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Costa Brava bids to join UNESCO biosphere reserve network

Northern coastal region aims for international distinction awarded to sustainable areas in 2021


14 February 2019 07:19 PM


ACN | Barcelona


Costa Brava, the coastal region in the north of Catalonia, has put forward its candidacy to be included in UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).

The Girona regional council announced the bid on Thursday for the picturesque coastal area that includes "116 municipalities within an area of 6,600km2."

Costa Brava in the province of Girona is one of Catalonia's most popular tourist destinations, boasts important natural spots, and has a thriving fishing industry and business sector.

The UNESCO network embraces internationally designated areas, known as biosphere reserves, which show a sustainable balance between people and nature.

The bid will focus on such unique spots as the Gavarres and Albera massifs, along with nature reserves, and natural areas protected under the Special Plan of Natural Interest.

Local actors support bid

According to the regional councilor in charge of environment, Lluís Costabella, the initiative has been welcomed by a range of local actors, including the farming and fishing sectors.

With over 4,000 km2 of sea, the head of the Fundació Mar, Miquel Ventura, said one goal of the bid is to get the public to participate in "the custody of the marine biodiversity."

As Costa Brava is such a popular holiday destination, the bid also aims to promote more sustainable tourism, such as policies to combat job insecurity among seasonal workers.

Among the different organizations contributing to the bid will be Girona University, local and regional councils, and the SOS Costa Brava pressure group, among others.

10-year plan

Becoming a biosphere reserve requires a 10-year plan for the conservation of the environment and to promote sustainability in different areas that UNESCO reviews after 10 years to check the goals have been met.

If the Spanish delegation of the biosphere program authorizes the candidacy in early 2020, the bid will go before UNESCO to decide on whether to grant the distinction in early 2021.


  • The press conference for Costa Brava's candidacy on February 14 2019 (by Aleix Freixas)

  • The press conference for Costa Brava's candidacy on February 14 2019 (by Aleix Freixas)