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UNESCO Chairs in relation to biosphere reserves

The UNESCO Chair/Biosphere Reserve model is a space for collaboration and dialogue between scientific actors on the one side and politicians and biosphere reserve managers on the other, with a view to bringing together science and participatory and adaptive environmental management.

Biosphere reserves provide a space for demonstrating sustainable development through the participation of all actors involved in the management and administration of a biosphere reserve.

The UNESCO Chair working within the biosphere reserve provides scientific support to politicians and managers through applied research related to challenges facing the biosphere reserve (identified by all stakeholders). The UNESCO Chair aims to create and disseminate knowledge related to multiple disciplines that is useful both for managers and local communities. The UNESCO Chair also provides targeted training for stakeholders and communication campaigns at all levels.

The UNESCO Chair/Biosphere Reserve model comprises two UNESCO programmes: the UNITWIN programme and UNESCO Chairs, from the Education Sector and the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme of the Natural Sciences Sector. This alliance represents an important contribution to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

UNESCO Chairs at the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves

During the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves (14–17 March, Lima, Peru), UNESCO Etxea – UNESCO Basque Country Centre organized a side event on the topic of collaboration between biosphere reserves, UNESCO Chairs and UNESCO Category 2 Centres. The event featured the participation of the Basque Government, the UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Development and Environmental Education, the University of the Basque Country (Spain), the UNESCO Chair on Biosphere Reserves and Urban Environmental – Instituto de Ecologia (Mexico), the UNESCO Office in Jakarta, the UNESCO Chair in South-South Cooperation for Sustainable Development, the Federal University of Pará (Brazil), the Ecole Régionale Postuniversitaire d’Aménagement et de Gestion Intégrés des Forets et Territoires Tropicaux (ERAIFT) – a UNESCO Category 2 Centre (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the Centro Internacional para las Reservas de la Biosfera Mediterráneas – also a UNESCO Category 2 Centre. The side event aimed to demonstrate concrete and replicable results for adaptive management of biosphere reserves and sustainability science. Examples from different regions, types of institutions and research focus were presented to allow participants to understand the potential of these alliances to achieve the goals of each biosphere reserve, and to enhance the contribution of universities to the implementation of the Lima Action Plan for UNESCO’s MAB programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (2016–2025).

UNESCO Chairs working in line with the Lima Action Plan

The Lima Congress capitalized on previous experiences to encourage UNESCO Chairs and the recently nominated UNESCO Category 2 Centres linked with the MAB Programme and the World Network of Biosphere Reserve to work in line with the Lima Action Plan.

The following UNESCO Chairs contribute to the achievements of the MAB programme objectives and the Lima Action Plan:

  • UNESCO Chair in Sustainable development and environmental education.
  • UNESCO Chair in South-South Cooperation for Sustainable Development at the Federal University of Para (Brazil).
  • UNESCO Chair on Biosphere Reserves and urban environment at the Institute of Ecology in Xalapa, Mexico.
  • UNESCO Chair in Biosphere Reserves and Natural and Mixed World Heritage Sites, University for International Cooperation, Costa Rica.
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