What is the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere programme?
UNESCO is the United Nations’ Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organisation. Launched in 1971, its global Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme promotes integration between conservation, learning and sustainable development to bring about solutions to challenges we face locally and globally.
At a glance
The World Network of Biospheres (2023-2024)
View our Video
Professor Martin Price is the Vice-Chair of the UK Man and the Biosphere Committee (2023). He explains what a Biosphere is.
What are its aims?
It's aims are:
Learning, Conservation and Sustainable Development
Learning about the impact our actions have and how we can make decisions and take actions that have a positive effect.
Conservation of our natural and built environment, our culture and heritage, our communities and our special sense of place.
Sustainable development and how we live our lives in a way that sustains our economy, environment and society.
How many Biospheres are there?
There are 748 UNESCO Biospheres in 134 countries (2023). They vary greatly in terms of their population size, geography, ecosystems, socioeconomic situations and challenges. Biospheres therefore have different aims. Yet, all Biospheres have two things in common: a special environment and a population committed to keeping it that way.
Biosphere and us
The MAB Programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environments. It combines the natural and social sciences with a view to improving human livelihoods and safeguarding natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.