How do UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves increase biodiversity and resilience to climate change?

Organizer: Martha Marie Vogel
Format: Online, Evening

The Global Risks Report 2020 ranked the likelihood for climate related risk as the most dominant long-term risks including extreme weather events, climate action failure and biodiversity loss. Furthermore, the intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) global assessment stated that climate change is one of the main drivers for unprecedented biodiversity loss, which unknown consequences for ecosystem services and human wellbeing. Since the 2030 Agenda with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals aims to transform our world in a sustainable way, the implementation of the SDGs should lead to a decrease in climate-related risks, strengthening resilience to climate change in particular to climate extremes, contribute to the supply and equitable distribution of ecosystem services and halter the loss of biodiversity. Already 50 years ago (1971), UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme was founded which established the concept of Biosphere Reserves as model regions to promote, what we now call, sustainable development. The current 714 designated sites in 129 countries bring the opportunity to study this interplay between global goals and local resilience. Local activities in the Biosphere Reserves can provide solutions to strengthen resilience to climate change and biodiversity, e.g. by using ecosystem-based approaches and thus support further progress for sustainable development. In this transdisciplinary session we want to discuss the interplay between sustainable development, resilience to climate change and biodiversity. We will highlight the ways in which UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserves showcase sustainable solutions in a holistic way. The speakers will present local actions that demonstrate how Biosphere Reserves around the world concretely promote sustainable development. Specific examples in the area of socio-ecological systems, resilience to climate change, and Indigenous governance will be presented, providing inputs for guided discussions. Finally, we will discuss how local solutions can be scaled and how they can enrich the global policy debate.

Themes: Sustainable Solutions from the Global South, Integrated Action for the SDGs, Knowledge-to-Action