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The Mab Programme (Man and Biosphere) was launched by UNESCO in the Seventies, with the purpose of improving the relationship between people and their environment. It studies the dynamic interrelationships between natural/near-natural ecosystems and socio-economic processes, promoting solutions for the conservation of biodiversity through a capacity-building approach.
This programme led to the creation of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, a list of areas which includes terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems that are identified and internationally recognized by UNESCO. The Member States must ensure their commitment to manage their respective areas engaging local communities.
The MAB Programme aims to foster sustainable economic and human development. It creates special places for testing interdisciplinary experimental approaches (research, environmental education, urban planning) that investigate and manage the changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, while reducing the loss of biodiversity.
Since June 9th 2015 a large part of the countryside surrounding Ferrara became identified as both Biosphere Reserve by the MAB designation, as well as cultural landscape by UNESCO WHL. This attests the outstanding value of this land for its cultural, landscape and economic characteristics.

These two inscriptions are based on the following criteria:
• The World Heritage List’s criterion is essentially the evidence of the visible traces of Renaissance culture into the layout of the city and its countryside. This inscription is permanent and focuses on the enhancement and conservation of the unaltered landmarks that still define the frame of the Unesco Site: “Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta”.
• The MAB Programme’s designation is a fixed-term inscription. This programme affects areas with an outstanding natural value. It aims to enhance the quality of landscape by planning a sustainable use of the resources, while involving public and private stakeholders.

Unesco MAB :

Parco del Delta del Po _ Biosphere Reserve :

Parco del Delta del Po _official website :

Commissione Nazionale Italiana per l’Unesco :