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Biosphere reserves

"Sustainable development", the requirement to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, is the model for economics and politics of the 21st century. UNESCO's “Man and the Biosphere” programme (MAB), initiated in 1970, is all about sustainability, in a dedicated interdisciplinary approach.

Its most important instrument are the UNESCO biosphere reserves - here is, where sustainability should actually be implemented. The MAB programme also supports research on especially important ecosystems, e.g. drylands, mountain areas or coastlines, with a view to curbing the loss of biological diversity. The MAB programme is governed by the Intergovernmental Co-ordinating Council (ICC), of which Germany is a member state.

The concept of UNESCO biosphere reserves

UNESCO biosphere reserves are model regions for sustainable development. They strike a balance between the interests of environmental protection and social and economic development.

For more information about the concept follow this link.

You might also click on the video below: this Simple Show, a joint project of the German biosphere reserves, explains very tangibly, what biosphere reserves are.

Flash is required!

The German contribution

15 biosphere reserves in Germany have been recognized by UNESCO. Altogether there are 631 UNESCO biosphere reserve in 119 states worldwide.

DUK cooperates on a day-to-day basis with the German MAB National Committee and its secretariat. In 2007, the DUK General Assembly discussed Biosphere Reserves and DUK published the magazine "UNESCO today"on the topic. In 2008 and 2009, DUK supported MAB-related initiatives in Africa. Its partnership with the company "Danone Waters" supports German biosphere reserves.

In Germany, 2009 was designated as "Year of biosphere reserves", at the occassion of the 30th anniversary of the first designation of "Vessertal" and "Mittelelbe". The Year created public awareness for the unique features of biosphere reserves. Numerous events on-site in the 15 biosphere reserves and a spacious presentation at the German Federal Garden Show in Schwerin were highlights of the year. In 2011, the International Coordinating Council of the MAB Programme will meet in Germany.

Training programme on environmental management

The Technical University Dresden organizes every year an extensive course programme on environmental managment. This training programme is funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment and is co-sponsored by UNESCO and UNEP. The training programme CIPSEM exists since 1978.

UNESCO’s MAB programme

List of all UNESCO biosphere reserves



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