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Biosphere invites feedback on its first ten years

Biosphere view to Merrick from Meikle Millyea 400 x 400

Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere has launched an online survey inviting public opinion on how the organisation has performed over the last decade, with the results reported back to UNESCO and used to steer the Biosphere's work in the years ahead.

The designation 'UNESCO Biosphere' was awarded in 2012 in recognition of the unique attributes that make Galloway and Southern Ayrshire a world class environment for people and nature.  There are currently more than 700 UNESCO Biospheres around the world, in which local natural and cultural heritage is not only safeguarded but used as a tool for learning and sustainable development.

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire was the first UNESCO Biosphere to be designated in Scotland and since 2012 has been working with a wide range of partners to support the development and delivery of a programme that encompasses conservation, education and building a sustainable economy.  Supported by three local authorities, South of Scotland Enterprise, NatureScot, and Scottish Forestry, their initiatives include the Biosphere Communities and Biosphere Certification Mark schemes, and the landmark PLACE in the Biosphere Project which ran between 2018-2021.  Among their ongoing work is support for the development of flagship cross-sector collaborations such as the Galloway Glens and Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership schemes.

All UNESCO Biospheres internationally are required to report back to UNESCO every 10 years on key achievements and their plans for the decade ahead, and it is important that the reporting process includes an opportunity for local communities, businesses and individuals to participate.  As the organisation moves into 2022 with an expanded core staff, the Biosphere team are inviting local people to complete an online survey which they hope will show that the region has felt positive impacts from its UNESCO Biosphere designation over the last ten years.

Ed Forrest, Director of the GSA Biosphere, says, "The decade since 2012 has brought unprecedented agreement on the importance of sustainability across all areas of life and work, as well as widespread recognition of the benefits of a participatory, community-led approach to climate action.  Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere is more 'of its time' now than ever before, and we are anticipating a dynamic future for our organisation and our partners as we work together to achieve a sustainable southwest.  Planning what, where and how we should operate in the years ahead is undoubtedly the most important part of our Periodic Review and everyone on the Biosphere team is looking forward to seeing how the experiences, opinions and ideas of local people can be made a part of this.  We would encourage anyone who has five or ten minutes to spare to go online, take our survey and have your say."

Councillor Alec Clark who represents South Ayrshire Council as a Board Member said: "The Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere has enjoyed remarkable success over the last 10 years. We have achieved a good balance between the land, nature and the people that live here, but there is always more to accomplish. We want businesses, landowners, and the local community to be ambassadors for the Biosphere, so ensuring that we gather their feedback on what's been achieved so far as well as incorporating their ideas for the future is vital."

The online survey is available at and will be running until Sunday 27 March.  For more information about Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere please visit or contact