UNESCO inscribed new biosphere reserves in July 2012. For the first time, biosphere reserves were designated in Haiti, Kazakhstan and the Island State of São Tomé and Príncipe.
In July 2012, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed 20 areas in Europe, Africa, America and Asia as new biosphere reserves. These include the Island of La Gomera in the Canary archipelago, the region of Jinggangsha in China known as the “cradle of the revolution”, and Ethiopia's last indigenous forest in the Sheka region.
Biosphere reserves were designated for the first time in Haiti, Kazakhstan and the Island State of São Tomé and Príncipe. Haiti's first biosphere reserve La Selle borders with the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo biosphere reserve in the Dominican Republic, thus extending the "Caribbean biological corridor “. A long term goal is to join the Haitian reserve with that of the Dominican Republic as a transboundary biosphere reserve.
Four biosphere reserves were also extended, including Chile’s Bosque de Fray Jorge National Park. 27 regions worldwide had applied for the designation. The precondition is that the areas have a strategic concept and the inhabitants’ of the biospheres have a sustainable way of life and livelihood that is in harmony with nature.
UNESCO’s worldwide network of biosphere reserves now covers 599 areas in 117 countries. The regions are representative cultural landscapes offering a diversity of ecosystems.
Since 1971, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme has been working on ways to manage regions in an environmentally friendly and resource conserving manner. The biosphere reserves across the world are a major instrument of the programme. In these model regions, the authorities, the private sector and local inhabitants work together in solving conflicting interests on issues such as climate protection, road building and land use.