Is the “Biosphere reserve” a UNESCO classification?
Yes. The designation “Biosphere reserve” is a UNESCO classification, but it’s more than that. The process involves a proposal of a suitably high standard, which must meet internationally accepted criteria.
However, it is not just a simple classification; it also involves establishing a local sustainable development project, specific objectives, and a means of measuring the results.
This is in line with the Seville Strategy, whose recognized management principles are applied. This includes zoning and complementarity of the three functions of Biosphere reserves: conservation, development, and support through research, education, and local community involvement. Above all, a “Biosphere reserve” strives for excellence in the application of these principles, as well as a strong commitment towards sustainable development.
Designation as a Biosphere reserve also ensures membership in the global network of Biosphere reserves, and consequently, a role in one of the regional networks. This membership brings benefits, such as the experience of other members, having a network of partners ready to assist as needed, and being able to share views on management issues. Membership also brings with it obligations, that is, exchange of information and participation in joint projects.
What is the difference between a Biosphere reserve and a World Heritage Site?
Inclusion on the World Heritage List indicates a site’s outstanding universal value. The designation of a Biosphere reserve is a dynamic process that involves local stakeholders creating and supporting a sustainable development project in their region, applying globally recognized management principles, as outlined in the Seville Strategy published by UNESCO in 1995. Designation as a Biosphere reserve also ensures membership in a global network of exchange and cooperation between designated sites, motivated by shared principles.
What does the MAB France committee do?
MAB France coordinates and manages the French network of 10 Biosphere reserves, assists in setting up new sites, as well as liaising and cooperating with the international network.