A renewed interest in further investigating the urban area / biosphere reserve interface
The fact that urban sprawl and unsustainable city development continue at an alarming rate worldwide, at the same time as the biosphere reserve concept today perhaps is more popular than ever as a model for sustainability, prompted a renewed interest in seeking to further investigate the urban area/ biosphere reserve interface.
An important step forward to carry-out this investigation was the establishment in year 2000 of the MAB ad hoc Working Group to Explore the Application of the Biosphere Reserve Concept to Urban Areas and their Hinterlands (the MAB Urban Group). Its objectives are:
A limited number of Biosphere Reserves have been established just outside major cities
The biosphere reserve concept is evolving and its model for sustainability is increasingly popular
The World Network of Biosphere Reserves is the major instrument for promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable development within UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB).
Having evolved from traditional protected area approaches, in particular national parks, the biosphere reserve concept and the World Network have usually been associated with more pristine, scarcely populated environments than what urban areas and their hinterlands offer. However, the biosphere reserve concept is an evolving one and, following the Seville Conference and the adoption of the Seville Strategy, more emphasis is now put on sustainable development objectives and on more large scale, regional, conservation and development concerns.