Pacific Biosphere Reserves Network: A tool for Exchange and Cooperation
Status of initiative: Inactive
Description/achievement of initiative

The dialogue is an existing partnership focusing on biodiversity for sustainable development to be recognised and showcased during the third SIDS Conference. The UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) have adopted years ago an inclusive and holistic approach towards sustainable development, notably through Biosphere Reserves. Biosphere Reserves, living and learning laboratories for sustainable development, are sites established by countries and recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science. Through the years, these sites have proved they were efficient mechanisms not only for protecting what is in danger but also for preserving what is unique. Today, Biosphere Reserves are a recognized tool for monitoring, mitigating and adapting to the impacts of Climate Change as well as to sustainably manage the rich and unique biological and cultural diversity globally. In this respect, they are places which seek to reconcile economic development, social development and environmental protection through pragmatic and practical partnerships between people and nature, at the local, regional and international level.Currently, the UNESCO MAB Programme and the UNESCO Apia, Office for the Pacific States have embarked on a fresh initiative to revitalize the Pacific Biosphere Reserve Network (PacMAB) primarily through its 4th Meeting, which took place in Nadi, Fiji, 23-25 April 2014. The meeting allowed participants to acknowledge better each other needs, aspirations and expectations regarding the MAB programme and the establishment of Biosphere Reserves as tool for sustainable development in the Pacific. It was the occasion to reaffirm the uniqueness of the cultural, social and environmental features of the Pacific Islands and the necessity not only to protect but also to develop these significant attributes. To achieve these goals, the participants have demonstrated their strong interest in the pursuit of Biosphere Reserve objectives in the Pacific by recognizing Biosphere Reserves and PacMAB as vehicles for integrating biodiversity conservation management and sustainable development. In this regard, it was unanimously stated that that Biosphere Reserves were ideal places to reconcile economic development, social development and environmental protection, through partnerships between people and their environment in the Pacific region. This partnership will contribute for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States by:1. Strengthening the PacMAB network2. Nominations of new biosphere reserves 3. Promoting sustainable use of natural resources and sustainable development in the Pacific SIDS4. Enhancing environmental monitoring, research, training and capacity building

Implementation methodologies

To date, PacMAB network is composed of eleven Pacific countries with new countries recently involved and participants coming from Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Nauru, Niue, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga. The 4th PacMAB meeting demonstrated that once more Pacific Small Islands have many opportunities to seize to build pragmatic and long term partnership. Through the statement adopted by unanimity during the last day of the Conference keynote for the meeting and for PacMAB overall- the participants have notably committed themselves to intensify their efforts in the long term to: - Collaborate actively for the strengthening of the PacMAB;- Renew their effort for the already proposed sites to become Biosphere Reserve while identifying new pilot sites in light of the outcomes of discussions held during the Conference;- Promote actively the concept of Biosphere Reserve as a significant tool for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Pacific Islands States during the Third International Conference on Small Islands developing States to be held 1-4 September 2014 in Apia.This ambitious set of objectives emphasizes explicitly that the 4th PacMAB meeting was a significant step forward. It has opened the door to long term efforts for positive and concrete changes in the Pacific in the context of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.UNESCO Apia, Office for the Pacific State will provide its full support to the members of PacMAB -among others who may join- for them to tackle the upcoming challenges as well as to translate their commitment into reality.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

The process of biosphere reserve nomination always depends on awareness raising and consultation with different stakeholders and the community. Moreover, the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) and concept of biosphere reserve is founded on enhancing monitoring, research, training and capacities building in order for people to improve their relationship with the environment while improving and sustaining their livelihood.

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

Through the UNESCO MAB Programme, in particular PacMAB focal points


UNDP, SPREP, IUCN, WWF, Jeju Korea, Pacific SIDS
1. Pacific Biosphere Network strengthened (e.g. increase PacMAB focal points , partners, web portal developed and branding)
2. Improved environmental monitoring, research , training and capacity building
3. Nomination of at least two additional Biosphere Reserves in the Polynesia and Melanesia region of the Pacific
Resources devoted to implementation
Financing (in USD)
Staff / Technical expertise
Progress reports
This initiative fulfils the SMART criteria.
Date of completion: On-going
Operating in countries
Contact information/focal point(s)
Serena Heckler, s.heckler@unesco.org

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