3rd World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, 4-9 February 2008

23/01/2008

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3rd World Congress of Biosphere Reserves

What does the future hold for biosphere reserves? What measures must be taken for them to meet the challenges of today? These questions will be the focus of debates at the third World Congress of Biosphere Reserves which will take place in Madrid (Spain) from 4 to 9 February 2008. The Congress will also take stock of the current Biosphere Reserves Programme and define objectives for the five years ahead.

Presentations by the Prince of Asturias, Felipe de Borbón y Grecia, and the Spanish Minister for the Environment, Cristina Narbona, will open the meeting. The event will bring together environment ministers, UNESCO representatives, scientists, policy-makers and biosphere reserve managers. They will also attend the 20th International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme which will take place at the same time as the Congress. In all, some 1000 participants from all over the world are expected.

The Congress is due to end with the adoption of the Madrid Action Plan, which aims to provide new impetus to the Programme for 2008-2013. The Plan will seek to give biosphere reserves the means to adapt to such challenges as global warming and to encourage the development of transboundary and even transcontinental reserves.

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves to date numbers 529 sites in 105 countries. A wide variety of ecosystems are covered, from coastal regions and islands to mountains, wetlands, tropical forests and deserts. The Mata Atlantica (Brazil), Burkina Faso’s “Mare aux Hippopotames” (hippopotamus pond), Mount Hakusan (Japan), the forest of Fontainebleau (France) and Morocco’s “Oasis du Sud” (southern oasis) all belong to the network. As real laboratories of sustainable development, biosphere reserves seek to reconcile the preservation of biodiversity with the wise use of natural resources and human activity.

The first two World Congresses of Biosphere Reserves were held in Minsk (Belarus) in 1984 and in Seville (Spain) in 1995.

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The Congress will be held in the Palacio Municipal de Congresos (Campo de las Naciones), Av. de la Capital de España Madrid s/n, 28042 Madrid

Journalists wishing to attend must request accreditation.

Contacts:
María Fernández, Agencia AC Comunicación Global. Tel : +34 91 571 50 05.
prensa@accomunication.com
Lucía Iglesias Kuntz
l.iglesias@unesco.org
UNESCO / BPI

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