The countdown is on to find out if the Sunshine Coast will become an internationally-recognized area of natural beauty.
UNESCO will announce whether the region will be recognized as a biosphere in June.
Just four other sites in Australia are designated biosphere reserves, including the Great Sandy, Noosa, Fitzgerald (WA) reserves, along with the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port (Victoria) reserve.
Sunshine Coast Council developed a UNESCO Biosphere nomination in 2019, on behalf of the community.
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,” he 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 recognized 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 recognize that we can all play a role in protecting and celebrating this special region where we live, learn, work and play,” he 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.”
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Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councilor Maria Suarez said it was an exciting time for the Sunshine Coast and particularly for those directly involved in the journey.
“With more than 3,000 community members engaged and 609 surveys completed in the preparation of our nomination, it has truly been a team effort,” she 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 favorite part of living on the Sunshine Coast with the hashtag #SCbiospherecountdown.
To learn more, please visit the Sunshine Coast Council – Biosphere nomination.