The Transboundary Biosphere Reserve comprises Pribuzhskoye Polesie (Belarus), West Polesie (Poland) and Shatsky (Ukraine). Its certificate was presented at the conference on protecting and ensuring the sustainable development of Polesie region, hosted by Poland. A delegation from the Ministry of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus took part, alongside environmental authorities from Poland and Ukraine and the Secretariat of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme.
An agreement between the governments of Belarus, Poland and Ukraine to establish a trilateral biosphere reserve of West Polesie was signed in 2011. At the 24th session of the International Co-ordinating Council of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme, held in July in Paris, a nominating application was presented on its inclusion in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and was approved.
Tatiana Trafimovich, of the Land and Landscape Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, tells us that certification shows a desire to implement UNESCO policy regarding the conservation of natural areas. It also recognises Belarus’ efforts to promote the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
The West Polesie trilateral biosphere is the largest in Central and Eastern Europe, protecting forests covering 200,000 hectares. Most are upland Polesie forests, which have experienced anthropogenic transformation over the years. Forest ecosystems are seeing a high degree of natural recovery, with high potential for biological diversity; some species are found only in this region, which is a trans-boundary ecological corridor for European ecology.
The World Network of Biosphere Reserves is part of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme, protecting areas which have a delicate balance between man and nature, while promoting sustainable environmental development. The international network aims to drive forward the exchange of knowledge and experience, via educational and research programmes, while monitoring and implementing joint decisions. Currently, there are 598 biosphere reserves across 117 countries, including many international or cross-border reserves — such as the West Polesie tripartite biosphere reserve.