11 June 2019
The UNESCO Sub-regional Capacity Building Workshop for Central Asia Countries on Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme took place in Almaty on 28-29 May with an ensuing field visit to Altyn-Emel biosphere reserve on 30-31 May. It was organized by the UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office in partnership with the MAB Secretariat, and in cooperation with the Kazakhstan MAB National Committee.The meeting brought together 32 participants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia, including representatives of the MAB National Committees, Biosphere Reserve (BR) managers, MAB and nature protection stakeholders, government entities, academia, youth and other relevant partners.
The workshop consolidated participants’ knowledge about Lima Action Plan (LAP) and enhanced their understanding on the MAB Programme in general and notably on its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also boosted their understanding of the significant role of the MAB Programme in implementing the SDGs and the Agenda 2030 at local and national levels. During the workshop, participants discussed how to reinforce the MAB Programme in Central Asian countries, shared information on achievements and current situation with biosphere reserves (BR) in the countries by exchanging best practices and experience. The meeting also presented the UNESCO Global Communication Strategy for MAB, which arouse participants’ attention on strengthening communication and visibility on BRs.
After a two-day workshop in Almaty, participants visited the Altyn-Emel Biosphere Reserve, which provided them with a concrete example of a biosphere reserve, allowing to assess the various components of a BR and to get acquainted with its biodiversity, management aspects and local community involvement.
Participants agreed that it is necessary to strengthen the MAB Programme in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and to assist Tajikistan in its attempts to establish the first biosphere reserve to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). Raising awareness and visibility at national, regional and global levels on BRs of Kazakhstan was also discussed by the BR managers of the 10 reserves of the country. The meeting participants also called for an active involvement of Central Asian countries in the existing regional MAB networks, such as SACAM (South and Central Asia) as well as EABRN (East Asia), and for the establishment of a new regional network, which would bring together the Russian-speaking countries in North Eurasia region.