The Man and Biosphere programme of UNESCO: rambunctious child of the sixties, but was the promise fulfilled?

Peter Bridgewater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


In the 1960s UNESCO, as the UN agency with responsibility for science, developed a new programme dealing with human-biosphere interactions — the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme. It was a ground breaking programme, seeking to use UNESCOs convening power in education, natural and social sciences, culture and communication to forge a new way of understanding the natural world and the role of people in it. MAB blended new science direction with an innovative site-based approach, the Biosphere Reserve. This paper examines the history of the programme, its successes and failures, and future prospects. The lessons learned are as much about programme development and management, stakeholder involvement, and institutional failure, as the science prosecuted and the results yielded. The programme does have a future, should it take advantage of the changing biodiversity research and policy landscape
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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