UNESCO lists Panna under Biosphere Reserves

The UNESCO has recently included Panna National Park of Madhya Pradesh under its list of Biosphere reserves. Along with Panna, Fuvahmulahand Addu Atoll of Maldives was also included under the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Highlights

The UNESCO, under its Man and Biosphere programme has included Panna Biosphere region as one of its Biosphere Reserve. Panna National park was included as biosphere reserve by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.

The UNESCO has described the National Park as a critical tiger habitat and has also pointed out that it is home to World Heritage site of Khajuraho temples.

The Controversial Ken-Betwa River Linking Project

The Ken-Betwa river linking project will inundate around 400 hectares of the Panna National Park. It is also a Tiger Reserve. It is spread over 4,300 hectares. The river linking project involves the construction of Daudhan Dam across river Ken as well.

On the other hand, the project will benefit 14 lakh people providing them with drinking water and generating 78 MW of hydropower.

Biosphere Reserve

When a region is declared as Biosphere reserve then the following three things are focussed

  • Conservation of cultural diversity and biodiversity
  • Economic development that is environmentally and socio-culturally sustainable.
  • Development through research, education, monitoring and training.

There are core areas, buffer zones and transition areas in a biosphere reserve. A core area is the strictly protected zone. Buffer zone is used for activities that support the ecology such as scientific research, training and education. Transition area is the zone where the ethnic communities of the region are allowed to foster sustainable economic activities.

When is a site declared as Biosphere Reserve under MAB programme?

The criteria to list an area as Biosphere Reserve is as follows

  • The site should contain minimally disturbed core for conservation
  • It should be large enough to sustain viable population
  • It should involve local communities. They should be capable enough to use their traditional knowledge in biodiversity preservation.

Man and Biosphere Programme

It was launched by UNESCO in 1971. It is an intergovernmental scientific programme that aims to establish scientific basis to improve the relationship between the people and their environment.

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