1.2 Man and the biosphere
UNESCO's 'Man and the Biosphere' programme (MAB), proposes an interdisciplinary research agenda and education for capacity building, aimed at improving the relationship of people, as citizens, with their environment globally. Launched in early 1970 it notably targets mass consumerism through the ecological, social and economic dimensions of biodiversity loss and the reduction of this loss. It uses its World Network of Biospereiosphere Reserves for knowledge-sharing, research and monitoring, education and training, and participatory decision- making in plans for sustainability.
MAB was launched in 1970 and initiated work in 14 Project Areas covering different ecosystem types from mountains to the sea, from rural to urban systems, as well more social aspects such as environmental perception. The MAB governing body, the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, usually referred to as the MAB Council or ICC, consists of 34 Member States elected by UNESCO's biennial General Conference. Between meetings, the authority of the ICC is delegated to its Bureau, whose members are nominated from each of UNESCO's geopolitical regions.
MAB's work over the years has concentrated on the development of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).
The biosphere reserve concept was developed initially in 1974 and was substantially revised in 1995 with the adoption by the UNESCO General Conference of the Statutory Framework and the Seville Strategy for Biosphere Reserves. Today, with more than 400 sites in over 100 countries, the WNBR provides context-specific opportunities to apply scientific knowledge to planning at all levels from government to community with the objectives of:
* Reducing biodiversity loss,
* Improving livelihoods,
* Enhancing social, economic and cultural conditions for environmental sustainability,
thus contributing to the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular MDG 7 on environmental sustainability.
Regarding capacity building, biosphere reserves can serve as learning and demonstration sites to promote global citizenship and sustainability, in the framework of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). In this respect the reserves have:
* a conservation function - to contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation;
* a development function - to foster economic and human development which is socio- culturally and ecologically sustainable;
* a logistic function - to provide support for research, monitoring, education and information  exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development.
The aim of a biosphere reserve is to encourage people to get involved with the management of these functions.  A management system is needed that is open, evolving and adaptive, in order for the local community to better respond to external political, economic and social pressures, which would affect the ecological and cultural values of the area.  This can best be achieved through organising the community system of 'people and environment' as an interdisciplinary knowledge framework of cultural ecology. Cultural ecology presents cross sectorial routes to engage people with
* managing consumerism to reduce inequalities;
* managing resources to improve livelihoods;
* managing resources for environmental sustainability;
* through plans for managing natural resources to improve livelihoods and maintain conditions for  environmental sustainability. 
As a process of enablement, the educational aim of cultural ecology is to encourage people to create self-made knowledge maps to position themselves within local plans for sustainability in  work, community, neighbourhood and home. The practical objective of cultural ecology is to promote solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. Therefore, involvement in a management plan presenting local issues in their wider interdisciplinary  aspects, promotes both local and global citizenship.
A mindmap of the community action plan for the North Devon Biodiversity Reserve , the only one in  the UK, is shown below.