The Valles de Omaña and Luna Biosphere Reserve in León, together with the Eco-Environmental Research Center of China, in their capacity as joint technical secretariat of the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves, organized the first in-person meeting of the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves from September 18 to 22, 2023, in Dujiangyan, Sichuan, China. The event brought together 60 participants, including representatives from Mountain Biosphere Reserves, related organizations, experts, and academics from 17 countries across five continents.
Some of the objectives addressed during these working days have been:
- Approve the roadmap of the WNMRC for the next two years in plenary session.
- Make progress in the identification and definition of best practices in biodiversity, climate change, participation, and socioeconomics in mountain biosphere reserves, and strengthen the exchange of experiences.
- Identify opportunities and project proposals to be implemented by and within the WNMRC.
- Plan the contribution of the WNMRC to the Five-Year Action for the Development of Mountain Regions and the International Year of Glacier Preservation in 2025.
- Prepare contributions from the WNMRC for the upcoming Action Plan of UNESCO’s MAB Program.
After the arrival of all participants, on September 19th, the opening session took place, attended by key regional authorities. This was followed by the approval of the Roadmap of the WNMRC 2023-2025, initial working group sessions, and a presentation of a proposal for a technical exchange program and an international internship program for young researchers within the network.
Over the next two days, the agenda was structured around a series of workshops focusing on three main areas of interest: climate change, biodiversity, and community empowerment. The objective was to develop a methodology for identifying best practices and their replicability and scalability within the network. This methodology will be further refined in an upcoming online meeting of the working groups created for this purpose, scheduled for October.
There was also an opportunity for the presentation of inspiring projects being carried out in mountain biosphere reserves worldwide. Over 50 experiences were collected, from which 10 were selected to be shared with all participants.
The facilitation of the meeting has been the responsibility of the Altekio cooperative, which has been supporting the network in its development, governance design, and work plan since March 2023.
One of the most significant outcomes of this meeting has been the identification of common interests among different participants and the opening of possibilities for collaboration and the design of joint projects. This cross-cutting and international framework for action is one of the primary contributions of the WNMRC to the network of mountain biosphere reserves as a whole.