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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1996
THE SEVILLE STRATEGY AND THE FUTURE ROLE OF BIOSPHERE RESERVES IN SRI LANKA

I A U N Gunatilleke and C V S Gunatilleke
University of Peradeniya.

The Man and the Biosphere Programme of the UNESCO is designed to address the issue of reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with the quest for economic and social development while maintaining the associated cultural values. Having reviewed the global experience gained from the contributions made by activities in the Biosphere reserves and addressing these issues over the last decade, a strategy called 'Seville Strategy' was formulated in March 1995 by UNESCO. The Seville strategy recommends the actions to be taken for the development of biosphere reserves in the 21st century in response to some of the concerns of agenda 21 and their role in the implementation of the convention on Biological Diversity. The Seville conference has also developed a statuary framework setting out conditions for the functioning of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Sri Lanka has 39 forests declared as National MAB Reserves of which only Sinharaja and Hurulu have gained recognition as International Biosphere Reserves. With the revised policies of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Forestry Sector Development and Coastal Resource Management and the action plans prepared for sustainable manaement of protected areas in Sri Lanka, the critical role of MAB reserves along the guidelines of the Seville Strategy need to be identified, and a co-ordinated effort should be launched to establish at least a few demonstration projects on environmental education and training, research and monitoring related to local, national and global issues of conservation of biodiversity, cultural diversity and sustainable development. The contribution made by long-term research at Sinharaja in this direction is reviewed.

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