It is three years this month since the Isle of Man was admitted to the UNESCO world network of Biospheres – and I wanted to update you on work going on within the project and thank you for your contributions and commitment to it.
Central to the work of UNESCO Biospheres is encouraging our community to work towards a sustainable future for our Island.
My Government is striving to reduce the amount of single-use plastic consumed in the first place, littering our landscape and polluting our waterways. In January, Biosphere Isle of Man became the licensed Isle of Man operator for the UK-wide Refill scheme and, already, almost 100 premises have signed up to display the blue Refill sticker, appear on the app and offer free tap water refills to residents and visitors alike. It is great that there has been such positive take-up and accessing water is now easy when out shopping, exercising or sightseeing.
We continue to work with education and on encouraging our youngest citizens to take an active role in a better future for our Island. Geoffrey Boot MHK the Environment Minister, was pleased to help Girlguiding Isle of Man launch a special ‘Biosphere Badge’ for tasks related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We also took part in the popular Trees for Life event at Conrhenny Plantation and regularly work with schools and University College Isle of Man.
We were also pleased to join Visit Isle of Man at Destinations: the Holiday and Travel Show in London in February, speaking to potential visitors about our Biosphere.
This week, Bill Dale BEM, of Beach Buddies, represented our Biosphere at the Science Museum, London, taking part in UNESCO UK-curated event exploring how UNESCO is assisting in solving global challenges.
Next week, we’ll be at EuroMAB, the biennial gathering of European and American Biospheres. We will showcase the Government and other key stakeholders’ marine stewardship success, the efforts Bill Dale BEM and his volunteers at cleaning beaches and, via Culture Vannin, the vibrancy of the Manx language. We will also showcase the collaborative work going on between local food and drink producers in a video that will be screened at the event’s high-profile launch day.
We continue to grow our Partnership scheme and are delighted when businesses, charities, local authorities and other organisations commit to our six-part Pledge and contribute to our journey to a more sustainable future.
While a proud participant in the global network of Biospheres, the Stakeholder Partnership Group, which I am honoured to chair, is working to create a local vision and strategy that specifically serves our unique Biosphere and everyone in it. We’ll be consulting publicly on that and would welcome your views.
There is lots more happening across the project, and some interesting events and activities coming up. Keep in touch via this newsletter and via our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels or contact the project direct on Biosphere@gov.im
Hon Howard Quayle MHK, Chief Minister.