Ethiopia and Zimbabwe have added their first biosphere reserves to the network of reserves created by the United Nations to halt the loss of biodiversity and promote sustainable development. One of the two new Ethiopian reserves protects the place of origin of the plant Caffea Arabica, believed to be the first species of coffee ever cultivated.
The decision to include the reserves in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe was taken by the International Coordination Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme, which concluded its annual session Friday at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
The Council also added 10 biosphere reserve sites in Iran, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Slovenia, South Korea, and Sweden, while five sites were extended in Chile, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany and Switzerland.
The World Network of Biosphere Reserves now numbers 564 sites in 109 countries.
Biosphere Reserves are areas designated under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme to serve as places to test different approaches to integrated management of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine resources and biodiversity. They are protected areas that are meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and nature.