Natural sites consisting of physical and biological formations as well as areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants are considered to be World Natural Heritage Sites. Those that are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List have played an important role in the formation of environments and societies as well as in the cultural life of the people who have inhabited them throughout history.
Biosphere reserves are natural sites that seek to reconcile the conservation of biological and cultural diversity with economic and social development through partnerships between people and nature. As such, they are ideal to test and demonstrate innovative approaches to sustainable development on both a local and an international scale. Biosphere reserves are sites recognised under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.
UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities is becoming increasingly popular.
The Silk Roads online platform presents and promotes these World Natural Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves and Geoparks along the historic Silk Roads that have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List or undertake their activities within the framework of UNESCO MAB and Geoparks programmes.
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