The Isle of Wight has so much to gain from UNESCO biosphere status

This is the first in a series of columns on the UNESCO IW Biosphere Reserve.

The aim is to help people understand what the biosphere is and how it will be a key part of protecting, maintaining and enhancing our precious local environment for years to come.

The IW, along with its surrounding Solent and Channel coasts, received this status in June 2019, formally recognizing that we have globally significant resources of cultural and biological diversity and a political framework capable of supporting them within the framework of ‘a community of life and work.

The importance and value of the status is perhaps demonstrated by the fact that across the planet there are only 714 biosphere reserves in the United States, only seven in the United Kingdom.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and seeks to build peace through international cooperation. The designation directly links the island to these principles and the broader purposes of the United Nations.

The definition of Reserves is that they are “sites of excellence to foster the harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development through participation, knowledge, well-being, cultural values ​​and capacity. of society to cope with change ”.

While biosphere status in itself does not provide additional powers or money, it is a mark of global excellence and will provide a powerful means of strengthening and sustaining existing legal and policy protections for our natural and cultural heritage.

A key element in this regard is the development of the new island plan, which will recognize and promote the principles and objectives of the biosphere with regard to future land use and development.

In future articles, those who do the work to promote the status of the biosphere and what it supports will explain how the biosphere will help and promote a sustainable future that both benefits IWs and protects our precious environment.

You will learn how the statute can and will be used to support and develop key elements of our economy such as tourism, agriculture and innovation. We were given a valuable tool to use. We must now make the most of it.

About Lucille Thompson

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