The 5th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves (WCBR) and the 37th session of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) International Co-ordinating Council will be held in China in 2025, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), which holds the MAB China secretariat.

This will be the first time that the WCBR has been held in China, and also in the Asia-Pacific region.

Professor Wang Ding attends the 34th session of the MAB ICC online [IMAGE: MAB CHINA]

“It will help disseminate ecological civilization ideas, and systematically demonstrate China’s achievements in ecological civilization construction in recent years,” said Professor Wang Ding, Secretary-General of the China National Committee for the MAB Programme (MAB China). Wang is also a researcher from CAS’s Institute of Hydrobiology.

The congress will not only be an important moment for the whole MAB community to gather and review the achievements, progress and lessons learned in the past decade, but also a crucial chance to discuss the MAB development strategy and develop an action plan for the World Network of Biosphere Reserves beyond 2025 in the context of key challenging issues such as biodiversity conservation, climate change and SDGs, said Wang.

“UNESCO considers the proposal to host the 5th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in 2025 as a clear demonstration of the continuous and growing engagement of the People’s Republic of China in support of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, regionally and globally,” said Dr. Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO, in her confirmation letter to CAS.

The MAB Programme is an intergovernmental scientific program officially launched by UNESCO in 1971. It focuses on promoting harmonious integration between people and nature by combining natural and social sciences with economics, education and capacity-building.

The World Biosphere Reserve Network (WBRN) built on the basis of this program is the largest and oldest collection of nature reserves in the UNESCO system. At present, it has 738 world biosphere reserves in 134 countries and regions, and covers around five percent of the Earth’s land surface.

The WCBR is the largest international conference in the MAB Programme system. It is held every ten years or so to summarize the development of the MAB Programme and the WBRN in its latest phase, and formulate development strategy and an action plan for the next stage consistent with the external situation. So far, it has been held four times, in Minsk, Seville, Madrid and Lima.

China formally joined the UNESCO MAB Programme in 1973, and MAB China was established in 1978, with the support of CAS in collaboration with other ministries engaged in the administration of environmental conservation, forestry, agriculture, education, ocean and atmospheric studies.

The secretariat of MAB China is based at the CAS headquarters in Beijing.

China has now 34 nature reserves designated by UNESCO into the WNBR. To spread and practice the idea of MAB further, China has also established the Chinese Biosphere Reserve Network (CBRN) consisting of 191 reserves so far.

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

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