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18 May 2022

Spain renews its commitment to continue promoting the UNESCO International Center for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves, headquarters of Abertis Foundation

Spain renews its commitment to continue promoting the UNESCO International Center for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves, headquarters of Abertis Foundation

  • The agreement aims to boost and energize the activities carried out in Mediterranean biosphere reserves, promoting sustainability in ecosystems and ensuring a balanced management of natural resources.

  • Coinciding with the renewal of this commitment, the general director of UNESCO inaugurated a multimedia and multi-format exhibition on biosphere reserves around the world, which the Abertis Foundation has sponsored as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Man and Biosphere Program (MaB), and which can be visited in the Joan Miró Park in Barcelona.

    Barcelona, May 18, 2022-

    The Council of Ministers of the Government of Spain, at its meeting on June 22, 2021, approved the renewal of the agreement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the aim that our country will continue to host the UNESCO International Center for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves, headquarters of the Abertis Foundation, for another six years.

    Spain's ambassador to UNESCO, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, and the director general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, who is visiting Barcelona to coincide with UNESCO's 2022 World Conference on Higher Education, signed the agreement in the presence of the president of the Abertis Foundation, Elena Salgado, members of the board of directors of Abertis and the board of trustees of its Foun- dation, among other attendees.

The agreement, signed today at Castellet castle, headquarters of the UNESCO Center for Mediter- ranean Biosphere Reserves, aims to promote and boost research, training, knowledge exchange and transfer activities in Mediterranean biosphere reserves, promoting sustainability in their eco- systems and strengthening their technical capacities to ensure a balanced management of natural resources.

A multimedia adventure through the World Network of Biosphere Reserves

Coinciding with the renewal of this commitment to the Mediterranean reserves, the Director-General of UNESCO inaugurated an exhibition sponsored by the Abertis Foundation and created to com- memorate the 50th anniversary of the Man and the Biosphere Program (MaB), which can be visited at the Joan Miró Park in Barcelona. It is a hybrid exhibition, in multiple and multimedia format, that shows, in their own voice, stories from biosphere reserve managers, local communities, academia and the artistic world, that speak of resilience, sustainability and the construction of a common future and how to celebrate life.

The exhibition is a collective work of people from more than 20 of UNESCO's 727 biosphere reserves in 131 countries and consists of a set of panels with QR codes that redirect to a digital platform where users can visit the exhibition online and access podcasts, with the personal stories and original soundscapes of these biosphere reserves.

The official inauguration of the exhibition took place in Barcelona, from where it plans to travel to other locations, including Mexico, one of the countries in the world with the largest number of bio- sphere reserves along with Spain.

About the UNESCO International Centre for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves

The more than 70 territories that make up the Mediterranean Biosphere Reserve Network (MedMaB) are spread across 17 countries of the Mediterranean basin. They include a set of diverse and repre- sentative sites harboring an exceptional socioenvironmental heritage related to biodiversity, land- scapes and cultural expressions. The quality of these environmental and cultural resources makes the Mediterranean biosphere reserves ideal living laboratories for the promotion of innovative and circular practices and models, such as the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the management of natural resources and the promotion of sustainable tourism in all its forms, as a few examples.

Castellet castle, headquarters of the Abertis Foundation, was declared a UNESCO International Cen- ter for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves in 2013.

This is the first experience of public-private collaboration in the field of category 2 centers under the auspices of UNESCO. These centers represent a special modality in the United Nations system: they are created and established at the request of Member States and their main goal is the achievement of UNESCO's strategic objectives.

Since then, the UNESCO International Center for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves has established itself as a place for the dissemination of ideas, projects and knowledge, which serves as a stimulus to promote interest in cultural and natural heritage, as well as being a paradigm in the sustainable management of the environment.