The UNESCO "Man and the Biosphere" (MAB) Programme convened for the first time in 1971 and laid the foundations for a new type of conservation area - biosphere reserves. It declared the harmonious development of man and nature to be its key goal. Biosphere reserves represent a global network of model regions in which sustainable forms of use and options for adaptation to changing ecological, economic and social conditions can be tested, involving all stakeholder.

The engagement with and contribution of stakeholders in the establishment and on-going functioning of the Biosphere is therefore central. The activities, resources and wellbeing of all stakeholders are already tied up with the region. Through the structures the MAB Programme introduces, there is the opportunity to shape and collectively enhance the manner in which development of man and nature takes place.

The MAB Programme met in June 2011 to discuss the role of a global network of more than 560 biospheres in more than 100 countries, specifically on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The MAB Programme has research as a central component, and has pursued innovative approaches in the real-world models (the biospheres).  These approaches go far beyond nature conservation and are viable models for a sustainable way of life.
In the domains of sustainable land use, green economies, safeguarding ecosystem services, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, biospheres are effective instruments.
The Dreden Declaration which resulted from the June gathering, makes recommendations.

These include:

  • Place greater focus on the capacities of biosphere reserves and programmes for mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change, and improve integrating their contributions into national and international climate strategies and policies
  • Develop biosphere reserves further as model regions for sustainable development, and deploy good practices and experience gained as widely as possible,
  • Support problem-oriented, interdisciplinary and applied research, monitoring and evaluation, including traditional knowledge, in relation to climate change and its impacts on biosphere and incorporate the outcomes of these activities programmes and projects
  • Intensify efforts to use biosphere reserves as learning sites for sustainable development, which communicate how biodiversity conservation sustains the flow of ecosystem services and supports the creation of economic opportunities
  • Support innovative economic instruments and activities that combine climate change mitigation and adaptation, with maintenance of the integrity of ecosystems and biodiversity as well as social development, including the needs of local and indigenous communities, in particular in the context of extraction of natural resources and the generation of energy
  • Incorporate the idea of biosphere reserves into development cooperation to a greater degree, and support corresponding projects that link poverty eradication, biodiversity conservation and climate protection
  • Develop and strengthen partnerships with the private sector in order to identify, develop and promote local, national and international markets for sustainably produced productsand services, and to advance climate-friendly economic practices in these areas.
  • Establish adequate legislative, administrative and institutional frameworks at national and/or local level for biosphere reserves, equip these with appropriate competences, andprovide adequate funding and staff for the administration of biosphere reserves and their functions,
  • Promote the role of land use in carbon sequestration, through implementing and assessing the voluntary carbon programme, to improve learning about impacts, markets, and practices, as well as to develop improved methodologies and disseminate the lessons learned

Download the original document: Dresden Declaration on Biosphere Reserves and Climate Change, 28 June 2011

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