WANT TO Get Involved?

If you love the Isle of Man and want to help keep it special, there are a variety of ways to get involved in UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man projects.

Here are a few suggestions.


UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. It was established after World War Two and seeks to build peace through international cooperation.

This is the scientific word for the living surface of our planet.

Biospheres are created under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, a sister programme to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Creative Cities and Geoparks. The MAB Programme was 50 years old in 2021.

Biospheres promote conservation, learning and sustainable development to create a balanced relationship between people and the rest of nature that will benefit both in the long term.

The Isle of Man has an outstanding combination of landscapes, nature, wildlife, culture and heritage, a strong sense of community and a resilient, diverse, modern, economy to support these.

Several years of work by Government and other major stakeholders led to the Isle of Man submitting nomination papers to UNESCO in 2015 and the Isle of Man was admitted to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by the International Coordinating Council in 2016.

The two-full time UNESCO Biosphere officers work for, and the budget is held at, the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, a Department of the Isle of Man Government.

A Stakeholder Partnership Group, chaired by the Chief Minister and comprising 18 bodies, steers UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man. The group has its own terms of reference. The Biosphere reports to the UK Man and the Biosphere Committee and, ultimately, oversight is with UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme secretariat in Paris. The UK National Commission for UNESCO guides all UNESCO designations in the UK and Isle of Man and involves the Isle of Man in initiatives and reports.

The Biosphere is divided into core areas, care areas and sustainable development areas.

Core areas are at the heart of the Biosphere and are areas that are already legally protected because of their special features. They include the Ayres National Nature Reserve and the Calf of Man. See 'UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man'.

Care areas are managed in a way that’s compatible with conservation and include Manx Wildlife Trust nature reserves and Manx National Heritage monuments. See 'UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man'.

This is the rest of the Isle of Man, urban and rural, and where most of us live and work. See 'UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man'.

The Island's Biosphere status confirms it as a place that cares about and is committed to a sustainable future. It is a driver for good decision-making, instils pride in our Island among our population and allows the Island to connect up with, and learn from, a global network of UNESCO sites.

Nowhere is 'perfect' but the Island's Biosphere status encourages us to strike the best balance possible between sustainable development and conservation of what we hold dear, with learning and research an important part of this.

The Isle of Man Biosphere will undergo a periodic review in 2026 (10 years after it became a Biosphere) during which UNESCO will evaluate the Island's progress against its initial nomination papers, the MAB Programme's priorities at the time and other areas. The period review process can be seen on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme website.

UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man is situated in DEFA, whose expert officers scrutinise, comment on and recommend surveys in relation to planning applications and the environmental protection legislation that they implement.

Biosphere is not enshrined in law and has no 'powers'. Instead, it is a driver for good decision-making and positive actions that benefit our Island and our planet.

Businesses can greatly influence sustainability through the decisions they make and actions they take. They can also influence their workforces and customers to adopt sustainable practices. Businesses that are Biosphere Partners benefit from an exclusive facebook page, training and promotion and can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.

The project has a budget of £50,000 a year and two officers, a project officer and a project assistant. However, the cross-community, collaborative, nature of the project means much valuable work is achieved at no cost.

Unfortunately not. However, many 'Biosphere projects' may be eligible for Manx Lottery Trust funding or attract private sponsorship or support.


If you love the Isle of Man and want to help keep it special, there are a variety of ways to get involved in UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man projects. Here are a few suggestions.

Please help us spread the word about Biosphere Isle of Man!