The World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves: A Roadmap for Sustainable Development

May 26, 2023

Author: Miranda García (AEIDL)

The World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves, coordinated by UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme, and co-managed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Spanish Mountain Biosphere Reserve of Valles de Omaña y Luna, held a virtual meeting on 24 May 2023. The aim of this event was to present globally the network’s roadmap for the next two years, fostering collaborative efforts and joint work until year-end.

Of the 727 biosphere reserves in the world, 474 are located in mountain areas, and the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves aims to bring them together to better address their specific needs and challenges. It is dedicated to creating research opportunities and fostering knowledge exchanges on environmental and social issues relevant to mountain biosphere reserves.

Since its kick-off meeting, the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves has progressed in consolidation collaboration among its members. Several events have been organised to introduce the network’s objectives and highlight its contributions to sustainable development and biodiversity conservation in mountain biosphere reserves.

The meeting on 24 May revolved around the presentation of the roadmap for the next two years (2023-2025), focusing on three major objectives and the corresponding actions required to achieve them:

Research for Actionable Knowledge:

  • Sharing small, affordable, and creative initiatives that address global change adaptation at the local level.
  • Exchanging tools for monitoring biodiversity and socio-economic dynamics to identify network-wide needs.

Support Adaptive Management:

  • Creating a communication platform for managers of Mountain Biosphere Reserves to share best practices.
  • Developing a capacity-building program to enhance collaboration among network members.

Empowerment and Engagement:

  • Highlight the values of mountain natural resources and mountain communities.
  • Designing a program focused on youth engagement, recognizing them as the future stewards of these regions, encouraging their studies, research, and living experiences in these areas.
  • Establishing a shared platform for network members to compile participatory methodologies developed by researchers and practitioners.

Building on this roadmap and considering the main themes affecting mountain biosphere reserves, such as biodiversity conservation, climate change, and sustainable resource management, the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves presented three working groups: Climate change adaptation and resilience, biodiversity, and participation and socio-economics.

The next meeting, scheduled for September, will be held in China, offering an invaluable opportunity for in-person collaboration and knowledge exchange.

In relation to this, the MOVING project has recently published the briefing “Protected Natural Sites in MOVING Regions“, authored by Blanca Casares, Julie de Galard and Alexandre Duporte. This report offers valuable insights into the added value and development implications of these protected areas for mountain regions and their selected value chains, contributing to the overall objectives of the project.

On 5 October 2023, MOVING will organise its third European Multi-Actor Platform (EU MAP) webinar, focused on showcasing the results of this briefing. The event aims to shed light on the barriers and opportunities linked to the presence of natural sites in mountain areas, its implications for mountain value chains, and good practices. Furthermore, the webinar will delve into the latest progress on the EU’s biodiversity strategy, particularly focusing on the Nature Restoration Law.