The concept of biosphere reserves was derived from the first intergovernmental conference organized by UNESCO in 1968. Two years later, UNESCO officially launched a Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, which is one of its cornerstone programmes. The MAB Programme is adapted to respond to the result of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro in 1992) and, in particular, the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
MAB has accumulated more than 30 years of experience and is operating in approximately 100 countries with the objective of promoting interdisciplinary research, training, and communication in the field of ecosystem conservation and the rational use of natural resources. Enhanced relationships between people and their environment globally is one of the key objectives of the MAB Programme. As of March 2008, 531 sites in 105 countries have been designated as Biosphere Reserves representing a wide range of the world`s major ecosystems, i.e.: tropical humid forests, sub-tropical and temperate rainforests, deciduous forests, sub-polar forests and woodlands, warm deserts and semi-deserts, cold winter, tundra communities, savannas, wetlands and coastal areas, including mangroves and coral reefs.
Out of the current world total of 531, Asia and the Pacific region has 95 Biosphere Reserves in 27 countries. Indonesia, for example, has six: Siberut Island (including Siberut National Park), Cibodas (including Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park), Tanjung Puting National Park, Lore Lindu National Park, Gunung Leuser National Park and Komodo National Park; the latter two are also inscribed as Natural World Heritage sites.
More info on UNESCO's MAB programme