Coordinator of the St Mary’s Biosphere Reserve Project Telca Wallace said she has returned from the 2nd UNESCO Training Course for Managers of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves more determined and inspired than ever to forge forward with plans for the advancement of the Reserve.
The seminar which was held from 13th – 17th October at Jeju National Heritage Centre, a Biosphere Reserve on the island of Jeju in the Republic of Korea which is faced with similar challenges as it relates to sustainable development in the context of climate change.
The main purpose of the training was to bring managers of coastal and island biospheres together to share experiences in climate change adaptation, build capacity and achieve sustainable development while combating some of the effects of climate change.
The programme outline included; Impact of climate on island and coastal region; Best practices responding to climate change; Sustainable development in island and coastal biosphere reserves; Renewable energy, eco-tourism and eco-education; Marketing for biosphere reserves; Management Policy and planning.
Commenting on the relevance of the Man and the Biosphere Project to National Development Mrs. Wallace states that, “The MAB Programme develops the basis for the rational and sustainable use and conservation of resources by predicting the consequences of today’s actions on tomorrow’s world and increasing people’s ability to manage natural resources for the improvement of their relationship with their environment”.
Ms. Wallace said Jeju Island was an ideal location in that it is a good example of the political will that is necessary to effect positive outcomes in the advancement of the biosphere concept as well as its long history of preservation, its natural environment, culture and people. “The development of the Jeju Biosphere Brand and the systems that promote preservation has resulted in large amounts of earnings from the brand while residents become guardians and protectors of all that is sacred in Jeju.”
According to the Secretary General of the National Commission For UNESCO, “The Federation continues to forge ahead as an example in the region of the unrelenting approach that must be taken towards managing our natural resources for our present and future well being.” Mr. Maynard said that currently the focus of the National Committee for the St Mary’s Biosphere is to increase awareness and to maximize participation as well as to increase dialogue on the very important topic of St. Mary’s Biosphere.
Mr. Maynard said, as the visible effects of climate change persist, it is important that The Federation continue to spearhead activities in the sub-region and inspire the full commitment of neighbouring islands in hastening the development of Biosphere reserves.
The Jeju training was organized by UNESCO MAB and Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and convened by Jeju Secretariat of World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves (WNICBR). Facilitators included Lecturers from UNESCO; the Republic of Korea’s MAB Committee and other experts.
Participating countries were Canada, China, England, Ecuador, Ireland, Viet Nam, Samoa and St. Kitts and Nevis.