A conversation with the Director of MAB France, Mrs Catherine Cibien

A conversation with the Director of MAB France, Mrs Catherine Cibien

Very often, talking about « projects » means using technical terms and very specific language understandable only to insiders/professionals. Sometimes these aspects make it difficult for a wider community of people to clearly understand what a project really does and why it is important.

We asked Mrs. Catherine Cibien, Director of MAB France, to help us clarify some key words and concepts which are the pillars on which the EduBioMed project is built.

What is the MAB programme?

The UNESCO Man and Biosphere – MAB Programme – was launched in 1971 to face a major issue: how to sustainably limit the erosion of biological resources and biodiversity while meeting the development’s aspirations of human beings? Today, this issue remains more topical than ever, with climate change as a new challenge to face.

Could you define what a Biosphere Reserve is and why it is important for the development of a territory?

Biosphere Reserves (BR) are learning places for sustainable development. Today, a Biosphere Reserve is a region engaged towards a more ecological and social way of life, testing innovative solutions for human well-being, local development and ecosystem conservation. It is a « model region », meant to inspire. To become part of the MAB program, such areas are proposed to UNESCO by national governments.

What is the importance of a project like EduBioMed?

Designing and managing BRs requires a comprehensive and integrated approach to problems, the development of new practices to encourage local participation, to manage socio-ecosystems and local development, and a capacity for social innovation. Training people is therefore a major issue.  The concept of BR is flexible and adapts to the diversity of geographical, ecological, cultural and political situations around the world. EduBioMed allows for a common reflection around trainings with the aim of enriching the University curricula, making them more innovative and adaptative to the specificities of all the countries around the Mediterranean Sea.

If you are interested to delve into the topic of Biosphere Reserves, you can find several documents on EduBioMed Website « Project References »

Biosphere Reserves in a nutshell : Have a look at this video

Meet the Expert

Catherine Cibien is the Director of MAB France. MAB France animates and strengthens the national network of 14 Biosphere Reserves, liaises with the French and international communities interested in this program: scientific community, educational and academic world, organizations for the management and conservation of biodiversity, sustainable development and ecological transition. She co-hosts the Master MAB (Man and Biosphere) at the University of Toulouse.