UNESCO Chair: Sustainable heritage and environmental management
UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme

Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere

UNESCO's "Man and the Biosphere" (MAB) Programme, and its associated World Network of Biosphere Reserves, is a central part of the UNESCO Chair's focus area at UiB. The MAB programme was established in 1971 and currently consists of 701 biosphere reserves in 124 countries (2019), with a total land area the size of China and a total population of 225 million people. Biosphere reserves are ‘learning places for sustainable development’. They are sites for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity. The mission of the MAB programme is to help the UN's member states to achieve the sustainable development goals (Agenda 2030) by using the biosphere areas as 'Science for Sustainability Support Sites'.

Profile of the proposed Nordhordland Bioshpere Area from the ocean in the West to the mountains in the East.
Profile of Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere from the open ocean to the West and to the mountains in the East.
Kjersti Isdal
Norway was appointed its first biosphere reserve - Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere - on June 19th at UNESCO's headquaters in Paris.
Nordhordland in a nutshell
Rita Sæle Langeland
Norway was appointed its first biosphere reserve - Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere - on June 19th at UNESCO's headquaters in Paris.
Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere was appointed 19th June 2018 in Paris
Arne Abrahamsen
Nordhordland biosphere reserve logo.
The official logo for the Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere
Nordhordland biosfæreområde
Photo from Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere-workshop at the SDG conference in Bergen, 2020
Enthusiastic workshop-participants discussed sustainable development in the Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere during the SDG conference in Bergen, 2020
Paul S. Amundsen/UiB
Photo from Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere-workshop at the SDG conference in Bergen, 2020
Local stakeholders, scientists and politicians exchanged ideas for a sustainable future for the Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere during the SDG conference-workshop in Bergen, 2020.
Paul S. Amundsen/UiB

Main content

The Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere is representative not only of western Norway but Norway as a whole. The Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere will help Norway achieve its commitments to the UN's Agenda 2030. Focal points are:

  • Nature: Western Norway supports a heterogenous landscape, stretching from the outer coast through fjords to high mountains, marked by sharp climatic and ecological gradients
  • Water: The west-coast recieves lots of percipitation! Norway is consequently the 6th largest producer of hydropower in the world and the largest in Europe
  • Aquaculture & fisheries: Large-scale aquaculture as well as resources of pelagic fish stocks makes Norway the largest ocean-farming actor in Europe
  • Petroleum: Petoleum and petroleum-related industries shape modern Norway and the oil refinery at Mongstad is situated in the middle of the biosphere area
  • Tourism: The Bergen region, incuding Nordhordland, is an attractive tourist destination, as it offers both cultural and natural attractions

How do we achieve Agenda 2030 using biosphere areas?

  • Identify and assess the changes in the biosphere resulting from human and natural activities and the effects of these changes on humans and the environment
  • Study and compare the dynamic interrelationships between natural/near-natural ecosystems and socio-economic processes
  • Ensure basic human welfare and a livable environment in the context of rapid urbanisation and energy consumption as drivers of environmental change
  • Promote the exchange and transfer of knowledge on environmental problems and solutions, and to foster environmental education for sustainable development

Strategy for Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere

After being assigned as Norway's first UNESCO Biosphere in 2019, Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere has developed a strategy plan for 2020-2024. There are five focal topics of the biosphere strategy:

  1. Vibrant communities
  2. Nature, environment and climate
  3. Knowledge and education
  4. Green value creation
  5. Meeting places and communication: This is the link between all topics.

Are you interested in the strategy plan? See more information from Nordhordland Utviklingsselskap IKS: http://www.nordhordlandbiosphere.no/nordhordland-biosfaereomraade-sin-strategi.6243032-366249.html