Spain and Morocco to collaborate on consolidating the Mediterranean Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve

Spain and Morocco to collaborate on consolidating the Mediterranean Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve


Posted 05 July 2011, by Staff, La Moncloa (Government of Spain),

A Memorandum of Understanding on the Coordination of the Mediterranean Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve and implementation of the common cornerstones of its 2011-2015 Action Plan was signed by the Spanish Minister for Environmental, Rural and Marine Affairs, Rosa Aguilar, the High Commissioner for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification of the Kingdom of Morocco, Abdeladim Lhafi, and the Environment Councillor from the Regional Government of Andalusia, José Juan Díaz Trillo.

The Memorandum, which will remain in force for a period of five years, is centred around various core issues aimed at consolidating the Mediterranean Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve through mechanisms and bodies for cross-border coordination, at developing management tools to implement the management plans governing the protected spaces within the Reserve, at common databases and monitoring indicators and at defining and raising the value of cultural heritage.

Other core issues are aimed at defining the potential for regional development, the creation and implementation of sustainable programmes and the training of development actors/agents and at communication, environmental awareness and social participation.

This Biosphere Reserve is located in the provinces of Malaga and Cadiz in Spain and those of Chaouen, Larache, Tanger and Tetuan in northern Morocco. In total, it spans an area of 907,185.02 hectares. The Spanish part covers an area of 423,535 hectares, of which 9,248 hectares are marine hectares belonging to the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Reserve forms part of the Mediterranean Region, sharing ecosystems of great value with the southern Iberian Peninsula that include the Abies pinsapo formations – a fir tree that can only be found in this part of the planet and that forms a temperate forest that has always existed in small areas with a Mediterranean climate, reminiscent of the huge fir tree forests that existed in this region during the ice age.

The creation of this cross-border biosphere reserve was the result of a laborious process undertaken by both countries in order to contribute to the ambitious target of attaining sustainable development for the populations that inhabit these lands. The initiative includes a significant cultural aspect of considerable interest from the perspective of helping achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the socio-economic development of nearby towns and offsetting the lack of continuity generated by political borders within large natural ecosystems.





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