Sunshine Coast’s quest to become a UNESCO biosphere nears finish line

WILL the Sunshine Coast be recognised around the world as a biosphere? The wait to find out is almost over.

The announcement is expected to be made mid-June and if granted, it means UNESCO will officially recognise the Sunshine Coast as an international site of excellence and an area of natural beauty, and join the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

The spectacular Glass House Mountains could soon be recognised as part of a Sunshine Coast Biosphere, with the UNESCO announcement to be made next month (Getty Images).

Across the world there are more than 700 UNESCO designated biosphere reserves in over 130 countries; there are just four other sites in Australia including the Great Sandy and Noosa Biosphere Reserves.

In 2019, on behalf of the community, Sunshine Coast Council developed the UNESCO Biosphere nomination and Sunshine Coast Council 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,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“This is about celebrating people and nature.

“Having this credential will help us protect and enhance our region, communities, economy and natural assets.”

Mr Jamieson said that with so many markets wanting a clean, green product, the Sunshine Coast biosphere providence will open up enormous opportunities for our food and agri-business sectors, allowing local businesses to brand their products and showcase the Sunshine Coast Biosphere.

“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.

“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.”

(L to R) Group Executive Liveability and Natural Assets Bill Haddrill, Community Reference Group Chair Will Shrapnel, Community Reference Group member Melva Hobson and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson.

Biosphere Community Reference Group Chair Will Shrapnel said if the region was recognised 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 recognise that we can all play a role in protecting and celebrating this special region where we live, learn, work and play,” Mr Shrapnel said.

“I’m excited at the prospect of our Sunshine Coast joining this World Network of Biosphere Reserves.”