16 June 2017On 12-15 June 2017 the 29-th session of the International Coordinating Council (ICC) of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. As a result of the session, 23 new sites has been added to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, including 2 biosphere reserves from Kazakhstan – Altyn Emel and Karatau. In addition, the ICC approved the first in Asia and Northern Eurasia transboundary biosphere reserve (BR) Great Altay, located within two national biosphere reserves: Katunskiy BR (Russia) and Katon-Karagay BR (Kazakhstan).
Thus, the national network of biosphere reserves in Kazakhstan currently comprises 8 national biosphere reserves: AK-Zhayik, Aksu-Zhabagly, Korgalzhyn, Alakol, Katon-Karagay, Barsakelmes, Karatau, Altyn Emel, and transboundary biosphere reserve Great Altay.
Altyn Emel Biosphere Reserve (Kazakhstan) is one of the country’s protected areas, which is very important for the conservation of the region’s biological diversity. It includes a large number of endemic plants. The site comprises deserts, riparian forests and floodplains of the Ili River, deciduous and spruce forests, as well as salt marshes. The resident population of about 4,000 lives mainly from agriculture and cattle rearing, as well as ecotourism and recreational tourism.
Karatau Biosphere Reserve (Kazakhstan) is located in the central part of the Karatau ridgeway, a branch of Northwestern Tien Shan, one of the world’s largest mountain ranges. The reserve’s area is inhabited by 83,000 people. It is an extremely important natural complex for the conservation of West Tien Shan biodiversity. Karatau occupies first place among Central Asian regions in terms of its wealth of endemic species.
Great Altay Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Russian Federation / Republic of Kazakhstan) is composed of the Katunskiy BR (Russian Federation, designated in 2000) and the Katon-Karagay BR (Kazakhstan, designated in 2014). With a surface area of over 1.5 million ha, the area is used for livestock rearing, grazing, red deer farming, fodder production and apiculture. Tourism, hunting, fishing, and the collection of non-timber forest products are also widespread.
The successful nominations approved by the ICC were the result of active work of the Kazakhstan MAB National Committee, supported by the National Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan for UNESCO and ISESCO.
The full list of Biosphere Reserves joined the network this year is available here.
The Man and the Biosphere Programme was created by UNESCO in the early 1970s as an intergovernmental scientific endeavour to improve relations between people around the world and their natural environment.
Biosphere Reserves are learning places for sustainable development whose aim is to reconcile biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. New sites are designated every year by the MAB Council which is composed of representatives of 34 elected UNESCO Members.