Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment celebrates International Day for Biosphere Reserves

South Africa joins international community to celebrate International Day for Biosphere Reserves
South Africa today joins the international community to celebrate the first International Day for Biosphere Reserves.
The UNESCO general conference declared at its 41st conference that 3 November to be set aside annually to showcase the contribution of biosphere reserves to sustainable development and the balance biosphere reserves create between human activity and the conservation of natural resources.
“Today signifies the urgency and importance of the continuous need to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy environment. It is now more necessary than ever to address the urgent conservation needs and the sustainable use of natural resources so that we do not destroy the Planet for future generations,” said the Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Makhotso Sotyu.
The International Day for Biosphere Reserves aims to highlight actions, practices and systems of production and consumption that balance human activities with the conservation of natural resources, in order to contribute to addressing global challenges as well as climate, health and environmental objectives.
The aim of a Biosphere Reserve is to achieve integrated management of terrestrial land, fresh and marine waters and living organisms, by putting in place bioregional planning schemes, based on integrating conservation of biological diversity into sustainable development through the appropriate zonation. Such zonation includes strictly protected areas as core, typically surrounded by buffer zones where conservation is emphasized, but where people also live and work, and the whole is surrounded by a transition area, or area of co-operation, which promotes sustainable development.
There are 738 reserves in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 134 countries. This includes 22 transboundary sites.
South Africa also has 10 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. These are the:
• Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve (Western Cape Province, designated 1998).
• Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve (Western Cape Province, designated 2000).
• Waterberg Biosphere Reserve (Limpopo Province, designated 2001).
• Kruger-to-Canyons Biosphere Reserve (Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga Provinces, designated 2001).
• Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve (Western Cape Province, designated 2007).
• Vhembe Biosphere Reserve (Limpopo Province, designated May 2009).
• Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces, designated June 2015).
• Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve (Gauteng and North West Province designated 2015.)
• Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (Western Cape and Eastern Provinces designated 2017).
• Marico Biosphere Reserve (North West Province designated 2018).

Biosphere reserves are voluntarily nominated by national governments and remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located. Their status is internationally recognised.
South Africa embraces the role that the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme plays in reconciling development and conservation of natural resources using the local efforts.
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Source: Government of South Africa