GLASS HOUSE MOUNTAINS - MOUNT COONOWRIN

The Sunshine Coast community is excitedly awaiting final results to see whether or not the region will be internationally recognised as a biosphere.

If granted, UNESCO will officially recognise the Sunshine Coast as an international site of excellence and an area of natural beauty.

In 2019, on behalf of the community, Sunshine Coast Council developed the UNESCO Biosphere nomination and this June will find out if the our region gains international recognition, joining the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

The UNESCO website said that biosphere reserves “promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. They are learning areas for sustainable development under diverse ecological, social and economic contexts, touching the lives of more than 250 million people”.

Just four other sites in Australia are UNESCO designated biosphere reserves, including the Great Sandy and Noosa Biosphere Reserves.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson, said he was thrilled the nomination had made it to the final leg of the process.

“This is about celebrating people and nature.

“Having this credential will help us protect and enhance our region, communities, economy and natural assets.

“Becoming a biosphere will help us create a legacy for our children’s future; care for our beautiful landscapes and stunning beaches; protect, share and celebrate the cultural heritage of our communities and leverage international recognition and economic opportunities to grow local businesses.”

Council is aware that many markets want a clean, green product and a biosphere providence will open up enormous opportunities for the state’s food and agri-business sectors, allowing local businesses to brand their products and showcase the Sunshine Coast Biosphere.

“The UNESCO Biosphere nomination has been informed by our community, a diverse range of industry sectors, interest groups and government, and I thank the Sunshine Coast for their input and support,” Mayor Jamieson said.

Biosphere Community Reference Group Chair, Will Shrapnel, said if the region was recognised as a biosphere reserve then people could operate their business or enjoy the outdoors as they had always done, but with a confidence of a better future through a shared goal of sustainability.

“It’s important for our community to understand the fundamental value of sustainability within our region and recognise that we can all play a role in protecting and celebrating this special region where we live, learn, work and play,” Mr Shrapnel said.

Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor, Maria Suarez, said it was an exciting time for the Sunshine Coast and particularly all those directly involved in the journey to date.

“With more than 3000 community members engaged and 609 surveys completed in the preparation of our nomination, it has truly been a team effort,” Cr Suarez said.

“We expect an announcement in mid-June and we look forward to sharing the outcome with the world.”

The community can join the excitement by posting a photo or video of their favourite part of living on the Sunshine Coast with the hashtag #SCbiospherecountdown.

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