Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Man and the Biosphere Programme “It’s about life”

2021 11 16

On Wednesday 17 November, UNESCO will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of its Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme with renowned primatologist Dr Jane Goodall, photographer Sebastião Salgado, artist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Vik Muniz, indigenous peoples’ climate advocate Hindou Oumarou, youth representatives and partners from around the world.

UNESCO is also hosting an exhibition, It’s about Life, showcasing collective work by people from over 30 of Biosphere Reserves to mark the anniversary.

Established by UNESCO in 1971 as an intergovernmental scientific programme, MAB pioneered the idea of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Today, its World Network of 727 Biosphere Reserves in 131 countries, occupying more than 6% of the earth’s landmass.

At the forefront of the sustainable development movement, Biosphere reserves were established as ‘petri-dishes’ for finding the optimal balance between the needs of local people and those of their environments. They are a testimony to UNESCO’s innovation in creating sustainable livelihoods for local populations, safeguarding biodiversity, and promoting peace between communities in conflict over natural resources.

Highlights of the day: 

  • 2021 Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation award ceremony (12.30pm)
  • Intergenerational dialogue between youth spokespersons, biodiversity experts, indigenous representatives and artists (1.30 and 2.30pm)
  • Handover of drones to facilitate the protection of African Great Apes and their habitats (2.15pm)
  • Launch of a water quality monitoring tool for the Lake Chad Basin (6.30pm)

Provisional programme 

Times are indicative

This event is on the 7th floor in the restaurant.

12.30 to 1pm – Opening ceremony, 30th anniversary of the Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation

  • Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
  • Dr Adeshola Olatunde Adepoju, Chair of the MAB International Coordinating Council, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria
  • Dr Madiha bint Ahmed bin Nasser al Shibaniyah, Minister of Education, Oman 
  • Winners of the 2021 Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation

Prize ceremony, photo call

UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation 

Prize-giving ceremony on 17 November 2021  

1pm –Welcoming address by Dr Jane Goodall, Spokesperson of the 50th anniversary of the Man and the Biosphere Programme;
Presentation by Vik Muniz, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

1.30 – 2.15pm – Passing the baton: Intergenerational dialogue 1 

  • Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, Jane Goodall Institute and MAB 50thanniversary Spokesperson via live video link
  • Sebastiao Salgado, Photographer
  • Anthony Johnston, Mistawasis Nêhiyawak First Nation, Canada
  • Mauro Colagreco, three Michelin Star chef

2.15-2.30pm – Monitoring for the future: protecting Great Apes and their habitats

  • Sabrina Krief, Professor at the French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) and Director of the Sebitoli Chimpanzee Project

Presentation of a joint initiative to monitor great apes and their habitats in African biosphere reserves using drones, thus reducing human impacts and preventing the risk of transmitting zoonotic diseases. Handing the drones to Permanent Delegates of the Member States involved.

2.30-3pm – Passing the baton: Intergenerational dialogue 2 

  • Vik Muniz, Artist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
  • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Founder and President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT)
  • Michel Baudouin, Directeur ERAIFT (Regional Post-Graduate Training School on Integrated Management of Tropical Forests and Lands)

6.30-8.30pm – Biosphere and Heritage of Lake Chad (BIOPALT) project

Presentation of BIOPALT project results and launch of the Lake Chad Basin Water Quality Monitoring Porta followed by a reception hosted by UNESCO and the Nigerian Permanent Delegation



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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

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