40th Anniversary of Man and Biosphere Program held in Lhasa, Tibet
On September 8, 2011 Future Generations China joined more than 100 of China's conservation officials and scholars in Lhasa, Tibet for the 40th Anniversary of the Man and the Biosphere program and the 13th Conference for China's Biosphere Reserves Network (CBRN). The 40th anniversary was hosted in Lhasa to recognize the impact of climate change on biosphere reserves and highlight the community-based management experience of the Qomolangma (Everest) National Nature Preserve, which was recognized as a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2004.
UNESCO established the Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) in 1971 to conduct interdisciplinary research and promote knowledge sharing for the improvement of people’s relationships with their environment. Biosphere reserves are nature preserves that seek to maintain biological and cultural diversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods through innovative management approaches. In 40 years, UNESCO has recognized 580 biosphere reserves in 114 countries.
As recently recognized by UNESCO, biosphere reserves provide adaptable management models to help mitigate climate change. This applies particularly in the domains of sustainable land use, green economies, safeguarding ecosystem services, energy efficiency, and the use of renewable energies. These protected areas provide valuable insight and opportunities for learning.
In Lhasa, conference participants reviewed research and case studies that point toward sustainable development solutions and climate change challenges emerging from China’s 29 biosphere reserves. Presentations ranged from the impact of climate change on forests to applications of space technology. Biosphere reserve managers from Tibet and Yunnan provinces highlighted their experiences in adapting management practices to climate change. In Guizhou Province, the director shared his vision of harmonious development of the Maolan ecological functional area. Dr. Guangchun Lei of Future Generations China shared the experiences of the Pendeba program in improving health, development, and conservation outcomes in the Everest region.
Xu Zhihong, Chairman of the National Committee of MAB, emphasized the need for partnerships among government, social organizations, professionals, nature preserve staff, and communities to spread the core spirit and practices of MAB in order to safeguard ecological and cultural diversity and foster the sustainable development of the society and economy.
The conference was co-hosted by Future Generations China, the National Committee of MAB, the Wild Animal and Plant Protection Division of the State Forestry Bureau and the Forestry Department of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Among the participants were officials from the Department of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, State Forestry Bureau, State Oceanic Administration, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the government and Department of Tibet Autonomous Region. Other participants included scholars from Beijing Forestry University, media groups such as Xinhua Agency, delegates from Tibet Travel Ltd., Beijing Aidianfeng Culture Ltd., KAILAS, and NGOs such as the Apple Foundation.