Johan West speaking at the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, Lima

KBR Presentation in Lima

KBR Presentation at the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima

From 14 to 17 March 2016 I and two other members of our management committee were at this congress where I had the nerve-wrecking experience to address 1500 delegates from 134 countries about the Kogelberg and a new vision for Africa. Luckily, it went well with my talk and it even featured on BBC News.

Organized by the Secretariat of the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB), the Ministry of Environment of Peru (MINAM) and its National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP), and the MAB National Committee of Peru, the objective of this Congress was to review implementation of the Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves 2008-2013, the Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework of 1995.

We assessed lessons learned and new challenges faced by the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and developed an Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves for 2016-2025. Delegates learnt about conservation practices in 10 areas of the planet, implemented by AfriMAB, ArabMAB, EuroMaB, IberoMAB and the MAB networks in Asia.

The plotting out of a ten-year global roadmap for the protection of biodiversity is considered key to the Sustainable Development Goals and the agreements reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21).

In this regard Dr Ruida Pool, chairperson of the management committee who represented Cape Nature, and Western Cape Government’s chief town and regional planner, Willem Smith, who like me paid his own way, gave valuable input.

Exciting news at the congress was that UNESCO added 20 new sites to its network of protected biosphere nature reserves, which brought the total number of biosphere reserves to 671 across 121 countries.

Looking at the photo’s of the gigantic conference centre, won’t you agree that it looks something like a scene from Star Wars? Yes, we have a battle on our hands, but I think we have got a force to reckon with!


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  Vol 3, Issue 1 - March 2016
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