The World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves is unveiled at the 35th Meeting of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme
Between June 11th and 14th, the Valles de Omaña y Luna Biosphere Reserve, in its role as the technical secretariat of the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves (WNMBR), had the honor of attending the meeting convened by the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) Office and the 34 Member States that make up the International Coordinating Council (ICC) of UNESCO’s MAB, at its headquarters in Paris.
During the intervention at this event, the WNMBR was presented to the ICC, highlighting the importance of mountains as crucial habitats due to their genetic diversity, species and ecosystems, as well as their cultural value and their role for over a billion people inhabiting them. The challenges faced by mountainous areas due to global change were also discussed, emphasizing the importance of promoting strategies that recognize their value.
A journey through the milestones of the WNMBR since its inception
The importance of the WNMBR as a comprehensive territorial management approach that promotes research, conservation, and sustainable development was emphasized. We discussed the main milestones of the WNMBR up to this point, which include:
Collaboration of six Chinese students in tasks related to the launch of the WNMBR website, with three of them working for four months in 2022 and the remaining three currently incorporated through a collaboration agreement between the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Provincial Council of Lugo (Spain). This agreement established a partnership with the technical secretariat of the WNMBR. These internships are currently coordinated by the Os Ancares Lucenses e Montes de Cervantes, Navia, and Becerreá Biosphere Reserve. These students were responsible for editing and assembling the WNMBR presentation video, which was broadcast during our intervention in Paris.
Publication of the WNMBR website in September 2022.
Publication of the first biannual newsletter of the WNMBR, with the second issue to be shared during the first week of July.
Holding an in-person meeting of the WNMBR at the Valles de Omaña y Luna Biosphere Reserve between March 7th and 11th, 2023, where a work plan for the next two years was designed.
Hosting three online meetings open to all biosphere reserves, research centers, entities, or individuals interested in mountains. During the latest meeting, held on May 23rd, channels for joint work were established by creating three working groups: Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience, Biodiversity, and Participation, and Socioeconomic Aspects. Read the full news here.
To conclude our intervention, we discussed the next steps of the WNMBR, which will include the immediate implementation of six projects and the organization of the first in-person meeting for WNMBR members in China, scheduled for September of this year.
Other topics addressed during the event
During this significant event, we were able to witness important announcements from UNESCO:
- The declaration of 11 new Biosphere Reserves was communicated, and we take this opportunity to congratulate them from this platform. These designations highlight the global commitment to the protection of unique ecosystems and the promotion of sustainable development. Read the full news here.
- The return of the United States to UNESCO was announced, emphasizing the country’s commitment to international cooperation in key areas such as education, science, and the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.
- The thematic network of Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves was approved to strengthen collaboration among countries in the region to address common challenges.
- Furthermore, an overview was given of the functioning of the MAB program in each country.