Julian Alps MAB UNESCO Trasboundary Biosphere Reserve

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UNESCO MAB Julian Alps, together at last!

The “Man and Biosphere (MAB) UNESCO programme” is an international initiative to promote sustainable development, nature conservation and involvement of local communities.

In the framework of the UNESCO MAB, territories are recognized as 'Biosphere Reserves' if their local communities live and act in harmony with the surrounding nature. There are 738 Biosphere Reserves worldwide, only 22 are transboundary recognitions.

The Julian Alps, on both sides, have already obtained this important recognition (the Slovenian Alps since 2003 and the Italian Alps since 2019) and are now two distinct Biosphere Reserves. The recognition as transboundary Biosphere Reserve would allow, by transcending national administrative borders, to unify the perimeters of the two current Biosphere Reserves, covering an area of almost 277,000 hectares in total. The transboundary Biosphere Reserve will not override the existing national recognitions but will be in addition to them.

Between December 2022 and August 2023, the Julian Pre-Alps Natural Park and the Triglav National Park, as coordinators of the national Biosphere Reserves, have developed studies and technical analysis for the drafting of the nomination form, involving all the stakeholders of the Julian Alps (local authorities, enterprises, associations, the world of education, universities and research bodies,...) in the "construction" of the new Transboundary Biosphere Reserve through a series of meeting.

On September 28th, 2023, the Slovenian Ministry of the Natural Resource and Spatial Planning, in agreement with the Italian National MAB Technical Committee, has officially transmitted to the UNESCO MAB Secretariat the nomination form and the documentation realized. The response by UNESCO to the nomination is attended by June 2023.

Delivery of the Nomination Form to UNESCO
H.E. Ms. Metka Ipavic, Ambassador (Permanent Delegate of Slovenia to UNESCO), H.E. Mr. Liborio Stellino, Ambassador (Permanent Delegate of Italy to UNESCO),
Mr. António Abreu, Director of EES and Secretary of MAB Programme UNESCO, and Ms. Meriem Bouamrane Chief of MAB Research and Policy Section, UNESCO

The Nomination Form and the Map of the candidate Julian Alps Transboundary Biosphere Reserve is available here:

Julian Alps TBR
Nomination Form

Julian Alps TBR


5 July 2024 in Agadir (Morocco) the International Coordination Council (ICC) of the UNESCO MAB programme officially recognized the new Transboundary Biosphere Reserve of the Julian Alps. It is the twenty-fourth transboundary biosphere reserve in the world and was born from the union of the pre-existing Italian and Slovenian national biosphere reserves. Common candidature was presented by the Triglav National Park and the Julian Prealps Nature Park, with collaboration and support of the responsible Ministries of Slovenia and Italy, and with the national UNESCO MAB Committies. This was highly appreciated by the UNESCO MAB Advisory Board that underlined the natural and cultural characteristics of this extraordinary territory as well as the joint work carried out to involve the local stakeholders. The ICC also wanted to encourage the proponents and the authorities to continue joint activities and a common action aimed at a future extension of the transboundary reserve which could involve the border territory of Austria. On the occasion of the recognition was also highlighted how Biosphere Reserves are not only tools of collaboration in the environmental and sustainable development fields but also instruments of peace. The goal achieved once again confirms the common desire to strengthen the already long-standing cooperation between the two areas that goes beyond the border in the name of the concept that "NATURE KNOWS NO BORDERS".

For more information:

Riserva della Biosfera Alpi Giulie

Biosferno območje Julijske Alpe