The International Council
for Philosophy and Human Sciences

UNESCO – The Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB)

About the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB)

The MAB Programme develops the basis within the natural and social sciences for the rational and sustainable use and conservation of the resources of the biosphere and for the improvement of the overall relationship between people and their environment. It predicts the consequences of today’s actions on tomorrow’s world and thereby increases people’s ability to efficiently manage natural resources for the well-being of both human populations and the environment.

By focusing on sites internationally recognized within the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the MAB Programme strives to:
identify and assess the changes in the biosphere resulting from human and natural activities and the effects of these changes on humans and the environment, in particular in the context of climate change;
study and compare the dynamic interrelationships between natural/near-natural ecosystems and socio-economic processes, in particular in the context of accelerated loss of biological and cultural diversity with unexpected consequences that impact the ability of ecosystems to continue to provide services critical for human well-being;
ensure basic human welfare and a liveable environment in the context of rapid urbanization and energy consumption as drivers of environmental change;
promote the exchange and transfer of knowledge on environmental problems and solutions, and to foster environmental education for sustainable development. 






Biosphere reserves are areas comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Each reserve promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use.

Biosphere reserves are ‘Science for Sustainability support sites’ – special places for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity.

Biosphere reserves are nominated by national governments and remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located. Their status is internationally recognized.

There are 669 biosphere reserves in 120  countries, including 20 transboundary sites. They are distributed as follows:

Three zones, one biosphere reserve!

Biosphere reserves have three interrelated zones that aim to fulfil three complementary and mutually reinforcing functions:

  • The core area(s) comprises a strictly protected ecosystem that contributes to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.

  • The buffer zone surrounds or adjoins the core areas, and is used for activities compatible with sound ecological practices that can reinforce scientific research, monitoring, training and education.

  • The transition area is the part of the reserve where the greatest activity is allowed, fostering economic and human development that is socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable.

  • The Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) 


  Article Source : UNESCO
January 16, 2018