The history of the SACAM was began when MAB representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka met in Dehra Dun (India) in February 2001 in the context of the "Regional Meeting of Coordinators of MAB National Committees and biosphere reserves in South and Central Asia". At this meeting, participants felt the need of closer collaboration through the creation of a sub-regional network that could facilitate information exchange on biodiversity conservation, forest ecosystems, land degradation, rehabilitation in vulnerable ecological systems and waste management.
In 2002, MAB-Sri-Lanka hosted the 1st "South and Central Asia MAB Meeting of Experts on Environmental Conservation, Management and Research" in Hikkaduwa, which was attended by representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. One important outcome of the meeting was the creation of a new sub-regional MAB network entitled "South and Central Asia MAB Network (SACAM)". In September 2004, the Islamic Republic of Iran hosted the 2nd SACAM Network meeting in Zibakenar, which focused on "Sustainable Eco-tourism in Biosphere Reserves and Similarly Managed Areas". The meeting was attended by representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The 3rd SACAM meeting was held in Jodhpur, India in 2007 which focused on sustainable management of dry lands.
The 4th SACAM meeting was arranged in, Qeshm Island, Iran from 14-17 November 2011. A side SACAM meeting was also held in Iran during February 2013 where the status of the central Asian States was elevated from “Observers” to “Full Members” of the SACAM. Since that time Kazakhstan has become a full member of SACAM network.
The 5th SACAM meeting was organized at Federal Capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, on “Harmonizing Community Livelihood with Biodiversity Conservation” on November 26-28, 2013. The 6th SACAM meeting was held in Federal Capital of Pakistan, Islamabad on “Impact of Climate Change on Natural Ecosystems”. About 15 countries of the region participated in this meeting while about 40 participants from Pakistan, who are experts on different aspects of climate change, presented their findings on the burning issue of the climate change.
Next SACAM regional meeting is planned to be in Kazakhstan in 2017
OF THE SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA MAB NETWORK
During a Regional Meeting of Coordinators of National MAB Committees and Biosphere Reserves, organized by the UNESCONew Delhi Office, in collaboration with the Indian National Committee for MAB and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and hosted by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education at Dehradun, India from 22-25 February 2001, MAB representatives from eight Asian countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, expressed the will to forge closer sub-regional collaboration by initiating a process that would lead to the creation of a «South and Central Asia MAB Network».
Taking note of the Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and in particular its Article 8 that encourages the establishment of regional and thematic sub-networks, the representatives of the 8 (eight) UNESCO Member states (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) participating in the South and Central Asia MAB Meeting held in Hikkaduwa (Sri Lanka) from 15 to 18 October 2002, officially established the «South and Central Asia MAB Network»and approved its Statues. Afghanistan was admitted to the Network at its 3rd Meeting held in Jodhpur, India from 12-15 November 2007 and Republic of Kazakhstan joined the Network in the 4th Meeting of the Network held in Qeshm Island (Iran) on 14–17 November, 2011.
The changes in the Statutes were made and approved by the representatives of the Network Member states of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka at the 8th Meeting of the South and Central Asia MAB Network held in Almaty (Kazakhstan) on 24-25 October 2016 and organized by the National Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan for UNESCO and ISESCO, Kazakhstan National MAB Committee in collaboration with ECO Science Foundation and Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. The Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan were unanimously approved as new members of SACAM during this meeting.
Name of the Network
The name of the network is «South and Central Asia MAB Network», which should be abbreviated and hereinafter referred to as SACAM Network.
- To provide an institutional mechanism for South and Central Asia countries to exchange information on the three functions of biosphere reserves; conservation, development and logistic support.
- To compare experiences in the management of biosphere reserves in South and Central Asia, particularly in relation to zoning and harmonizing a biosphere reserve’s goal of conserving biodiversity with its function of supporting socio-economic development of local economies and people.
- To exchange information with regard to institutional and administrative arrangements for the management of biosphere reserves of South and Central Asia and to make appropriate recommendations for improvement.
- To identify, design and implement multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research programmes and short-term studies and projects that explore and demonstrate links between conservation of biodiversity and sustainable socio-economic development of local people in and around biosphere reserves of South and Central Asia.
- To provide opportunities for staff of biosphere reserves and coordinators of MAB National Committees in South and Central Asia to improve their activity, knowledge and skills in implementing the corresponding MAB Strategy and Action Plan.
- To promote and strengthen cooperation between the SACAM Network and other regional UNESCO MAB networks especially in the Asia Pacific Region in the implementation of the global, regional and national initiatives with relation to biodiversity, ecosystem services and climate change.
- To promote and facilitate information exchange and co-operation with UN Programmes (such as UNEP, UNDP, etc.), international conventions (such as the Convention on Biodiversity Conservation, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, etc.), regional international organization (such as Economic Cooperation Organization, International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, etc.), international nature conservation organizations (such as IUCN, WWF, BirdLife International, etc.), as well as any other interested international organization.
The Member of the SACAM Network could be the UNESCO Member state located in the region of South and Central Asia through the National MAB Committee or other representative of the National Commission for UNESCO.
New Member of the Network should be approved by consensus of all Member states of the SACAM Network present at its regular meeting.
