Rich­est Water Re­serves

Southasia - - Briefing -

The Baa Atoll in Mal­dives has been de­clared a UNESCO World Bio­sphere Re­serve – an area of nat­u­ral ex­cel­lence rec­og­nized for its unique har­mony be­tween man and na­ture.

It now joins an il­lus­tri­ous list of in­ter­na­tional Bio­sphere Re­serves in­clud­ing the Cen­tral Ama­zon (Brazil), Gala­pa­gos Is­lands (Ecuador), Ni­a­gara Es­carp­ment (Canada) and Yel­low­stone National Park (United States), among oth­ers.

UNESCO rec­og­nized the Baa Atoll’s “great po­ten­tial for demon­strat­ing sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment through­out the Mal­dives and the re­gion, while re­ly­ing on a green econ­omy”, dur­ing the 40th an­niver­sary of UNESCO’s Man and the Bio­sphere Pro­gram in Dres­den, Ger­many re­cently.

World Bio­sphere Re­serves are places where con­ser­va­tion, re­search and de­vel­op­ment suc­cess­fully in­ter­con­nect. The Baa Atoll is home to some of the rich­est wa­ters in the Mal­dives. It is home to 12,000 peo­ple dis­trib­uted across 13 pop­u­lated is­lands and six re­sorts. The atoll is one of the most bio­di­verse in the Mal­dives with high con­cen­tra­tions of manta rays, whale sharks and tur­tles, and a num­ber of species of coral and sea slugs are unique to the area. The renowned manta ray and whale shark feed­ing site of Han­i­faru Bay is one of the core pro­tected ar­eas of the Re­serve.

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