In Harmony with Nature: UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

5 August 2020

The UNESCO Almaty Office in collaboration with the Secretariat of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme has launched a series of webinars entitled "UNESCO MAB Programme in Central Asia in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic".

On 29 July 2020, the first webinar on In Harmony with Nature: The Role of UNESCO MAB Programme took place, which was attended by 222 participants. The online meeting brought together MAB community representatives from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

This series of webinars, held in Russian language, aims to strengthen the capacities of countries to establish and manage Biosphere Reserves as model sites for sustainable development. The webinars are organized primarily for the managers of Biosphere Reserves and other nature protected areas, representatives of MAB National Committees and National Commissions for UNESCO, experts, researchers and youth collaborating under the MAB programme, as well as representatives of governmental agencies on environment and tourism, community representatives and NGOs.

The UNESCO Biosphere Reserves as model sites for sustainable development, illustrating tight links between people and nature, act not only as a mechanism for preserving biodiversity, but also bring benefits to the local communities living there, emphasized Mr Miguel Clusener-Godt, the Secretary of the UNESCO MAB Programme.

Over the last five months, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has affected the entire world, including Central Asia. Theories about its origin underline the need for human beings on this planet to realize, more than ever, the impact of habitat destruction and land use change, not only with respect to climate and biodiversity loss, but also to human health.

The establishment and successful management of Biosphere Reserves within the MAB Programme can be considered as a powerful tool to remedy at least part of the misunderstanding between humankind and nature through the integrated approach of the Programme of valorizing nature via conservation and protection, restoration and sustainable development. The Secretariat of UNESCO's MAB Programme and UNESCO field offices are working closely to continue providing support to countries and MAB communities in these difficult times.

The webinar record is available on the UNESCO Almaty Office Facebook page by this link.


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