Biosphere reserves are considered model regions for sustainable development. They work to promote the conservation of biological and cultural diversity in addition to economic and social development. In each biosphere reserve, community partners work together to find innovative ways to achieve a balance between the needs of humans and nature.

UNESCO biosphere reserves have three functions:

Promoting the conservation of biodiversity: To contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.

Fostering sustainable development: To foster economic and human development which is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable.

Supporting research and education: To provide support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development.

Guiding Documents

There is no prescribed recipe or structure for meeting UNESCO's biosphere reserve mandate. However, there are several foundational documents developed by UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme that guide us in our work:

  1. The Seville Strategy and Statutory Framework for Biosphere Reserves

  2. Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves (2008-2013)

  3. Man and the Biosphere Programme Strategy (2015-2025)

  4. Lima Action Plan final draft (2016-2025)