Biosphere reserves

Belonging to the global network of UNESCO is a great recognition for Estonia’s pure environment


A biosphere reserve is an area that is internationally recognised by the UNESCO MAB (Man and Biosphere) programme. The sites are designated by national governments and each site must meet certain conditions to justify its inclusion in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.


Each site must include three important functions: the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable socio-economic development, and supportive research and education activity.


In Estonia, the West Estonian Archipelago Biosphere Reserve (see map here ) has been approved on the basis of the Sustainable Development Act and has been UNESCO certified since 1990.


The reserve has four strategic objectives under the current programme:

  1. Awareness and visibility. The biosphere reserve is well-known and recognized by both local residents and visitors.
  2. Education and science. The objectives of the biosphere reserve are integrated into the curricula and activities of educational institutions and research supports the development of the reserve. 
  3. Sustainable solutions. The biosphere reserve is a pilot area for sustainable nature use, green economy and vibrant cultural space.
  4. Networking and management. The management of the biosphere reserve is sustainable and inclusive and based on a broad-based cooperation network.


Belonging to the UNESCO global network is a great recognition of Estonia’s clean environment, which contributes to the creation of a nature-friendly image of the region. The aim of the West Estonian Archipelago Biosphere Reserve is to act as a pilot area for sustainable development in cooperation with local governments, developers, and residents. All over the world, the number of visitors of the biosphere reserves and the buyers of the products produced there is great, and this is largely due to the skilful use of the UNESCO label. Being part of the network gives us the opportunity to introduce the more environmentally friendly solutions of our products or services. The local partners will help implement the action plan of the sustainable development programme within their field. The vision of the West Estonian Archipelago Biosphere Reserve is to be an example of balanced development by creating a sustainable living and business environment that values natural diversity and to be a breeding ground for new ideas in Estonia as well as in other parts of the world. 

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Last modified: 28.06.2023