emiliano BR, Italy– It was extended by 275,384 ha (Hectare) and now encompasses a total of 498,613 ha.

ii.Lauca Biosphere Reserve, Chile– Its area was extended from 358,000 ha to 1,026,567 ha.

Key Points:

i.UNESCO’s BRs now cover more than 5% of the Earth’s landmass

ii.ICC is the governing council of MAB consisting of 34 Member States, which have a rotating elected membership.

  • The MAB programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme to enhance the relationship between people and their environments, scientifically.
  • ICC designates new BRs on an annual basis.

iii.Notably, 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of MAB. It was established in 1971.

Recent Related News:

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister (CM) of Madhya Pradesh(MP) virtually launched UNESCO’s ‘Historic Urban Landscape Project’ for the city of Gwalior and Orchha.

About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):

Establishment– 1945
Director-General– Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters– Paris, France