German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

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Further institutions and bodies of the MAB Programme

Exchange of experience among German Biosphere Reserves

The German Biosphere Reserves have formed a national network in order to ensure regular exchange of experience and to provide technical support to the MAB National Committee.

Representatives of the German Biosphere Reserves meet for this purpose twice a year for a formal exchange. The elected spokesperson of this working group is Margret Brahms, Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Landscape of the German Land of Schleswig-Holstein and member of the German MAB National Committee.


Land authorities

In each German Land, one (or several) supreme Land authority/authorities is/are responsible for biosphere reserves.

List of supreme Land authorities


German Commission for UNESCO (DUK)

The German Commission for UNESCO (Deutsche UNESCO-Kommission, DUK) is an organization of German foreign cultural policy. It provides a link between government and science, and performs national-level liaison functions in all of UNESCO's activity areas. Its tasks include advising the German government and all other responsible bodies on issues of relevance to UNESCO, contributing to realization of the UNESCO programme in Germany, informing the public about UNESCO's work, and establishing links to UNESCO for institutions, specialized organizations and experts.


International Coordinating Council (ICC)

The International Coordinating Council (ICC) is the governing body of the MAB Programme and meets annually, in 2011 in Germany for the first time. It consists of representatives of 34 member states elected by UNESCO's biennial General Conference. At its meetings, the ICC elects a chairman and five vice-chairmen representing UNESCO's geopolitical regions; together, these form the six-person MAB Bureau, which conducts operations until the following ICC meeting.


UNESCO MAB Secretariat

The UNESCO MAB Secretariat seated in Paris performs the operational work associated with the MAB Programme. The present secretary is Dr. Thomas Schaaf, director a.i. of UNESCO's Division of Ecological Sciences. The Secretariat employs a further 30 staff members.


International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves (IACBR)

The International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves (IACBR) was set up by UNESCO in 1991 to provide advice to the UNESCO Director-General on scientific and technical matters relating to Biosphere Reserves and the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). The UNESCO Director-General appoints the committee's members on a personal basis. The committee generally meets once a year at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.


Regional and ecosystem-specific networks

International exchange of experience and cooperation are key objectives of the MAB Programme. As a result, different regional and ecosystem-specific networks have formed within the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.


Further partners

  • Geokommission
    The Geokommission (commission for joint geoscientific research) was launched in 1968 by the Senate of the German Research Foundation DFG. The commission advises the DFG's bodies in their decisions on new geoscientific programmes, and builds the scientific basis for DFG's provision of scientific advice to parliaments, authorities and the public. A further task of the commission is to establish closer interdisciplinary cooperation among the various geoscientific activities and to coordinate the research activities of German geoscientists at home and abroad. The commission therefore maintains close contacts to the major international geoscientific unions. By constituting national committees, the commission ensures cooperation with the international research programmes. The commission represents Germany in the International Geoscience Programme of UNESCO and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).
  • International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO / Hydrology and Water Resources Programme (HWRP) of WMO
    In the national and international arenas, water-related issues are tackled at many levels and by various organizations. Within the United Nations (UN) system, only UNESCO and WMO (World Meteorological Organization) operate comprehensive water programmes that take account in equal manner of the needs of both highly developed and less developed countries. Germany is a member of these two United Nations specialized agencies, and has thus committed to contributing actively to their programmes. In relation to water, these are the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO and the Hydrology and Water Resources Programme (HWRP) of WMO.
  • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
    The German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency represents Germany in IOC.

Further information

MAB Governing bodies

Last Change: 04/01/2018

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