The board of the IberoMaB network met virtually on January 18-20, 2022 with the support and organizational support of the Costa Rican authorities.
During the meeting, the new board was elected. For the next four years it will be led by Honduras, who will assume the presidency, and will be represented by Mrs. Alejandra Reyes Pereira from the Instituto de Conservación Forestal (ICF).
Peru takes over the vice-presidency and Spain remains the secretariat of the IberoMaB network. For the past 10 years, the board has been chaired by Mexico and Chile, who renewed their mandate for two four-year terms and, due to the current sanitation pandemic, have had to extend their mandate for another two years as elections had to be postponed.
During the meeting, the Board accepted Trinidad and Tobago’s candidacy to join the IberoMaB network, which now includes 25 countries (23 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal) and 197 biosphere reserves.
The outgoing Executive Board presented a comprehensive activity report highlighting the success of the Excellence Strategy implemented by the International Coordinating Board of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program from 2013 to 2021.
The strategy improved management of biosphere reserves that did not meet all World Network of Biosphere Reserves requirements. The outgoing Executive Board presented a comprehensive activity report highlighting the success of the Excellence Strategy implemented by the International Coordinating Board of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program from 2013 to 2021.
The strategy improved management of biosphere reserves that did not meet all World Network of Biosphere Reserves requirements. Ecuador, which participated in the Excellence Strategy, stressed the importance of the support received from the MAB Secretariat to improve the management of Biosphere Reserves, mentioning that the results are already tangible in terms of a better structure and improved organization of the management that involves the collaboration between the UNESCO National Commission, the MAB National Committees, the Management Committees of the Biosphere Reserves and other state and private actors.
It also announced that resources are available for organizing an event or activity in 2022 and invited network members to submit their proposals. A report was also presented on the activities and participation of young people in the IberoMaB network who, despite the health situation, have managed to carry out their projects and keep their cooperation networks active over the last two years. Their fundamental role in the management processes of biosphere reserves has been highlighted, as well as the need to promote projects and concrete actions that provide professional training to encourage their involvement in decision-making, not only within the reserves but also at the national level. In this context, the new board emphasized that the topic of youth and gender equality in biosphere reserves will be important pillars during his term of office.
Regarding biosphere reserve governance, they emphasized their interest in promoting the consolidation of national-level MAB bodies and biosphere reserve management bodies.
The second congress of the IberoMaB network, tentatively planned for this year, may be postponed to 2023 depending on the sanitary situation. For now, network members have been invited to submit their applications to host the event.
The next meeting of the IberoMaB network will take place in Paraguay in 2024.