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Natural Biosphere Reserve

UNESCO recognized Menorca as a natural biosphere reserve on 8th of October of 1993, taking into consideration its high degree of compatibility achieved between the development of economic activities, expenditure and the conservation of a heritage and landscape that has maintained, and continues maintaining today, an exceptional quality. Menorca has a very rich and traditional rural countryside. It hosts a remarkable diversity of Mediterranean habitats in which rare animal species and plants live, some of them in threat of extinction.

UNESCO recognized Menorca as a natural biosphere reserve on 8th of October of 1993, taking into consideration its high degree of compatibility achieved between the development of economic activities, expenditure and the conservation of a heritage and landscape that has maintained, and continues maintaining today, an exceptional quality. Menorca has a very rich and traditional rural countryside. It hosts a remarkable diversity of Mediterranean habitats in which rare animal species and plants live, some of them in threat of extinction.

Around the world it there are more than 400 biosphere reserves where the concept of the sustainable development is being tried and tested. They are places in which human activity is developed alongside the vital conservation of natural resources and cultural heritage. Menorca is a member of the Spanish Network of Biosphere Reserves and maintains contact with other assigned biosphere reserves in Program Man and Biosphere (MaB Program) of UNESCO.

The Consell Insular of Menorca, the institute responsible for the reserve, has opted for a sustainability programme so that future generations of residents and visitors can continue enjoying the natural resources and beautiful countryside. For this reason, every project is studied carefully in order to maintain the quality of life and the environmental standards which merited the declaration of UNESCO. As a natural biosphere reserve, these are the aims of Menorca:

• To favour the conservation of activities that maintain the traditional countryside and to avoid any measures which pose a threat. For this reason Menorca has an Insular Territorial Plan (PTI), that classifies and protects land based on sustainability and regulating urban development.

• To reinforce the conservation of natural eco-systems and native fauna and flora if they are at risk. To this end campaigns are carried out to eradicate invading flora and protect threatened species and specific habitats.

• To widen knowledge of natural and cultural interest. For this reason investigations are carried out on archaeological and natural heritage.

•To define strategies of sustainability on a local scale. To this end each municipality has its Local agenda 21 and its own Plan of Environmental Action.

• To environmentally manage the coast and its beaches, which form such an important part of the tourist activity, by protecting the marine and dune eco-systems. For this manual cleaning is prioritized and the occupation of beaches is regulated.

• To diminish the environmental impact of the daily human activities. All waste is separated and processed accordingly; organic, everyday refuse, paper, glass and packaging.

• To become an outdoor sustainability laboratory. For this reason the Social-Environment Observatory of Menorca has been created (OBSAM), which collects and analyses all information relevant to the biosphere reserve.

With the collaboration of Menorcan society, some NGOs and local businesses, Menorca is carrying out development strategies to benefit from its natural beauty but also to preserve it. In order to continue making these aims a reality we also need the support of our visitors, as together we can truly help to make development possible with the utmost respect for our environment.

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