26 Sep 2019

The Abertis Foundation promotes the "Castellet Declaration for the Protection of Biodiversity"

The Abertis Foundation promotes the "Castellet Declaration for the Protection of Biodiversity"

  • The "Castellet Declaration for the Protection of Biodiversity" warns of the serious consequences that the current rate of biodiversity loss may have on the planet and the achievement of the United Nations sustainable development goals.
  • Biosphere Reserves, according to the manifesto, are focal points for research support where socio-ecological systems are evaluated and managed in order to protect the environment, cope with biodiversity loss and global change.
  • Castellet Castle (Barcelona), headquarters of the Abertis Foundation, has been the UNESCO International Centre on Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves since 2013.

The Abertis Foundation, together with UNESCO and the Ministry for Ecological Transition, through the National Parks Autonomous Agency, has promoted the "Castellet Declaration for the Protection of Biodiversity", a manifesto to warn of the serious consequences that the current rate of biodiversity loss may have on the planet and the achievement of the United Nations sustainable development goals, including those related to poverty, hunger and health.

The Declaration states that "biodiversity loss is one of today's most critical environmental problems, threatening the equilibrium of ecosystems and, with it, our well-being". "This loss is mainly caused by human activity, particularly habitat destruction, overexploitation of the oceans, pollution, urban sprawl, climate change, and deforestation, which is causing severe fires and floods," it states.

Regarding the role of Biosphere Reserves in the maintenance of the planet's biodiversity, according to the manifesto, "they are focal points for research support where socio-ecological systems are evaluated and managed in order to protect the environment, and face biodiversity loss and global change, as well as prioritising the development of local communities".

According to the declaration, "from the Mediterranean Biosphere Reserve Network we are committed to sustainable development and the protection of biodiversity, while strengthening relations between the countries in the Mediterranean region. One of our priorities is to promote the study of each region with the aim of emphasising the distinctive and unique role of each reserve, respecting the idiosyncrasies of each country and placing special emphasis on local populations".

The declaration concludes by stating that "through the collaboration of the reserves around the Mediterranean and the world, working towards the same objective, we want to provide workable solutions and encourage a change in the model of society not only for the benefit of biodiversity and the planet, but for our own sake".

Inauguration of the UAB-Abertis Foundation Campus

The Castellet Declaration was read today as part of the start of the university academic year at the UAB-Abertis Foundation Campus of Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves, during a day in which, among other experts, Montserrat Fernández San Miguel, deputy director of the National Parks Autonomous Agency, Martí Boada, UAB researcher and scientific coordinator of the UNESCO Centre, and Sergi Loughney, director of the Abertis Foundation all participated.

In his speech to young people, the director of the Abertis Foundation, Sergi Loughney, stressed that "we have to create a more sustainable world, where people live in coexistence with the planet" and encouraged companies "to follow this example and work to protect the environment and combat the climate emergency". 

The UAB Campus of Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves was born from the collaboration agreement signed by the UAB and the Abertis Foundation in 2016. Both parties collaborate to work actively for the promotion and development of interdisciplinary research in the socio-environmental field in relation to the Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves.

By the UAB, the Campus is organised through the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) and the Faculty of Sciences. The main beneficiaries of the Campus are the students of the UAB's degree in Environmental Sciences and the Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies in Environmental, Economic and Social Sustainability (SAES) of the ICTA-UAB.

UNESCO International Centre on Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves

The institutional headquarters of the Abertis Foundation, located in the Castellet Castle (Barcelona), was declared the UNESCO International Centre on Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves (CIURBN) in 2013. This is the first experience of public-private collaboration in the field of category 2 centres of the Biosphere Reserves Network, recognised by the organisation belonging to the United Nations. In 2018, CIURBN incorporated two new reserves, the cities of Dana and Mujib in Jordan, thus reinforcing its commitment to cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

Category 2 encompasses centres and institutes under the auspices of UNESCO that represent a special category in the United Nations system: created and financed by Member States, their main purpose is to achieve the principal strategic goals of UNESCO's MaB (Man and Biosphere) programme.

The more than 70 territories constituting the Mediterranean Biosphere Reserve Network (RRBMed) include a group of diverse and representative sites hosting exceptional treasures in terms of richness of biodiversity, landscapes and cultural expressions. The quality of these environmental and cultural resources situate these Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves as places of excellence for promoting all facets of sustainable tourism within a single environment of two coasts united by their culture and natural characteristics.

Since its creation, The UNESCO International Centre has since become a centre for disseminating ideas, projects and knowledge that cultivate interest in cultural heritage and the environmental, and is a standard bearer for the sustainable management of cultural heritage.

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