Man and the Biosphere Programme

  • Launched in 1971, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.
  • MAB combines the natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and the equitable sharing of benefits, and to safeguard natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate, and environmentally sustainable.
  • Its World Network of Biosphere Reserves currently counts 669 sites in 120 countries all over the world, including 20 transboundary sites.

By focusing on sites internationally recognized within the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the MAB Programme strives to:

  • identify and assess the changes in the biosphere resulting from human and natural activities and the effects of these changes on humans and the environment, in particular in the context of climate change;
  • study and compare the dynamic interrelationships between natural/near-natural ecosystems and socio-economic processes, in particular in the context of accelerated loss of biological and cultural diversity with unexpected consequences that impact the ability of ecosystems to continue to provide services critical for human well-being;
  • ensure basic human welfare and a liveable environment in the context of rapid urbanization and energy consumption as drivers of environmental change;
  • promote the exchange and transfer of knowledge on environmental problems and solutions, and to foster environmental education for sustainable development.