Including a special session of the Asia-Pacific Biosphere Reserve Network
Chiang Mai, Thailand, 21-25 May 2018

Theme and key sessions

Under the theme “Biosphere Reserves: Exploring Local Solutions for Global Sustainability”, the 11th Southeast Asian Biosphere Reserves Network (SeaBRnet) meeting will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand during 21-25 May 2018, and will include a special session of the Asia-Pacific Biosphere Reserve Network (APBRN). The meetings are hosted by Thailand National MAB Committee through the Thailand Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, facilitated by the SeaBRnet Secretariat at UNESCO Office Jakarta and UNESCO Office Bangkok, and supported by Japan Funds-in-Trust (JFIT), the Government of Thailand, and UNESCO.

The 11th SeaBRnet meeting gathers representatives from the MAB community in Southeast Asia, including MAB National Committees and Biosphere Reserve managers. They will be joined by representatives of the South and Central Asia MAB Network (SACAM), the East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network (EABRN) and the Pacific Man and Biosphere (PacMAB) programme.

The programme will include exchanges of experience and opinion among the members of SeaBRnet and its sister networks, as well as discussions on interaction among UNESCO programmes, implementation of Lima Action Plan, and the strategic contributions of MAB and its networks in Asia and the Pacific towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With a particular focus on the potential of biosphere reserves to contribute towards the SDGs, the overall objective of the meeting is to explore, devise and share local solutions for global sustainability.

In response to a request from members of the Asia-Pacific Biosphere Reserve Network (APBRN), special attention will be given to the biosphere reserve nomination process and the promotion of biosphere reserves as efficient tools for sustainable economic and social development across the region. These discussions will be brought to the fore during a special session of the APBRN during which three guidelines documents will be reviewed, resulting from studies coordinated by the UNESCO Office Jakarta with the support of Japan Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) in the context of the project Biosphere Reserves Interconnected in Diverse Global Environments for Sustainability in Asia and the Pacific (BRIDGES in AP).

The studies include a framework for biosphere reserve management informed by sustainability science, guidelines for applying eco-labelling in biosphere reserves, and a comparative study on legal aspects of biosphere reserve zonation. Each draft document has been developed through the mobilization of MAB expert networks in the region. The special session will present preliminary draft editions of the three documents, and will solicit inputs and discussion towards their finalization. The session will also seek expressions of interest from participating biosphere reserves in trialling the implementation of the recommendations made.

The programme also includes a dedicated MAB Communication Workshop that will equip participants with enhanced tools through which to communicate and share biosphere reserve experiences and achievements. The workshop will demonstrate how to develop powerful stories for local biosphere reserves based on common MAB themes and values. Participants will get the opportunity to explore what MAB values mean, how they can be applied to the local context, and how to use the story framework to convey the message of BR values to stakeholders as part of the global communication strategy under the Lima Action Plan.

The meeting will include a one-day field visit to the adjacent Mae Sa Kog Ma Biosphere Reserve, including optional stops at the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Ban Pong Krai and Eat Pa Dara Pirom, or Doi Pui Mong Village and Wat Pra That Doi Suthep. The field visit will allow participants to observe and provide advice on the implementation of the biosphere reserve concept in practice.


The 11th SeaBRnet meeting and special APBRN session will gather representatives from MAB National Committees, Biosphere Reserves managers and key stakeholders, experts and practitioners in Southeast Asia and the wider Asia and the Pacific to:

  • Explore, devise and advance local solutions for global sustainability and the SDGs  through the sharing of local and regional experiences in from participating Biosphere Reserves in order to;
  • Promote and advance the Biosphere Reserve concept as an efficient tool for sustainable economic and social development through discussion of key issues related to Biosphere Reserve management, local economies, nomination and zonation;
  • Share knowledge on the creation of powerful stories for local biosphere reserves and use it as a tool to communicate with stakeholders and the public.


Participants are expected to attend the workshop, including international and local participants. Invitees include representatives from the following organizations:

  • MAB National Committees
  • Biosphere Reserve managers
  • MAB related key stakeholders
  • IHP
  • PacMAB
  • Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT)
  • University of Tokyo
  • Western Sydney University
  • Representatives of the private sector


Agenda of the event could be found here.

Contact Information

Mr. Hans Dencker Thulstrup
Senior Programme Specialist on Water and Environmental Sciences