A sustainable development field observatory of UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserves

The Biosphere Smart Initiative promotes the transition to green societies and sustainable futures by facilitating networking and information sharing of smart knowledge gained in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves through the use of new information and communication technologies.

The Biosphere Smart Initiative includes a global observatory and information facility, the Biosphere Smart Information Platform created to facilitate sharing of ideas, best practices, and experiences among UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserves on challenges and smart solutions related to climate change, green economies, and sustainable development at large.

The green transition will need an information revolution

The Biosphere Smart Initiative was launched during the 24th Session of the International Co-ordinating Council (ICC) of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme (2012), which highlighted the "need of the MAB Programme and its networks to be a substantial tool for the implementation of the Rio+20 follow up and for this purpose on the need for the improvement of the communication by using tools like Biosphere SMART on green economies and by using biosphere reserves as study sites for all UNESCO Programmes".


World Network of Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere Smart Information Platform


Smart Biosphere Reserves

BR Digital


By sharing their resources and experiences and running new e-services, the Biosphere Smart platform helps to spread the role of biosphere reserves, and in some cases also UNESCO World Heritage sites as places of excellence to test and demonstrate innovative approaches to sustainable development from local to international scales.

The Biosphere Smart Information Platform is a web-based facility linked to UNESCO-MAB web page for Biosphere Reserves, with the aim of:

  • Sharing ideas and best practices on issues related to sustainable development and climate change
  • Sharing experience and lessons in using biosphere reserves as green economy models
  • Providing an educational tool with mapping and advanced communication services
  • Empowering sustainable communities to improve their access to information and decision-making capacity
  • Improving information and response capacity for public and private decision makers and the scientific community in biosphere reserves
  • Share and facilitate access to the knowledge and expertise of the scientific community
  • Strengthen partnerships within the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR)
  • Fostering the use of remote sensing technology to meet local and global challenges

BR Digital

Imagine My Biosphere Reserve

The Biosphere Smart Information Platform can provide biosphere reserves with their own dedicated information platforms. Known as “BR Digital”, these information platforms promotes community-based visions for each biosphere reserve. Several biosphere reserves, such as Fuerteventura, have already successfully opened this new interactive window.

Through BR Digital citizens become empowered to provide, act on and benefit from biosphere reserve related information and experiences.

Citizens to be actors in smart biosphere reserves

As an eLearning platform, Biosphere Smart enables citizens living within Biosphere Reserves to collect environmental, cultural and social data using computers or mobile devices. With the assistance of the BR Digital, citizens can observe the important green economy and sustainable development components of a biosphere reserve by going on a virtual walk to observe and document the existing biodiversity trends, land use, cultural assets, community services, transportation systems, waste management systems, tourist facilities.

Empowering sustainable communities

BR Digital gives citizens, public and private decision makers an enhanced ability to discuss, negotiate, develop and test innovative ways for promoting sustainable development in and with the biosphere reserve.. For example, BR Digital can help address questions, like is this activity sustainable? How does it benefit residents? What is the status of our natural and cultural resources? What primary goals drive my biosphere reserve?

BR Digital:

  • Allows citizens to get more involved in decision makin using Information technologies
  • Help Improve information flow about the biosphere reserve with the help of interactive maps and multimedia resources
  • Empowers people through the use of smart participatory tools
  • Provides an innovative sustainable development observatory
  • Opens smart windows to visitors of the biosphere reserve
  • Provides a system for indicators and gauges of sustainability
  • Fosters geospatial thinking and learning in education for sustainable development at local scales
  • Reinforces the sense of My Reserve

Green gauges


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