The UNESCO Biosphere Programme
The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme aiming to set a scientific basis for the improvement of the relationships between people and their environment globally. Launched in the early 1970s, it proposes an interdisciplinary research agenda and capacity building that target the ecological, social and economic dimensions of biodiversity loss and the reduction of this loss.
Concerned with problems at the interface of scientific, environmental, societal and development issues, MAB combines natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and safeguard natural ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that is socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.
The agenda of the MAB Prorgamme is defined by its main governing body, the International Co-ordinating Council in concertation with the broader MAB Community.
Sub-programmes and activities focus on specific ecosystems: mountains; drylands; tropical forests; urban systems; wetlands; and marine, island and coastal ecosystems. Interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration, research and capacity–building are promoted.
For implementation of its interdisciplinary work on-ground, MAB relies on the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and on thematic networks and partnerships for knowledge-sharing, research and monitoring, education and training, and participatory decision-making.