31-07-2019 di Leni Frau
The Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, which stretches between the hinterlands of Malindi and Watamu and Kilifi, has been included in the biosphere reserves to be protected by UNESCO.
UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program has added 18 new sites in 12 countries around the world to the international network of biosphere reserves, which currently has 701 biosphere reserves in 124 countries around the world.
The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Program (MAB-ICC), meeting in Paris from June 17-21, approved these additions and the extension of eight existing biosphere reserves, which in most cases also resulted in a change of their official designation.
"This is great news and a clear recognition of the wonderful wildlife and communities that care for the area," commented Justin Kitsao, environmentalist and chairman of the Watamu Marine Association. "The UNESCO MAB Council report noted that the MWASF biosphere reserve will set a significant example for other Kenyan reserves. This is a great honor and responsibility for us."
UNESCO biosphere reserves seek to reconcile human activity with biodiversity conservation through the sustainable use of natural resources. This reflects UNESCO's key objective of promoting innovative sustainable development practices and combating biodiversity loss by accompanying communities and member states in their work to understand, appreciate and safeguard our planet's living environment.
"Each UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is an open-air laboratory for sustainable development, for concrete and lasting solutions, for innovation and good practices - said UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay - they symbolize a new alliance between the world of science and youth, between man and the environment."
Here is the motivation for the inclusion of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest: "The area of the biosphere reserve increases to 487,278 hectares and now includes two marine parks and the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. The expansion improves connectivity between the various ecosystems, ranging from coral reefs to mangrove forest and dry coastal forest. The biosphere reserve is a cetacean migration area and is home to six types of endemic butterflies."
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