The “Man and the Biosphere – MAB” programme, launched in 1971, is an intergovernmental programme aimed at establishing a scientific basis for the development of relations between man and the environment.
The Programme is based on the combination of natural and social sciences, economics and education for the purpose of improving human life and the fair distribution of benefits, for the protection and management of natural ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable economic development.
The Programme provides for the recognition of Biosphere Reserves, terrestrial, marine or coastal ecosystem complexes, included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).
Reserves are intended as outstanding locations where interdisciplinary approaches can be tested to understand and manage changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and biodiversity management. They carry out activities aimed at promoting solutions that combine the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use, with a view to the interaction between the social and environmental system and with the full involvement of local communities.