This video was produced from a partnership between the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association and the University of Saskatchewan, School of Environment and Sustainability funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The 16 Biosphere Reserves in Canada are both geographic areas and convener organizations dedicated to balance economic development with sustaining healthy ecosystems. They are designated because of the expressed engagement of local communities to work towards these goals and are designated by UNESCO through its Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. Increasingly, Biosphere Reserves are recognized as learning or model areas for sustainability. Three core functions of Biosphere Reserves are conservation; sustainable development; and providing support for research, demonstration, and learning.

UNESCO’s MAB Programme

UNESCO’S Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) was launched as an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme aiming to enhance the understanding of socio-ecological systems and to support capacity-building towards the sustainable use of natural resources. Its interdisciplinary and practical approach seeks to foster creative solutions to allow for human development while conserving the planet's life support systems. Having celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2011, MAB continues to evolve by supporting the sharing of knowledge between scientists and practitioners and among local, regional and international levels to developing strategies based on common objectives. Biosphere Reserves are the main mechanism, by which MAB objectives are implemented, tested, and redefined.  

The Canadian MAB Committee is an ad hoc committee of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO that guide the implementation of UNESCO’s MAB mandate by utilizing a ''Canadian-approach'' to developing Biosphere Reserves. This approach emphasizes community-based partnerships and bottom-up strategies.

Stakeholders map-MAB programme and Biosphere Reserves in Canada (Credit: Colleen George)

MAB ICC (UNESCO)= MAB Intergovernmental Coordinating Council
IACBR (UNESCO)= International Advisory Committee on Biosphere Reserves
CBRA=Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association