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Man and the Biosphere

Slovenia and Italy have submitted a common request to UNESCO for the creation of a transboundary Biosphere Reserve in the Julian Alps. This initiative aims at merging existing national biosphere reserves (the Slovenian Julian Alps Reserve, established in 2003 and the Italian Julian Prealps reserve, established in 2019).

The permanent representatives of both countries to UNESCO, Ambassador Metka Ipavic and Ambassador Liborio Stellino, submitted the proposal to the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program’s secretariat in the name of Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps National Park. The proposal is a great opportunity to promote cooperation in the field of environment protection in a cross-border area.

The Man and the Biosphere Program is an intergovernmental scientific initiative launched by UNESCO in 1971 in order to improve the relationship between Man and the environment.

The Program’s main goal is the rational and sustainable management of biosphere resources, which implies working on the improvement of the human capacity to use natural resources in an efficient way, focusing on biodiversity preservation and on the adoption of sustainable practices that take the impact on the environment into consideration.

In order to meet these ambitious goals, the MAB Program builds upon a great variety of scientific disciplines such as natural sciences, social sciences, economics and education that, together, form a key tool to create awareness and involve local communities.

In the current context, the MAB Program focuses on several key fields including challenges related to climate change and biodiversity loss. This implies the identification of biosphere changes related to human and natural activity as well as the understanding of dynamic interactions between ecosystems and socioeconomic processes.

Another fundamental aspect of the program are the Biosphere Reserves. These areas, which include terrestrial, aquatic and costal ecosystems or a combination of them, are living scientific and environmental sustainability cooperation laboratories. Each reserve is divided in three areas: a central one that is legally established and bound to receive a long-term protection that meets biosphere reserves’ conservation goals; a buffer zone that is contiguous to the central area and destined to activities that are compatible with conservation goals; and a transitional area where sustainable resource management policies are developed and promoted.

The MAB Program is also committed in the promotion of knowledge exchange regarding challenges and environmental solutions and in the strengthening of environmental education for sustainable development.

In conclusion, this UNESCO project is a milestone in the scientific approach to creating a sustainable future for humanity and the environment and it will continue its work in favour of knowledge exchange, environmental solutions and education.

To know more, visit UNESCO’s website:

Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) | UNESCO