The new Member States of SACAM Network must comply with the norms as agreed by the SACAM Network Member States in the Recommendations of the 8th Meeting of SACAM Network.
UNESCO assists and supports the SACAM Network activity by the UNESCO field Offices in New Delhi (Secretariat), Tehran (Islamic Republic of Iran), Islamabad (Pakistan), Kathmandu (Nepal), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kabul (Afghanistan) and Almaty (Kazakhstan).
- There shall be at least one meeting of the SACAM Network Members every two years.
- SACAM Network Members shall periodically meet with other countries of the Asia Pacific Region and other regional networks.
Seminars and workshops
Apart from the meetings mentioned under (i) above, SACAM Network Members may organize special scientific seminars and/or training workshops. While the frequency of the organization of such events shall depend upon available financial and other resources, training workshops shall be organized at least once every three years.
Exchange and specialists
Scientists, administrators, managers and policy–makers concerned with the implementation of the corresponding Action Plan and Strategy for Biosphere Reserves in SACAM Network country may visit other countries to share knowledge and experience. Whenever possible, delegation(s) of SACAM Network countries may visit biosphere reserves in countries outside the Network to exchange views regarding biosphere reserve management.
Dissemination and exchange of information
SACAM Network Members will regularly exchange, either directly, or through the services of one of the National MAB Committees, or through the International MAB Secretariat in UNESCO, Paris, or the UNESCO Offices in New Delhi, Teheran, Islamabad, Kabul, Kathmandu, Almaty and Dhaka, some information on issues, problems and solutions to the management of biosphere reserves. Such exchange of information shall be via rapidly evolving electronic media as well as conventional instruments such as newsletters, brochures and technical and popular articles. SACAM Network, in cooperation with UNESCO, shall ensure that the proceedings of all meetings, seminars and workshops covered as part of SACAM Network activities shall be published and disseminated as soon as possible.
Any SACAM Network Member may initiate bilateral and multilateral cooperation for carrying out research on specific themes and issues of biosphere reserve management. In this regard a Member may, in consultation with other Members, solicit cooperation, outside of the South and Central Asian Region, as well as of international organizations and donors.
Management cooperation of transboundary biosphere reserves
All SACAM Network Members are encouraged, through the launching of specific projects, to ensure cooperation in management of transboundary biosphere reserves (e.g., Sunderbans Mangrove Ecosystems, both in India and Bangladesh; Manas in Bhutan and India). Such cooperation is particularly encouraged with respect to SACAM Network Members’ participation in the implementation of multilateral agreements, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the World Heritage Convention (WHC) and other relevant multilateral agreements.
Promotion and fund raising
Any SACAM Network Member, in consultation with other Members, may launch private or public sector campaigns to promote the work of SACAM Network and to generate funds for the activities of the SACAM Network.
The core budget for the operations of the SACAM Network shall be derived from the funds of UNESCO’s Regular Programme and from the Budget approved for the activities of SACAM Network by the General Conference, particularly those earmarked for implementing the corresponding Action Plan and Strategy for Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO Offices in New Delhi (India), Tehran (Islamic Republic of Iran) and the MAB Secretariat in UNESCO, Paris. Other UNESCO contributions to SACAM Network may derive from the Director-General’s allocations for specific draft resolutions relevant to SACAM Network and approved by the General Conference, National and Participation Programmes requests and specific proposals submitted to, and approved by the International Coordinating Council and the Secretariat of the MAB Programme.
Any SACAM Network Member state may provide funds to support SACAM Network activities, through funds-in-trust or voluntary contributions schemes of UNESCO, or directly to a recipient Member in another SACAM Network country(ies). SACAM Network Members, individually or jointly, may prepare as well as launch fund-raising campaigns to support SACAM Network activities.
A SACAM Network Member may provide support to activities in kind: e.g., a SACAM Network Member may agree to host and meet all local expenses of visitors from other SACAM Network States if the latter (or other Members such as UNESCO) are meeting the costs of international travel of visitors; all such contributions in kind made by SACAM Network Members shall be acknowledged in publications which are the outcome of the activity under consideration.
Administration and coordination
The activities of the network shall be administered and coordinated by the UNESCO, New Delhi Office, in cooperation with UNESCO–MAB, Paris and regional field offices as well as National MAB Committees or focal point in each SACAM Network Member country. Any SACAM Network Member country may discuss with UNESCO, New Delhi Office, short-term arrangements for one of its specialists assisting the UNESCO, New Delhi Office, in implementation of SACAM Network activities. Countries belonging to SACAM Network may also unanimously decide, at any time in the future, to assign Secretariat responsibilities to one among themselves.
All funds which are administered by the UNESCO-New Delhi Office and the UNESCO-Teheran Office shall be in accordance with the UNESCO Manual Guidelines for managing a specific category (Regular Programme, funds-in-trust, etc.) of programme funds. Whenever a donor who is not a Member of SACAM Network agrees to provide financial assistance to SACAM Network activities, the procedures for the management of said funds will be mutually agreed upon by SACAM Network Members including UNESCO, and the donor.
Any amendments to the text of the SACAM Network, including those concerning the termination of the operations of SACAM Network, shall come into effect only with the unanimous approval of all its Members.