UNESCO formalizes the thematic network of Mediterranean biosphere reserves based in Spain

19 June 2023

The XXXV International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MaB) Program has formalized the MedMaB Thematic Network of Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves.

The International Center for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves (UNESCOMED Center) will coordinate the Thematic Network of Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves, the third approved worldwide. The new Thematic Network will coordinate the work carried out by the biosphere reserves of the countries bordering the Mediterranean and will face the current socio-environmental challenges generated by the effects of global change.

The UNESCOMED center promotes an ambitious program to develop scientific and informative activities linked to the network, coordinated by the Forest Science and Technology Center of Catalonia (CTFC) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). An example of this is the establishment in 2018 of the European project ERASMUS+ Edubiomed, endowed with over 1€ M to finance academic and training activities in the participating reserves.

The UNESCO Category II Center for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves was approved by the UNESCO General Assembly in 2013 and was inaugurated by the UNESCO Director General, Mrs. Irina Bokova, in 2014. This center is supported by an agreement signed by UNESCO and an International Agreement signed by UNESCO and Spain that has been renewed in 2022.

The headquarters of the Abertis Foundation, the castle of Castellet, has been the International Center for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves since 2014 under the auspices of UNESCO, and a pioneering model of public-private collaboration within the scope of the MaB Program of UNESCO.

This network, which currently has 74 Biosphere Reserves from 17 Mediterranean countries, joins the two existing UNESCO thematic networks based in Spain: World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves (with a technical secretariat in the Reserve Menorca Biosphere Reserve and another in the Jeju Island Biosphere Reserve in the Republic of Korea), and the World Network of Mountain Biosphere Reserves (with a technical secretariat in the Omaña Valleys Biosphere Reserve and Luna and another at the Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences). In addition, Spain has been exercising since 1997 the function of Secretariat of the Network of MaB National Committees and Biosphere Reserves of Ibero-America and the Caribbean (IberoMaB) by designation of the components of this regional network.

All the above shows Spain’s interest in supporting UNESCO’s thematic and regional networks.

Last modified: 21 June 2023