BRIDGES in AP – Biosphere Reserves Interconnected in Diverse Global Environments for Sustainability in Asia and the Pacific

The overall purpose of this project is to promote sustainability science and sustainable economic and social development across the region by strengthening biosphere reserves (BR) as a tool.

BR within the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme are ‘living laboratories for sustainable development’ and represent learning centres for environmental and human adaptability. BR are the only sites under the UN system that specifically call for conservation and sustainable development to proceed along mutually supportive paths. Such mutuality requires cultural sensitivity, scientific expertise, and consensus-driven policy and decision-making.  To date, there are 631 terrestrial, coastal, and marine BR throughout the world including 130 reserves in 23 Asian and Pacific countries (as of June 2014).

BR contributes to building knowledge on how environmental sustainability, economic development and social improvements interact. They also help to address specific contemporary global problems such as mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and the minimization of loss of biodiversity in ecosystems in and outside of legally protected areas, thus contributing to the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi targets. BR are places that compel us to bring together information, data, experience and expertise to generate usable knowledge for sustainable development.

This project will build on MAB achievements and outputs as well as results, recommendations and the action plan for the Asia Pacific region from the previous JFIT program BREES (Biosphere Reserves for Environmental and Economic Security). The second Asia-Pacific Biosphere Reserves Networks (APBRN) Strategic Meeting held in Cambodia during December 2014 agreed on the following areas to be of special interest for the region:  1) a study on the development of a standard framework for BR management based on sustainability science which includes the establishment of a sharing/dissemination platform among BR, 2) a study on the development of eco-tourism guidelines including eco-labelling, 3) the development of comparative law studies on implementing BR zonation.

The overall objective of this project is to promote the BR nomination process and to promote sustainability and sustainable economic and social development across the region by strengthening BR as a tool.

The specific objectives are :

  1. To improve BR management with a standard framework based on the sustainability science concept
  2. To secure BR economic and social development through eco-tourism and eco-labelling
  3. To facilitate BR zonation legal processes