Featured Image: View of Buderim Falls. Image courtesy of Sunshine Coast Council.

The Sunshine Coast has been officially recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, following years of advocacy from Sunshine Coast Council.

Biosphere Reserves are internationally recognised sites which provide local solutions for global problems by testing approaches to environmental and biodiversity management.

Council nominated the Sunshine Coast in 2019, which has now been recognised as an international site of excellence and an area of natural beauty.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said recognition was a truly historic moment for the Sunshine Coast.

“I am very proud to live and work in a region that has now become a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, as we continue to celebrate people and nature,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“After years in the making, this prestigious designation will help us protect and enhance our region, communities, economy and our natural environment for future generations.

“Becoming a biosphere supports Council and the community’s clear plan and vision for the future of the Sunshine Coast.

“Committing to being a biosphere ensures people on the Sunshine Coast can be confident their council and their broader community respect the environment and understand their place living within it.

“A biosphere designation shows the world we are a community that wants to live in harmony with our environment, recognises the need for responsible development to cater for the people choosing to live on the Sunshine Coast, while also recognising the importance of preserving our natural environment.”

Through a network of biospheres, Council will now have the opportunity to participate in the exchange of environmental expertise and strategy to help the community. 

Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor, Maria Suarez, said joining the network of UNSECO Biosphere reserves was a significant program to be part of.

“This designation supports our commitment to remain future focused and how each of us can contribute to a sustainable region as we live, work and play on the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Suarez said.

“Being a biosphere also has a range of benefits, particularly for our tourism and agriculture industries as our biosphere designation could support a sustainable ‘Produced on the Sunshine Coast’ brand which increases the value of products and services.

“With this designation, our region has the potential to become a magnet for others from around the world who want to buy from and visit a region that focuses on sustainability.

“This is the culmination of years of work and preparation and I’d like to thank the Community Reference Group and the wider community for partnering with Council in this process.”

 

Celebrations as Sunshine Coast officially becomes a UNESCO biosphere. Image courtesy of Sunshine Coast Council.

Celebrations as Sunshine Coast officially becomes a UNESCO biosphere. Image courtesy of Sunshine Coast Council.

 

Biosphere Community Reference Group (CRG) Chair, Will Shrapnel, said the group had informed and shaped what a biosphere designation would mean for the community through the nomination process, and the work would continue as the project now moved into the implementation phase.

“This is just the start of the journey,” Mr Shrapnel said.

“As a council and a community, now we start the process of evolving and applying what it means for us to be a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

“With this official designation, nothing changes overnight in terms of how we go about our daily lives, however it provides great clarity around what our future looks like as a region with sustainability as a fundamental consideration in the choices we make going forward.

“So many of us have chosen to live on the Sunshine Coast for its natural beauty and lifestyle, and this designation helps us clarify what we value as a community and how council can support us in protecting and enhancing what we have now for the benefit of future generations.”

To learn more about the biosphere, visit Sunshine Coast Council’s website.

Featured Image: View of Buderim Falls. Image courtesy of Sunshine Coast Council.

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