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Sunshine Coast’s quest to become a UNESCO biosphere nears finish line

The final countdown has begun as the Sunshine Coast community eagerly waits to find out if our region will be recognised around the world as a biosphere.


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


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


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


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


“A biosphere is a special place where responsible development and people working, living and playing sustainably sit alongside active conservation,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“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.


“With so many markets wanting a clean, green product, our biosphere providence will open up enormous opportunities for our food and agri-business sectors, allowing our local businesses to brand their products and showcase our 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.”


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.


“Currently, Australia has four UNESCO designated biosphere reserves, and across the world there are more than 700 in over 130 countries.


“I’m excited at the prospect of our Sunshine Coast joining this World Network of Biosphere Reserves.”


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.


To learn more, please visit Council’s website: sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au and search “biosphere”.


UNESCO aims to build peace through international cooperation in education, sciences and culture.

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