The registration of Monte Grappa as a new ‘Biosphere Reserve’ and the extension of the ‘Tuscan-Emilian Apennine’ Reserve have been approved.
Our extraordinary natural heritage has received two new prestigious awards from UNESCO. On 15th September, the 33rd Session of the International Coordination Council of the UNESCO ‘Man and Biosphere’ Programme (ICC-MAB), which met in a hybrid format, both online and in Abuja (Nigeria), decreed the inclusion of the ‘Monte Grappa’ site the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and the extension of the ‘Tuscan-Emilian Apennine’ Reserve, which has been part of the Network since 2015.
The Network of Biosphere Reserves includes protected areas of outstanding natural value, in which innovative models of sustainable development are being tested, with the aim of promoting a more balanced relationship between human activities and the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity, and with the involvement of all the actors present in the area, both public and private. 727 sites in 131 countries are currently part of the Network.
The registration of the Monte Grappa site brings the number of Italian Biosphere Reserves up to 20. Located in Veneto, the Monte Grappa Biosphere Reserve covers about 66,000 hectares and protects the Grappa Massif, which lies between the Piave and Brenta rivers, and the surrounding foothills and hills: a natural and historical asset of great value between the Po valley and the south-eastern Alps. The candidacy was submitted by a vast network of entities, including 25 municipalities and the three provinces of Belluno, Treviso and Vicenza, coordinated by the municipality of Pieve del Grappa. The site was assessed as a ‘laboratory of concrete and innovative ideas‘, capable of producing green economy, circular economy and corporate social responsibility, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
The MAB Council also approved the expansion of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine Biosphere Reserve, proposed by the National Park of the same name. Located between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, the Reserve has now been extended to Liguria, covering 500,000 hectares and involving 80 Municipalities (46 of which are new) in 6 Provinces (Modena, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Lucca, Massa-Carrara and La Spezia). It is a mountainous area that geographically and climatically connects continental Europe and Mediterranean Europe and is characterised by its rich biodiversity and its benefits for the ecosystem. The extension of the Reserve aims to raise awareness among local communities and provide new opportunities for young people, encouraging them to stay on the territory.
These important achievements are the result of decades of work coordinated by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, in collaboration with the MAB National Technical Committee and the various departments and central bodies represented in it, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Italian National Commission for UNESCO. The registration of the Monte Grappa Reserve and the extension of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine Reserve reaffirm the need to increase efforts to combat the effects of climate change and promote an increasingly balanced relationship between man and the environment.