UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, sciences, and culture. UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environments. It combines the natural and social sciences with a view to improving human livelihoods and safeguarding natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable. The Programme can grant seed funding to assist countries in developing projects and/or to secure appropriate partnership contributions.
The prizes managed by MAB programme afford recognition to outstanding contributions in the management or preservation of the environment. They honor successful management of biosphere reserves in line with recommendations of the Seville Strategy, and foster access for young scientists, especially women, to advanced research facilities through respective prizes and awards schemes. The following UNESCO Prizes are managed by the MAB Secretariat:
- UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation (The purpose of the UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation is to afford recognition to outstanding contributions by individuals, groups of individuals, institutes or organizations who have contributed to environmental and natural resources research, environmental education and training, creation of environmental awareness through the preparation of environmental information materials and activities aimed at establishing and managing protected areas including in relation to sustainable tourism, such as Biosphere Reserves, natural World Heritage sites and UNESCO Global Geoparks. The objective of the Prize is in conformity with UNESCO’s policies and is related to the Programme of the Organization in the field of environment, natural resources and education for sustainable development.)
- MAB Young Scientists Awards (Through the MAB Young Scientists Awards, MAB is investing in a new generation of scientists worldwide because well-trained and committed young people are key to addressing ecological and sustainability issues.)
- Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management (This award is given every two years during the MAB Council, in memory of Dr Michel Batisse, for outstanding achievements in the management of the biosphere reserves in line with the recommendations of the Seville Strategy)
Financing Instruments: Grants
- UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation: US$100,000
- MAB Young Scientists Awards: maximum US$5,000
- Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management: US$12,000
Recipient countries regions/country groups: Global
- UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation: individuals, groups of individuals, institutes or organizations who have contributed to environmental and natural resources research, environmental education and training, creation of environmental awareness through the preparation of environmental information materials and activities aimed at establishing and managing protected areas including in relation to sustainable tourism, such as Biosphere Reserves, natural World Heritage sites and UNESCO Global Geoparks.
- MAB Young Scientists Awards: young researchers who are not older than 35 years of age (at the closing date of the application) and carry out interdisciplinary research in line with UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme
- Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management: individuals
UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation: Nominations for the Prize can only be made by UNESCO Members States with the consultation of their National Commissions, and by Non-Governmental Organizations maintaining official partnerships with UNESCO, and active in relevant fields covered by the Prize. Other interested NGOs, research institutions, universities and individuals, are not eligible to make nominations directly to UNESCO. Self-nominations cannot be considered.
- MAB Young Scientists Awards:
o To be eligible, award applications must be made on the MAB Young Scientists Award application form (in English or French) and follow-up technical requirements stated there. The application must be endorsed by the applicant's MAB National Committee, which may endorse only two applications per year from applicants who are not older than 35 years of age (at the closing date of the application).
o Applications must contain concise information on past and existing research in areas concerned in order to present linkages and avoid duplications and financing of projects already carried out.
o Applicants from developed countries are eligible for Awards only in exceptional cases or if working in joint partnership with developing countries.
o Research supported by an Award should be completed within two years.
o Candidates must agree to submit reports of Award-funded research to the MAB Secretariat in Paris and to their MAB National Committees and agree to the possibility of UNESCO publishing the results of their research.
o International travel expenses are usually not covered under these Awards.
- Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management: Only applications in English and French are accepted. Applications that are not endorsed by a MAB National Committee or a National Commission for UNESCO are not eligible for consideration. The Michel Batisse Award ONLY acknowledges COMPLETED work ACCOMPLISHED within a Biosphere Reserve in the World Network. Case studies that concern future work will not be considered.
- UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Conservation: Bodies and individuals who are interested in the prize but not eligible to make nominations are invited to propose their candidate to their country National Commission for UNESCO, which may or may not select it as its formal candidature. Candidatures should be prepared in English or French. Circular letter and nomination form are available on the MAB Programme website.
- MAB Young Scientists Awards: Priority is given to projects carried out in biosphere reserves. Until 2025, implementation of the UNESCO MAB Programme is guided by the MAB Strategy and Lima Action Plan for UNESCO’s MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (LAP), which contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). MAB Young Scientists Award applicants are strongly encouraged to take into account the priorities of the LAP, and to identify in their applications how their research contributes to the research-related actions of the LAP and to the SDGs. Circular letter and application form are available on the MAB Programme website. Applicants need to provide a description of their proposed research study, indicate if and how their proposed study will relate/contribute to their country’s MAB Programme, indicate if and how the proposed study will relate or contribute to the implementation of the Lima Action Plan (LAP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), estimate the cost of the proposed study and amount requested from UNESCO-MAB, etc.
- Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management: The application form is available on the MAB Programme website. Applicants need to provide a description of the management issue that has been resolved in the Biosphere Reserve, a description of solutions and mitigation measures identified, a description of methods, mechanisms and approaches for implementing the solutions and mitigation measures identified, a description of the innovative nature of methods and approaches used, results and outcomes (if possible with indicators of success), comparison of results and outcomes to those expected at the planning stage when solutions and mitigation measures were first identified, etc.
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