Friday, May 09, 2008

Madrid Declaration on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)

The representatives of UNESCO Member States, biosphere reserves, and co-operating public and private sector institutions and civil society organizations gathered at the 3rd World Congress of Biosphere Reserves and the 20th session of the International Co-ordinating Council (ICC) of the MAB Programme during 4-8 February 2008 in Madrid, Spain, made the following recommendations:
Convinced of the need to strengthen and support the contributions of MAB and biosphere reserve networks to sustainable development in the context of new and emerging challenges and to document, disseminate and share lessons learned in the context of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD; 2005-2014):
• Urge UNESCO, its Member States and Secretariat, to make optimum use of biosphere reserves for the promotion of sustainable development and the WNBR and associated regional, sub-regional and national networks as forums for exchange of experience and lessons learned during the UNDESD;
• Encourage UNESCO Member States to establish MAB National Committees where they do not yet exist;
• Commit the Secretariat to review the implementation of the Seville Strategy and make recommendations to improve the working practices of the MAB Programme at the global, regional, national and local levels in order to enhance its relevance to sustainable development policies, planning and implementation at all levels;
• Call upon UNESCO to actively pursue coherent approaches and strengthen cooperation within the UN system, particularly with UNDP and UNEP with the aim to enable Member States to use biosphere reserves as places to demonstrate and promote the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other UN targets, such as the commitment of Parties to the Conventions dealing with biological diversity, combating desertification and climate change;
• Call upon UNESCO and international funds for the creation of an innovative mechanism for sustainable funding aimed at reinforcing biosphere reserves, the MAB Programme as well as the regional networks and promote the implementation of the Madrid Action Plan;
• Capitalize upon the potential for action of biosphere reserves to address new challenges such as the loss of traditional knowledge and cultural diversity, demography, loss of arable land, climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development; and, in particular, as places for investments and innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change, to promote the greater use of renewable energy in sustainable futures of rural and urban areas and to enhance and capitalize upon ecosystem services and products in sustainable development for human well-being;
• Build effective partnerships in biosphere reserves through cooperation among all governmental levels, private sector, mass media, civil society organizations, indigenous and local communities, research, monitoring and education centers and other such institutions for the implementation of the Madrid Action Plan during 2008-2013;
• Encourage cooperation between the MAB Programme and the other Intergovernmental Scientific Programmes of UNESCO, the World Heritage Convention and the One UN pilots;
• Promote MAB and WNBR as global, regional and national fora for involving people and generating new ideas to solve local problems and targeted actions to seek a dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship between People and the Biosphere.

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