Humans and nature
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Engiadina Val Müstair
The Swiss National Park was designated as the first Swiss biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1979. In 1995, UNESCO in Seville substantially adapted and modernised the concept of biosphere reserves. The SNP no longer met UNESCO's new requirements, as it consists exclusively of a strictly protected core zone. For this reason, the SNP sought cooperation with Val Müstair from 2001 onwards in order to establish a maintenance and development zone there. In a first step, the Biosfera Val Müstair applied for the status of a regional nature park according to the new Nature and Cultural Heritage Protection Act. The regional nature park Biosfera Val Müstair has been recognised as a regional nature park by the federal government since 2010. On 2 June 2010 UNESCO provisionally granted the label with two conditions.
In 2015, the municipality of Scuol approved the expansion of the biosphere reserve on the northern side and has become the third cooperation partner since 1 January 2016. The corresponding dossier was submitted to UNESCO in Paris in September 2016. On 13 June 2017, UNESCO definitively awarded the label.
What are biosphere reserves?
The 669 biosphere reserves worldwide are model regions: The protection of biological diversity and natural resources is in harmony with their sustainable use.
A region can be recognised as a UNESCO biosphere reserve if, according to the Seville Strategy, it
- comprises representative ecosystems of the biogeographical regions of the world,
- is of great importance for the conservation of biodiversity,
- allows for sustainable development and research in this field,
- has one or more core zones surrounded by a maintenance zone which ensures the protection of the ecosystems, as well as a development zone in which sustainable use of the resources is possible,
- fits into a form of organisation that provides, among other things, for the participation of the population and important stakeholders.
Some of these criteria correspond to the requirements for a regional nature park laid down in the Federal Law on the Protection of Nature and Cultural Heritage. Therefore, in Switzerland only regions that have the park label can submit a candidature for a UNESCO biosphere reserve.