What is the origin of the Biosphere Reserves?

The origin of Biosphere Reserves goes back to the “Biosphere Conference” organized by UNESCO in 1968, the first intergovernmental conference to seek to reconcile the conservation and use of natural resources, thereby foreshadowing the present-day notion of sustainable development. The early foundations of the Biosphere Reserve Concept derived from this conference. The aim was to establish terrestrial and coastal areas representing the main ecosystems of the planet in which genetic resources would be protected, and where research on ecosystems as well as monitoring and training work could be carried out for an intergovernmental program called for by the Conference. This “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB) Programme was officially launched by UNESCO in 1970. One of the MAB projects consisted in establishing a coordinated world network of new protected areas, to be designated as “Biosphere Reserves”, in reference to the program itself.