Honduras and Peru to chair the IberoMab Network until 2026

The IberoMaB Network Board of Directors met virtually from 18 to 20 January 2022 with the support and organizational assistance of the Costa Rican authorities.

During the meeting, the new Board was elected. For the next four years it will be presided over by Honduras who will assume the presidency, and will be represented by Ms. Alejandra Reyes Pereira from the Instituto de Conservación Forestal (ICF).

Peru will occupy the vice-presidency and Spain will remain as the secretariat of the IberoMaB Network. For the last 10 years, the Board was led by Mexico and Chile, who renewed their mandate for two four-year terms, and due to the current sanitary pandemic, had to extend their mandate for two more years, as the elections had to be postponed.

During the meeting, the Board accepted Trinidad and Tobago’s candidacy to join the IberoMaB Network, which now comprises 25 countries (23 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal) and 197 biosphere reserves.

The outgoing Board presented a comprehensive report of activities, highlighting the success of the Strategy of Excellence implemented by the international coordinating council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme from 2013 to 2021.

The Strategy improved the governance of biosphere reserves that had failed to meet all the requirements of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The outgoing Board presented a comprehensive report of activities, highlighting the success of the Strategy of Excellence implemented by the international coordinating council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme from 2013 to 2021.

The Strategy improved the governance of biosphere reserves that had failed to meet all the requirements of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Ecuador, who participated in the Strategy of Excellence, stressed the importance of the support received from the MAB Secretariat to improve the governance of biosphere reserves, and mentioned that the results are already tangible in terms of a better structure and improved organization for governance, which involves collaboration between the UNESCO National Commission, the MAB national committees, the biosphere reserve management committees, and other governmental and private actors.

It also announced that resources are available for the organization of an event or activity in 2022 and invited network members to submit their proposals. A report was also presented regarding the activities and participation of young people in the IberoMaB network, who despite the health situation in the last two years have managed to carry out their projects and keep their collaboration networks active. Their fundamental role in the management processes of biosphere reserves was also highlighted, as well as the need to promote projects and concrete actions that provide professional training, in order to favour their integration into decision-making, not only within the reserves, but also at the national level. In this regard, the new Board emphasized that the issue of youth and gender equity in biosphere reserves will be key pillars during their term of office.

With regard to biosphere reserve governance, they stressed their interest in promoting the consolidation of MAB committees at the national level, as well as biosphere reserve management committees.

The second Congress of the IberoMaB network, tentatively planned for this year, will possibly be postponed until 2023, depending on the sanitary situation. For the time being, an invitation has been extended to network members to submit their applications to host the event.

The next meeting of the IberoMaB Network will take place in 2024 in Paraguay.

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