UNESCO Renomination of Fitzgerald Biosphere

Published on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 9:00:00 AM

In 2012 South Coast NRM funded a project to renominate Fitzgerald River Biosphere Reserve. Nathan McQuoid was contracted to develop the renomination for submission, a complex and lengthy process, involving significant consultation with a range of local and stakeholder groups, including state agencies, fishing peak bodies, indigenous people, local authorities and others. During the process the Great Southern Development Commission (GSDC), South Coast NRM and FBG contributed further resources to continue the contract and renomination process.

This process resulted in a renomination form and maps for an expanded and renamed Fitzgerald Biosphere as it was locally best known, in line with recommendations, and which now included a marine component, and with adjustments made to the draft buffer zone to remove any natural bushland areas subject to mineral lease, for submission to UNESCO, via the WA and Commonwealth Governments, in late 2015.

In early 2016, UNESCO thanked the involved parties for the renomination, and recommended the buffer zone be redesigned to make it contiguous around the Fitzgerald River National Park core, in line with the zone definition, and once adjusted resubmit the renomination form.    

In March 2017 the revised renomination form was submitted to UNESCO for an expanded Fitzgerald River National Park Biosphere Reserve, driven this time by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

The UNESCO International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves (IACBR) accepted the revised form. The IACBR has recommended the renomination for examination and endorsement to the MAB International Coordinating Committee (ICC) - who meet in June 2017 to deliberate on this and other matters before them.

We hope that the MAB International Coordinating committee will endorse and approve the renomination of a revised and modern Fitzgerald Biosphere. If they do, it will represent a significant achievement for the communities of Fitzgerald Biosphere and the supporting groups, agencies and individuals, as it will maintain a brand representative of the extraordinary natural and cultural character of the area, unique and valuable in world terms.

More details will be provided after the MAB ICC meeting in mid June.

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