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11th August 2023

GSA Biosphere selected for UNESCO international peer-learning project

UNESCO has announced that the GSA Biosphere is one of five new sites selected to participate in an international project exploring the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Biosphere Reserves, Global Geoparks and Natural World Heritage sites will act as case studies on research, education and innovation, particularly with regard to SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation), SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 14 (Life below Water) and SDG 15 (Life on land).

The project, ‘Promoting sustainable development through UNESCO’s programmes and sites’, launched in March 2022, with the aim of promoting a more sustainable and climate neutral world, using research and education to develop innovative solutions to environmental problems. UNESCO Biospheres, including Galloway and Southern Ayrshire, will act as pilot areas for these solutions.

Work on  GSAB’s proposal, titled Whole Farm Plans for Agricultural Natural Capital Resilience: Audit Methodology, was led by our Director, Ed Forrest, and Land Use & Biodiversity lead Sara Press. The proposal went through a rigorous 3-level assessment conducted by an evaluation team composed of specialists in the sectors of science, education, and culture from the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, followed by Advisory Board review. Alongside our entry, winning proposals came from sites in France, Montenegro, Romania, and the United States. Each one will be allocated $25,000 over a 12-month project duration, thanks to funding from the abrdn Charitable Foundation.

Supporting sustainable use of our region’s natural capital is a key focus for the GSA Biosphere, and our partnership projects and research covers areas such as forestry, renewable energy, regenerative farming, and land use for recreation and wellbeing. You can read more about this on our What We Do pages. All the 740+ UNESCO Biospheres around the world share a commitment to knowledge-exchange and our organisational model transcends state and geographical boundaries, creating unique opportunities for learning and research. Take a look at some of GSAB’s past collaborations here.

Read more about the UNESCO project: Promoting sustainable development through UNESCO’s programmes and sites across Europe and North America: 5 new sites selected | UNESCO 

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