A key objective of UNESCO Biospheres is to learn from the experiences of others, so we actively seek opportunities to network with other Biospheres around the world.
The EuroMAB Network includes all European and North American member states which participate in UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme – that’s 36 countries, and more than 300 UNESCO Biospheres. It is a platform for sharing knowledge, know-how and experience of sustainable development, as well as a collective tool for supporting best practice.
The biennial EuroMAB conference has been running since 1986 and officers from GSAB attend each one. The 2019 EuroMAB Conference was held in Dublin, where we were asked to chair a workshop on the role that Biospheres can play in engaging with and supporting local sustainable enterprise. In 2022 we were hosted by Biosphärenpark Nockberge in Austria for a week of learning on the theme of strengthening cross-border cultural ties. Download the conference report here.
Our UNESCO Biosphere also takes part in international projects, piloting new ideas and initiatives that can then be rolled out more widely across Scotland, the UK and other parts of the world.
Read more about the SHAPE Project: Sustainable Heritage Areas: Partnerships for Ecotourism. A three-year project funded by the European Commission’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme, SHAPE’s goal was to help local authorities, businesses and communities develop innovative ecotourism initiatives which would help preserve local natural and cultural assets while generating economic value.
Did you know…our first group of Biosphere Guides were trained in 2019 thanks to support from the SHAPE Project!
On occasion we host visits from international partners wanting to learn from us about some of the initiatives we are leading on here in Galloway and Southern Ayrshire, that they may be able to try back at home. We also take our own stakeholders on reciprocal international visits, where they can learn from other Biospheres gaining new ideas to try back in southwest Scotland.
Read more about our exchanges with the Rhon Biosphere (Germany), North Karelia Biosphere (Finland), and Urdaibai Biosphere in the Basque region of Spain.
Our most recent learning journeys have been with Sweden’s 7 UNESCO Biospheres – that’s the same number as in the UK. GSAB hosted Biosphere Coordinators in spring 2023, and Nedre Dalälven‘s governing board in the autumn. Our regions share many of the same economic and environmental goals, in particular to embed sustainability in farming, forestry, tourism, and jobs.