Internationalizing the World: 621 Biosphere Reserves in 117 Countries

May 28, 2013

Twelve sites added to UNESCO’s World Biosphere Reserve Network

The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), which met in Paris from 27 to 30 May, has added 12 sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The additions bring the total number of biosphere reserves to 621 in 117 countries.


Biosphere Reserves are sites chosen by the MAB Programme to experiment with different approaches to the management of terrestrial, marine and coastal resources as well as fresh water. They also serve as in situ laboratories for sustainable development.

The United Kingdom asked for the withdrawal from the World Network of Loch Druidibeg, on the Scottish island of South Uist. It argued that the site, designated as biosphere reserve in 1976, no longer met the criteria required to be part of the Network today.