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UNESCO declared Menorca as a biosphere reserve on October 8, 1993, taking into account the high degree of compatibility achieved between the development of economic activities, the consumption of resources and the conservation of a heritage and a landscape that has maintained, and continues maintaining exceptional quality today. Menorca is a territory with a very rich traditional rural landscape. It is home to a notable diversity of Mediterranean habitats, where species of animals and plants unique to the island live, some of them in danger of extinction.

Around the world there are more than 400 biosphere reserves where the concept of sustainable development is being experimented with. They are places in which human activity is carried out in a way compatible with the conservation of natural resources and cultural heritage. Menorca is part of the Spanish Network of Biosphere Reserves and maintains contacts with other biosphere reserves affiliated with the Man and Biosphere Program (MaB Program) of UNESCO.

The Consell Insular de Menorca, institutionally responsible for the reserve, has opted for sustainability, so that future generations of residents and visitors can continue enjoying the natural resources and landscape beauty that we have today. For this reason, we act with caution on the territory, to maintain in the long term the quality of life and environmental values that have earned the UNESCO declaration.
As a biosphere reserve, these are the challenges of Menorca:
• Promote the conservation of activities that maintain the traditional landscape and avoid those that could degrade it. For this, Menorca has the Insular Territorial Plan (PTI), which organizes the territory, ensuring sustainability and regulating urban growth.
• Strengthen the conservation of natural ecosystems and native fauna and flora, if they are threatened. To achieve this, campaigns are carried out to eradicate invasive flora and protect threatened species and the most unique habitats.
• Deepen the knowledge of natural and cultural wealth. For this, research is carried out on the archaeological and natural heritage.
• Define sustainability strategies at the local level. For this, each municipality has its Local Agenda 21 and its own Environmental Action Plan.
• Environmentally manage the coastline and beaches, which are the basis of tourist activity, through the protection of dune and marine ecosystems. To achieve this, manual cleaning is prioritized and the occupancy of the beaches is regulated.
• Minimize the environmental impact of daily human activities. To do this, all waste fractions are separated and properly treated: organic waste, paper, glass and packaging.
• Become an outdoor sustainability laboratory. For this purpose, the Menorca Socio-Environmental Observatory (OBSAM) has been created, which collects and analyzes the most relevant information on the biosphere reserve.

With the collaboration of Menorcan society, some NGOs and companies on the island, Menorca is carrying out development strategies to take advantage of its natural wealth and, at the same time, preserve it. To continue turning challenges into realities we also need the support of visitors, since all together we can contribute to making possible a development that is truly respectful of the environment.

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