Dec 23, 2008, 4:35 AM
The Biosphere Steering Committee on Monday convened a one-day review meeting held at Parks and Wildlife conference hall, with participants drawn from the Departments of Forestry and Livestock, Media, Stay Green Foundation, National Environmental Agency, University of the Gambia, Gambia Tourism Authority, among others.
Speaking at the meeting, Alhagie Manjang, the Deputy Director of Parks and Wildlife Management spoke at length on the importance of the meeting, adding that the purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm on the biosphere nomination form, and how to fill the appropriate columns. Mr. Manjang implored participants to explore the form and to critically look into it.
For his part, Ablie Sawo, the Biosphere Project Manager said that "the form should be completed and two copies should be sent to UNESCO and biosphere secretariat."
According to him, biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystem or combination of both, which are internationally recognised within the framework of UNESCO's programme on man and the biosphere. He stated that they are established to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between human and the biosphere.
"Biosphere reserves are designated by the international coordinating council of man and biosphere programme at the request of the state concerned," he added.
Noting that individual biosphere reserve remains under the sovereign jurisdiction of the state where they are situated, he said collectively all biosphere reserves form a world network in which participation by states is voluntary.
Mr. Sawo revealed that world network is governed by the statutory framework adopted by the UNESCO general conferences in 1995, which presents the definition, objectives, criteria and the designation procedure for biosphere reserves.