The Council Room, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington
Gore, London SW7 2AR
Telephone: 0171 591 3069
(16 February 2000 version)
||Institute of Biology
||Permanent Delegation of the United
Kingdom to UNESCO
||The Scottish Office Agriculture,
Environment & Fisheries Dept.
||ECI, University of Oxford
||DETR European Wildlife Division
||UNESCO Division of Ecological
||UK UNESCO Forum
|Nigel de N Winser
||Royal Geographical Society
||The Royal Society
- Welcome and introduction to the UK MAB Committee.
Mike Roberts welcomed all to the meeting and invited
a brief round of introductions.
Apologies were noted from Peter Upton (UK National
Commission for UNESCO), Peter Bridgewater (UNESCO-MAB),
Mark Collins and Jerry Harrison (WCMC), Ruth Cooper
(Royal Society), Richard Leafe (English Nature) and Iain
Orr (FCO). Carole Bevis and Sarah Wright were welcomed
as representatives of Peter Upton and Ruth Cooper,
Confirmation of Minutes of the last meeting.
Minutes from the Meeting held on 16 February 1999
were accepted as correct.
Papers as indicated in Action items had be
circulated. The only Matter Arising concerned Status of
the UK National Commission for UNESCO, covered below.
Status of the UK National Commission for UNESCO.
Geoffrey Haley summarised events concerning the
formation of the UK National Commission for UNESCO, the
Secretariat for which was established on 6 January 2000
in the Central Bureau of the British Council, Spring
Gardens, London. Peter Upton is Acting Secretary
The Foundation Committee developed a
"Constitution" that included the creating of
five specialist sub-committees: Education, Culture,
Science, Communications, and Sustainable Development and
Human Rights. The Secretariat is currently developing
the Terms of Reference and the arrangements for the
appointment of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the
sub-committees. It is anticipated that a list of Chairs
and Vice-Chairs, the draft Terms of Reference and
outline agendas will be circulated by the end of
February. A Council will be established comprising the
Chairs and Vice-Chairs of these sub-committees, and
others. The 2002/3 UNESCO biennium will see the need for
a round of consultations with National Commissions to
assess UNESCO’s priorities.
The Committee recognised David Wardrop’s
considerable efforts in helping the UK National
Commission for UNESCO to come about.
David Wardrop expressed his pleasure at the outcome
and congratulated David Stanton and Geoffrey Haley on
their efforts. He expressed the hope that there might be
5 "shadow chairs" for the Council, one per
UNESCO Science Programme, and also felt there was a need
to consider how the UK MAB National Committee could be
more proactive. He closed by saying he felt it
appropriate to "bow out" of the Committee at
Mike Roberts noted that there are four active
National Committees for UNESCO science programmes in the
UK: IGCP, IHP, IOC and MAB. These should feed into the
National Commission, although it was noted that the UK
Government had rejected that Chairs be included in the
National Commission. Geoffrey Haley noted the hope that
the Commission be somewhat "elastic", and that
Chairs of the science programme’s committees might be
co-opted onto the Science sub-committee. This might be
discussed during the February 2000 meeting of the Forum,
hopefully to be co-hosted by the National Commission.
ACTION: UK National Commission for UNESCO to give
details of Chairs of Commission sub-committees to the
Chairs of UK National Committees for UNESCO science
programmes, when available.
Summary reports on Declaration of the World
Conference of Science (adopted by the General
Conference as 30C Resolution 20); (ii) the agenda for
action (30 C Resolution 21); and (iii) the Joint
Statement by the five Chairpersons of UNESCO’s
Jane Robertson noted two emphases of the Declaration
of the World Conference of Science: (i) Science
education and increasing public awareness of the general
scientific knowledge; and (ii) The value of traditional
knowledge (but noted that the Royal Society and US
National Academy of Sciences differentiated between
pseudo sciences (e.g. astrology) and real science (e.g.
local scientific knowledge). UNESCO has a comparative
advantage on links between education and science,
particularly regarding helping young scientists. The
Joint Statement by the "Five Chairs" shows
commitment for improved collaboration and integration
between UNESCO’s science programmes in the 21st
Century; and in preparation for "Rio + 10".
The role that the UK MAB Committee could play in the
"Rio + 10" process needs to be considered.
Peter Bridgwater has been confirmed as Director of
the MAB programme. The mid-January 2000 MAB Bureau
meeting will be considering MAB’s future. An Expert
Meeting to undertake a "Seville + 5" review of
BR issues will be considered (proposed for 6-16 November
2000). It was noted that, in contrast to the UK MAB
Committee whose mandate is broader, this review will not
consider wider MAB issues. Mike Roberts noted the need
to establish the balance in MAB between BRs and other
components.) A UNESCO Conference "Biosphere and
Society", will be held in the University of
Columbia, USA in April 2001.
In noting that some UNESCO initiatives are being
taken over by other organisations, David Wardrop
questioned whether UNESCO was working effectively in the
area of Education for Sustainability, and noted the need
for greater links with UNESCO in this important area.
David Wardrop also noted that the role of the Urban
Forum would be clearer when the MOST National Committee
ACTION: Jane Robertson to circulate MAB Bureau
Meeting Report to all National Committees asap, and
table in background papers at EuroMAB 2000.
