Lima, Peru- The International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO added 20 sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves during its meeting in the capital of Peru on 18 and 19 March. The newly adopted sites include 18 national site and one transboundary site shared between Spain and Portugal. The Council also approved 10 extensions to existing Biosphere Reserves. Following the withdrawal of two sites at the request of Austria, this brings the total number of biosphere reserves to 669 sites in 120 countries, including 16 transboundary sites.
The Man and the Biosphere Programme was created by UNESCO in the early 1970s as an intergovernmental scientific endeavor to improve relations between people around the world and their natural environment. Biosphere reserves are places for learning about sustainable development aiming to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with the sustainable use of natural resources. New reserves are designated each year by the International Co-ordinating Council of the Programme, which brings together elected representatives of 34 UNESCO Member States.
La Hotte (Haiti)'Located in the south-east of the country the biosphere reserve encompasses both terrestrial and marine areas. The region is considered a biodiversity hotspot due to its wide climate range: from humid to subtropical dry. The reserve covers six mountain peaks culminating at 2,347m, as well as a coastal and marine ecosystem in the north (Iles Cayemites) and south (Ile-a-Vache). It is home to more than 850,000 inhabitants, whose main economic activities are farming, agroforestry, fishing, commerce, and handcrafts.