Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme

The Man and Biosphere (MAB) programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environments. It combines the natural and social sciences with a view to improving human livelihoods and safeguarding natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.

The Biosphere Reserve concept started by a Task Force of UNESCO’s MAB Programme in 1974 while the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) was launched in 1976. Biosphere Reserves (BR) are terrestrial and/or marine areas that encompass valuable ecosystems and social communities that wish to combine the conservation of ecosystems with their sustainable use. They are established to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere.

Biosphere Reserves are nominated by national governments and remain under sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located, but become internationally recognized by UNESCO. This recognition is governed by two important documents: the Statutory Framework of Biosphere Reserves and the Seville Strategy of Biosphere Reserves (UNESCO 1996). Biosphere Rerserves form a World Network under the protection of UNESCO. UNESCO likes to view Biosphere Reserve as a vast natural global laboratory, where nature conservation is combined with environmental monitoring, training, demonstration, local participation, and sustainable development.

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves currently counts 701 sites in 124 countries all over the world, including 21 transboundary sites.


Contact information:

MAB Programme - Cyprus Focal Point

Elena Stylianopoulou, Senior Environment Officer

Department of Environment

Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment

Τel.: +357 22408929



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