It has been announced by the United Nations Man and Biosphere Co-ordinating Council that the Isle of Wight is to become the UK’s latest UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The Isle of Wight is only the third place in England and just the sixth area in the UK to be awarded such a status.
Put simply, becoming an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve means the Isle of Wight is now recognised as one of the best places in the world to explore the sustainable way people interact with their natural environment.
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves are unique areas of environmental significance in which communities strive to work hand in hand, innovatively and responsibly to protect and support the local environment and the world we all live in.
This year’s Isle of Wight Mardi Gras Parade in Ryde will be in celebration of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, with over 30 schools, community organisations and off-Island carnival companies joining the New Carnival Company at 15:00 on 29th June.
The Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership worked on the application for UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status (on behalf of the British Government) for 3 years to ensuring the Island is recognised for the way people and nature coexist.
Richard Grogan, Lead Officer for the IW AONB said:
“This is global recognition that our Island is not only an area of outstanding natural beauty, but that Islanders have played their part in looking after it. In spite of the modern day pressures brought about by the progress of human beings, nature continues to thrive here.
“The AONB partnership will continue to encourage all Islanders to take care of the environment for our children and grandchildren, as our parents and grandparents did in their turn”.
Bob Seely, Isle of Wight MP said:
“I am delighted that the Isle of Wight has achieved this internationally-recognised status. Gaining this award is part of the agenda to appreciate and celebrate our landscape, for our quality of life and our aspirations as an island.
“We need to celebrate our unique and beautiful landscape and this award is recognition of the way we do that. We must continue to respect our landscape and preserve it for future generations. I congratulate all those involved in securing this status for the Island”.
James Bridge, Secretary-General and Chief Executive of the UK National Commission for UNESCO said:
“I had the privilege to visit the beautiful and biodiverse Isle of Wight in depth in October 2018 when it hosted the UK Biospheres’ meeting. The grassroots work, passion and commitment of people on the Isle to obtain Biosphere status is exceptional, exemplified by both the schoolchildren and teachers at the Mardi Gras and Richard Grogan of the IoW AONB and his team.
“This global recognition rightly demonstrates how the Isle of Wight is playing its part on the UK and world stage and helping contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and the UK’s key role in UN bodies like UNESCO.”