Global accolade will boost Island’s status

The Isle of Man has earned a major global accolade from UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

The Island has been awarded Biosphere Reserve status by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere programme.

The Island is the first entire jurisdiction in the world to be awarded this accolade.

Biosphere Reserves are ‘special places for people and nature’. The recognition is awarded to areas that demonstrate a successful balance between the two.

There are 669 Biosphere Reserves in 120 countries. They include such iconic sites as Ayers Rock (Uluru), Yellowstone in the USA, the Cape Winelands in South Africa, Mount Kenya and Central Amazon.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), led the nomination for Biosphere Reserve recognition with the support of the rest of Government, business, the third sector, environmental groups and schools.

Two years' work went into providing the detailed evidence needed to gain the accolade, which was ratified at a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve congress in Peru at the weekend – see here.

DEFA will now draw up detailed plans for how it will maximise the potential of its new status.

'In awarding us Biosphere Reserve status, UNESCO is recognising the great relationship between people going about their lives and the wonderful environment we all enjoy,' the Minister said.

'Locally, the accolade will increase awareness of what an enviable place we live in and will hopefully lead to initiatives that increase interaction between people and their surroundings.

'Internationally, gaining such a prestigious status will amplify our reputation both in economic and environmental terms, leading to investment and tourism.'

The Minister went on: 'Crucially, this is not about imposing new restrictions. It is about embracing and enhancing our relationship with our environment.'

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.

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