Man and Biosphere Reserves, like World Heritage Sites and Geoparks, are of course, a product of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. There are six ‘Biospheres’ in British waters when you include the Isle of Man, and two more in Ireland, contributing to the 669 total in 120 countries around the world. Several more are queuing up to qualify, including the Isle of Wight.
The IUCN National Committee UK has had a connection to the UNESCO UK MAB National Committee for some years and this collaboration aims to help with the conservation of biodiversity in these demonstration models striving for sustainable development. The invitation to join the UK MAB Committee at its latest meeting near Dublin earlier this week was willingly accepted and over the two days much information was exchanged between UK representatives and with Irish colleagues.
Notably, the next biennial European Conference of Man and Biosphere Reserves (EuroMAB) will take place in April 2019 at Dublin Castle hosted by the Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve. This event is expected to have a wide ranging programme set against the delivery of the Lima Action Plan and reporting against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This should also include some assessment of these biosphere’s contribution to achieving the Aichi Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity as we approach the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity in 2020.
Reaching out across our institutional boundaries was a valuable and interesting experience and we are stronger for it. The opportunity to visit Dublin also enabled a fruitful meeting with representatives of Ireland’s new (and currently only) IUCN Member, the Irish Environmental Network. It is hoped that they will be joined in IUCN membership by an Irish government agency member later this year.