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Presentation about the Island's united nations biosphere project

The Isle of Man's bid to gain international recognition as a special place for nature and people will be the focus of a presentation at the Manx Museum on Thursday night.

Professor Peter Bridgewater will talk about the 'UNESCO Biosphere Vannin' project at the event, which is being organised by the United Nations Association of the Isle of Man to mark UN Day.

Biosphere reserves are designated by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as areas that balance the needs of nature, business and people.

Their main purpose is to encourage conservation, sustainable development and active involvement in the environment.

In a similar way to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, biosphere reserves are acknowledged as shining examples to the rest of the world.

The Isle of Man is bidding to become the first jurisdiction in its entirety to be awarded biosphere reserve status. If successful, the island would join an illustrious list of international biosphere sites, including Uluru (Ayres Rock) in Australia, Cape Winelands in South Africa and the Camargue Delta in France.

As well as providing an opportunity to raise global awareness of the Isle of Man, the UNESCO bid also recognises that having an exceptional natural environment side-by-side with hi-tech industry is a key factor in the drive to grow and diversify the Manx economy.

Professor Bridgewater, who now lives in the Isle of Man, is a former secretary of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere programme and also served as chairman of the UK's Joint Nature Conservation Committee during a distinguished career.

He will provide a unique insight into 45 years of UNESCO action in the biosphere, and explain why the local community should unite behind the Biosphere Vannin project, which is being co-ordinated by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.

Attendance at the UN Day reception and address is by invitation only. Information and invitations can be sought from iomuna@manx.net

Meanwhile, the competition to capture an image that showcases the Isle of Man's special qualities has attracted an enthusiastic response.

The winning digital photograph will become a focal point of the Biosphere Vannin campaign and appear in publicity material to support the Isle of Man's nomination.

There is still time to enter the competition, which features six different categories – Glens, Uplands, Farmland, Coast, Culture, Towns and Villages.

The deadline for all submissions is 5pm on Friday, November 15. A shortlist of up to 10 entries in each category will be drawn up in December, with the overall winner and category prize winners announced in January 2014.

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