World Network of Biosphere Reserves

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The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) covers internationally designated protected areas, each known as biosphere reserves, that are meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature (e.g. encourage sustainable development).[1]


The World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) of the MAB Programme consists of a dynamic and interactive network of sites. It works to foster the harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development through participatory dialogue, knowledge sharing, poverty reduction, human well-being improvements, respect for cultural values and by improving society’s ability to cope with climate change. It promotes North-South and South-South collaboration and represents a unique tool for international cooperation through the exchange of experiences and know-how, capacity-building and the promotion of best practices.

The network[edit]

As of 2015 total membership has reached 651 biosphere reserves, including 15 transboundary sites, in 120[2] countries occurring in all regions of the world.[3] Myanmar had its first biosphere reserve inscribed this year(2015).This already takes into account some biosphere reserves that have been withdrawn or revised through the years, as the program’s focus has shifted from simple protection of nature to areas displaying close interaction between man and environment.

UNESCO Region Number of
Biosphere Reserves
Number of
Africa 67 28
Arab States 281 11
Asia and the Pacific 137 24
Europe and North America 297 36
Latin America and the Caribbean 122 21

1 Includes the Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean, shared between Morocco and Spain
* Source - UNESCO, 2012[3]


External links[edit]