ACTION: John Ingram to circulate MAB Bureau
Meeting Report to UK MAB Committee members asap.
EuroMAB 2000: First Joint Meeting of Biosphere
Reserve Coordinators and National Committees
(Cambridge; Monday 10 - Friday 14 April 2000).
Martin Price summarised the programme, noting the
background for the joint meeting, and that the BR survey
could be valuable material for the "Seville +
5" review. The potential for promoting an
educational aspect in the Conference by including a
possible workshop discussion on the use of BRs in
Educational activities was noted. Speakers need to be
invited quickly. All members of the UK MAB Committee are
welcome to the whole event.
The suggestions from the US MAB Committee on possible
"Actions" MAB might adopt were tabled. Jane
Robertson’s office will solicit and collate similar
lists from other National Committees, for tabling for
discussion at the Conference.
The Committee noted the funding situation. Confirmed
sponsors (DETR, WCMC, British Council and UNESCO) were
thanked. The priority of securing the Participation
Programme grant was noted and Committee members invited
to make suggestions of other possible donors. The
possibility of 1- or 2-day tickets needs to be
Martin Price’s offered support of three graduate
students for general Conference duties was noted with
thanks. (They would look after their own accommodation.)
ACTION: Mike Roberts to write to Michael Meacher,
inviting a DETR Minister to open the Conference, noting
a flexible approach to the actual timing of the speech.
ACTION: Martin Price, Jane Robertson and John
Ingram to determine invitees.
ACTION: John Ingram to approach British Council
ACTION: Geoffrey Haley to approach DfID East
Europe Section re sponsorship.
ACTION: All UK Committee Members to forward
suggestions of possible MAB Actions to John Ingram for
collation and sending to Jane Robertson.
UK Urban Forum.
The Committee noted the report of the 99/00 work
programme. It was agreed that Topic 5 would now not be
attached to the EuroMAB 2000 Conference.
John Box reported the general interest in the UK in
the UK Urban Forum. The problem many people experienced
in attending all the meetings could be eased by better
use of the WWW. Greater input from the MAB Secretariat
in Paris would be welcome, as would links to other Urban
Fora in EuroMAB and elsewhere.
The Committee noted the need for funds for (i) a
workshop "MAB-Logo" Urban Forum sites, and
(ii) an Expert Seminar (with CEH-Monks Wood - contact:
Mark Hill) on Recombinant Ecology. The benefits of a
clearer title than "Recombinant Ecology", and
a possible link to a BES meeting were noted.
Jane Robertson noted that the UK Urban Forum has no
international dimension, but informed the Committee that
a Task Force on BRs and Urban Areas would be considered
by the MAB Bureau. DETR is interested in the Urban Forum
for the development of local action plans.
ACTION: John Box to liaise with Helen Shaw about
Urban Forum material on the UK MAB WWW site.
ACTION: John Ingram to invite John Box to give
(or nominate someone to give) a 15 min presentation at
EuroMAB 2000, and to present a poster on the work of the
Review of the UK Biosphere Reserves.
Martin Price reported that the BR Report had been
endorsed by UNESCO’s BR Advisory Committee. Roger
Pritchard reported that devolution and general
bureaucracy had complicated progress in publishing the
Report, but that it could now be disseminated.
Using the Review as a background, a consultative
exercise should determine whether the BRs should
continue, and/or whether new candidates could be
considered, especially in areas of high biogenic
resources (the New Forest is an example of a possible
addition). A small discussion meeting would be convened
by DETR prior to a workshop in the autumn 2000 to
consider possible additions. In England this would be
coordinated with English Nature, with an parallel
exercise being conducted in Scotland. The UK MAB
Committee could report the outcomes to the 2001 MAB
Bureau Meeting, so the UK position could then be taken
up by the UNESCO Council in 2002.
ACTION: John Ingram/Helen Shaw to publish the
Report on the UK MAB WWW site.
Northern Sciences Network.
While this is not seen as a main component of MAB, it
should be discussed in the EuroMAB 2000 Conference.
ACTION: John Ingram to invite Fred Roots to speak
on NSN at Conference.
UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize.
Now it is formalised, it was agreed that the UK
National Commission for UNESCO would be the appropriate
body to deal with this.
ACTION: John Ingram to discuss with Peter Upton.
MAB Young Scientists Awards.
Committee members noted the Call for Nominations. Any
application should be sent to John Ingram for forwarding
to Peter Upton.
ACTION: All Committee members to disseminate Call
Any other business.
The UK MAB WWW site should have links to other
sites as appropriate, e.g. JNCC, National
ACTION: All Committee members to send John
Ingram/Helen Shaw appropriate links for the UK MAB
Nigel Winser informed the Committee about the RGS
Field Centres Network, and the plans to develop a WWW
search engine to locate Centres in given regions of
the world where visiting researchers would be
Mike Roberts informed the Committee that Peter
Upton had accepted an invitation to join the
Mike Roberts closed the meeting by thanking the RGS
for hosting the Meeting.
The next meeting will be held in mid-January 2001.
Details will be circulated nearer the time.