Contour Project Managers CC , appointed to handle the registration of the Biosphere will commence with public participation soon. One of the guiding principles of UNESCO Biospheres is to give priority to "projects aiming at making biosphere reserves fully functional with effective participation of local communities and different sectors of society".

Why engage the public?

Our role as the stakeholders in the establishment and on-going functioning of the Biosphere is central. Our activities, resources and wellbeing are already tied up with the region. Through the structures this project introduces, we have the opportunity to shape and collectively enhance the manner in which development of man and nature takes place.

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. Biospheres in this programme specifically call for conservation and sustainable development to proceed along mutually supportive paths. That requires cultural sensitivity, scientific expertise and consensus-driven policy and decision making.

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.

In this newsletter: Vincent and Jane Carruthers visit Finland, a private, self-funded tour with no formal connections to the Finnish initiatives in the Biosphere. They went, among other reasons, to see if there are private and NGO initiatives which could be emulated or adapted to enhance sustainable tourism in the Magaliesberg.

They visited and met with Päivi Halinen, Head of the Nature and Cultural Heritage Unit, Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Kari Hallantie, the Park Director at the Kvarken World Heritage Site and Hanna Lindblom, of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who provided informative material about the proposed Biosphere in the Lake Päijänne region.

 Magaliesberg Biosphere

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