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Mission and Goals

What goes along with the UNESCO Award

In 1990, the southern district, in 2010 the entire Berchtesgadener Land district, was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. It comprises a representative section of the Northern Limestone Alps including its foothills and is the only alpine UNESCO biosphere reserve in Germany. There are more than 700 UNESCO biosphere reserves worldwide. The recognition by UNESCO is linked to the expectation that these areas will develop into so-called “model regions for sustainable development” following the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Agenda 2030 which was adopted in 2015. This implies that biosphere reserves will test new methods and develop holistic solutions to meet the diverse social, economic and ecological demands of the future. In the designation as a biosphere reserve and the establishment of the Biosphere Administration Office, which is placed at the region’s side for support, lies great opportunity for the entire district and its inhabitants to become part of projects and to take steps towards becoming a model region for sustainable development.
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The Berchtesgadener Land Biosphere Region is part of the global network of outstanding types of landscapes designated by UNESCO. Humans are its main creators and maintainer of the landscape. The foundation for the work of the Biosphere Region is the UNESCO program “Man and Biosphere”, which aims to preserve the unique and species-rich landscape as a natural and cultural heritage. Currently, the Lima Action Plan is in effect. Together with locals, a model region for sustainable management is to be created – for the benefit of present and future generations and in full awareness of social, ecological and economic responsibility!

Lima Action Plan

An essential foundation for the work in biosphere reserves is the UNESCO program ‘Man and the Biosphere’ (MAB), which has been the first global program to deal with relations between man and the environment starting as early as 1970. The Lima Action Plan, adopted in 2016, translates the goals of the MAB program into 60 concrete actions that are intended to strengthen individual biosphere reserves as well as the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. By the year 2025, these measures are to be implemented and increasingly brought to people’s attention. The MAB program is constantly developed and updated.

Most important measures

World Network of Biosphere Reserves

Award of international standing

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves dates back to the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program launched by UNESCO in 1970. The aim was to designate representative landscapes as model regions for the conservation of natural resources, sustainable economic development, education and research. The objectives and functions of biosphere reserves are defined in UNESCO’s international guidelines. Regions can apply to be recognized as biosphere reserves by UNESCO if they meet certain criteria. Mandatory in each biosphere reserveis a three-part zoning with graded intensity of land use and different functions.

The recognition by UNESCO entails many advantages. It includes not only opportunities for nature, economy and society associated with the high credibility of the UNESCO designation, but also easier access to national and international funding and the possibility of exchange with other regions within the world network of UNESCO biosphere reserves. There are currently 738 biosphere reserves in 134 countries worldwide, with a wide variety of focal points. Each country participating in the MAB program establishes a committee that acts as a link between international and national levels. This is usually a national committee. The German national committee is chaired by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and managed by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).

Infografik zu Sustainable development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs

In 2015, 193 member states of the United Nations adopted 17 goals to advance sustainable development. These are to be achieved by 2030. They are intended to promote sustainability worldwide at economic, social and ecological levels. As a result, the world should be a fairer, healthier and more peaceful place. They are an important basis for the work of the Biosphere Management Unit. Everybody can contribute towards a sustainable world.

We are Biosphere

The UNESCO designation of the district as a biosphere reserve offers all people, institutions, organizations and companies within the Berchtesgadener Land the chance to shape the district as a model region for sustainable development. Together with the Administration Office of the Biosphere, projects and initiatives can be initiated and implemented. The range of potential subjects is diverse and includes all aspects of sustainability. Be part of it!
Fahne mit dem Schriftzug "Wir sind Biosphäre!"

What the biosphere reserves are already achieving on a regional, national and international level is impressive in every respect: They are the 'caretakers' that ensure that the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda reach the people in a realistic and practical way. For this reason, cooperation with the society and support from politics is essential.

President of the German Commission for UNESCO
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