The 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.
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:
|France||Martinique; and Moselle Sud|
|Mongolia||Uvs Lake Depression Transboundary|
|Russian Federation||Kuznetsky Alatau; and Mountain Great Bogdo|
|Spain||Ribeira Sacra E Serras Do Oribio E Courel|
|Thailand||Doi Chiang Dao|
|Uzbekistan||Lower Amudarya State|
|Viet Nam||Nui 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.
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.
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About United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Director-General– Audrey Azoulay
Headquarters– Paris, France