Unesco Forum on Biodiversity

Our Planet, Our Future: 50 Years of MAB "On the way to Kunming"

On March 24th at 1p.m, UNESCO will hold an online webinar to share its expertise and launch dialogue on the diversity of solutions that allow us to meet these challenges by drawing on the knowledge and practices of the millions of people inhabiting the planet’s ecosystems. UNESCO also wishes to be open to ideas, good practices and solutions developed by the personalities and partner organizations invited to this Forum.

Commitments & Pledges, Connectivity, Governance, Implementation, Multilateral Agreements, OECM, Protected Areas, Sustainable Development, Transformative change.

UNESCO’s ambition is for all humans to take responsibility for and become protectors of the living world. In 2021, as UNESCO celebrates its 75th anniversary, it wishes to share its expertise and launch dialogue on the diversity of solutions that allow us to meet these challenges by drawing on the knowledge and practices of the millions of people inhabiting the planet’s ecosystems. UNESCO also wishes to be open to ideas, good practices and solutions developed by the personalities and partner organizations invited to this Forum.

The online event will be organized in line with the programme below. It will be accessible in French and English and broadcast on UNESCO’s various online communication media and through partner media sites.

This inaugural session will mark the official launch of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme.

The MAB, an intergovernmental scientific programme, is UNESCO’s oldest. It was launched in 1971 with the aim of establishing a benchmark for improving the relationship between people and their environment. Its pioneering vision, which involves combining the natural and social sciences to improve human livelihoods and safeguard biodiversity and natural resources, makes it an important contributor to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

2021 is also a “super year” for biodiversity, during which new objectives and commitments will be made for the coming decade. UNESCO and all its partners will join forces in this regard.

During this inaugural session, the UNESCO Director-General will launch the initiative “Join us on the road to Kunming”, which will include a series of events, including those related to MAB.

Session moderated by Hala Gorani, journalist at CNN:

  • Message from the Director-General of UNESCO
  • Message from Dr Jane Goodall, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace MAB 50th Anniversary Patron
  • Message from 5 MAB young people
  • Message from Ms Lupita Nyong’o – TBC

Interlude: Message from Pope Francis read by Mrg Follo


SESSION 1: ” Facing the Challenges: Climate, Biodiversity and Ocean” (40′)

Guests and interactions with Hala Gorani, journalist at CNN:

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan
  • Ms Ana Maria Hernández Salgar, Chair of IPBES
  • Mr Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC
  • Mr Peter Thomson, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Oceans
  • Ms Ursula von der Layen, President of the European Commission – TBC

SESSION 2: Oceans: Transforming knowledge, political, economic and citizen action for the ocean (40’)

Objective: Human health and well-being, including sustainable and equitable economic development, depend on the health and safety of the ocean. The ocean provides food and sustenance for more than 3 billion people. It is an essential ally in the fight against climate change and the erosion of biodiversity, and is a source of important cultural, aesthetic and recreational values. This session aims to highlight the central role of the ocean in the post-COVID world. It underlines that, in addition to ensuring an equitable and sustainable recovery, we must act now if we are to achieve real climate action, preserve biodiversity and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Ocean health is central to achieving these goals. The purpose of the Ocean Science Decade is to “to catalyse transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development, connecting people and our ocean”. Building on the experience of different actors (scientists, the media, sportspeople and civil society), it will highlight innovative actions rooted in science, emphasizing the appropriation of knowledge by society as a whole and its use for a more resilient, equitable and sustainable future.


  • Mr Jesse H. Ausubel, Director of the Human Environment Program at Rockefeller University
  • Mr Damian Carrington, The Guardian’s Environment Editor
  • Ms Maya Gabeira, Brazil, Surfer
  • Mr Boris Hermann, skipper of the Vendée Globe Challenge, 2020-2021
  • Mr Romain Troublé, Director-General, Tara Foundations
  • Mr Enric Sala, Explorer and Initiator of the Pristine Seas Project, National Geographic


SESSION 3: Passing on our capacities for action and transformation: on the road to Kunming (40’)

Objective: This session aims to discuss a roadmap for action towards an ecological and solidarity-based transition. The roadmap will illustrate the eight transitions that the CBD (GEOBON Report 5) has identified as necessary for a more sustainable coexistence between societies and nature, and build on the practices and solutions shared by the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The goal is to develop a vision of how we can coexist on Earth differently and co-construct a common world that is inhabitable by all in 2030.

To achieve this reconciliation and respectful cohabitation, we must put biodiversity and climate action at the centre of our decisions and actions, given its essential role in the health, economy and well-being.  This session will contribute to the development of a concept note for the 2021 G20 in Italy, and seek to ensure that we no longer destroy the habitability of our common home and pass on this right to all present and future generations, building on the Global Network and the MAB Network’s youth-led movement in Kunming and for Stockholm +50 in 2022.


  • Ms Wasfia Nazreen, Mountaineer and environmental activist
  • Mr Basile Van Havre, Co-Chair of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
  • Ms Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Representative of the Indigenous Peoples of Lake Chad, SDG Advocate of the UNSG
  • Mr Nicolas Hulot, journalist and writer
  • Mr Arnaud Lallement, Chef Chiefs4thePlanet

Concluding remarks: a personality tbc and MAB young people (10’)

UNESCO is taking the lead in bringing people together to invest in human capacities for transformation by proposing an ethical framework based on evidence and good practices for living in harmony with nature that it has developed within its Global Network of Sites.

A new pact with the living world must be built. This is a huge work in progress that starts today at UNESCO. It will require a broad technical, political and ethical consensus throughout the year.

Follow the live sessions here:






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