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Mura-Drava-Danube: World’s First Five-Country Biosphere Reserve

Mura-Drava-Danube (MDD) Was Declared As The World’s First ‘Five-Country Biosphere Reserve:

Mura-Drava-Danube (MDD) was declared as the world’s first ‘five-country biosphere reserve’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

  • The biosphere reserve covers 700 kilometres of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers and stretches across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia.
  • The total area of the reserve is a million hectares – in the so-called ‘Amazon of Europe’, which is now the largest riverine protected area in Europe.
  • The biosphere “represented an important contribution to the European Green Deal (climate action plan) and contributed to the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy in the Mura-Drava-Danube region.”
  • The strategy’s aim is to revitalise 25,000 km of rivers and protect 30% of the European Union’s land area by 2030.
  • The area is one of the richest in Europe in terms of species diversity.
  • It is home to floodplain forests, gravel and sand banks, river islands, oxbows and meadows.
  • The area is home to the highest density in Europe of breeding pairs of white-tailed eagle and endangered species such as the little tern, black stork, otters, beavers and sturgeons.
  • It is also an important stepping stone for more than 2,50,000 migratory waterfowls every year.

Biosphere Reserve (BR)

  • BR is an international designation by (UNESCO) for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large areas of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems or a combination of both.
  • BR tries to balance economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values along with the preservation of nature.
  • BRs are nominated by national governments and remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states where they are located.
  • These are designated under the intergovernmental MAB Programme by the Director-General of UNESCO following the decisions of the MAB International Coordinating Council (MAB ICC).
  • The 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.
  • Their status is internationally recognized.
  • There are 727 biosphere reserves in 131 countries, including 22 transboundary sites.
  • Three Main Zones:
    • Core Areas: It comprises a strictly protected zone that contributes to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation.
    • Buffer Zones: It surrounds or adjoins the core area(s), and is used for activities compatible with sound ecological practices that can reinforce scientific research, monitoring, training and education.
    • Transition Area: The transition area is where communities foster socio-culturally and ecologically sustainable economic and human activities.
  • Biosphere Reserves in India:
    • Presently, there are 18 Biosphere Reserves in India, among which 12 Biosphere reserves in India find their place in UNESCO’s List of Man & Biosphere Reserves Programme.

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