Bridging the SDGs: Citizens towards Sustainable Development

We're pleased to be partnering with Insights US on an exciting new project aimed at generating action-led advice from citizens, to support sustainable economic development within UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

A bit about Insights US... Insights was founded to help decision makers make better decisions that advance our collective welfare. They believe that governments, businesses, local authorities, NGOs and communities require more inclusive decision-making to solve problems and deliver change. The Insights online platform enables communities to promote their collective well-being through their collective wisdom and participation. 

And we aim to do just that - by bridging citizens with the high profile but often intangible UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we will collate activities, ideas, and the collective wisdom of citizens and other key stakeholders on how they can be supported to take an effective role in progress towards the UN SDGs.

We'll be inviting participants to offer their thoughts and ideas on a specific question (officially released with the launch on the 31st August). We are focusing this engagement on UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, areas dedicated to testing new approaches towards sustainable development where people and the environment co-exist in harmony. 

UNESCO Biospheres welcome local community participation and involvement. They promote innovative approaches to sustainable economic development that fit within diverse social cultural contexts. They celebrate ecological and cultural diversity through collaboration, research and education. The Lima Action Plan, which sets out a global agenda for UNESCO Biospheres for the next ten years, recognises the contribution of entrepreneurs and social enterprises to the Biosphere (C6). With over 600 Biosphere Reserves worldwide, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to showcase sustainable living around the world.

We will be reaching out to local people, social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, business owners, to biosphere managers, and local authorities. The insights generated will then be collated into a Community Insights Report for decision-makers and citizens and will be available on the open-access OASIIS Platform.

 

Bridging the SDGs launches on August 31st; watch this space!

 

With the financial support of the EU

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Opening Access (OASIIS) for Innovate4Climate

BARCELONA, 24-25 May 2017. This week the innovate4climate summit takes place in Barcelona and we will be joining the event. Innovate4climate aims at addressing the Paris Agreement calling for global economic transformation by bringing together

(...) the sectors driving the future of climate finance and markets, (...) leading experts, technology and financing providers, institutions and corporations to explore potential partnership and emerging business opportunities within the next economic revolution towards low-carbon and climate resilient development

This is closely related to the work we are doing around Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserves as Assist Social Capital has been working actively around establishing Social Enterprise as part of the strategy in Biosphere Reserves towards Sustainable Development based on a social capital approach. The two main areas we work on at the moment are: 

  1. OASIIS ... Opening Access to Sustainable Independent Income Streams - is an easy-to-use online platform gathering socio-economic data showcasing the real and positive impact of local sustainable businesses who are delivering social and environmental benefits in and around Biosphere Reserves. 
  2. Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Development Framework - is a development framework based on a social capital approach towards sustainability focusing on four main pillars of social enterprise, social investment, sustainable public procurement and public participation.

#OASIIS #innovate4climate

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Social Enterprise – Unlocking Potential

Last week the Scottish Government published the new 'Building a Sustainable Social Enterprise Sector in Scotland - Action Plan 2017-20'  which includes a £3million investment for social entrepreneurs. It is aimed at boosting the sector by offering support to people and communities.

"...the plan will ensure that social enterprises play a central role in business and community life for many years to come."

 

 

The plan also  includes 92 commitments to realise its aims with some focusing on demonstrating the social value and impact of the social enterprise sector in Scotland.  One key actions will involve the Scottish Government supporting Assist Social Capital to pilot our Unlocking Potential social capital evaluation tool  for social enterprises in partnership with some Social Enterprise Networks.

OASIIS Launch!

O of OASIIS logoToday we are launching the OASIIS platform Opening Access to Sustainable Independent Income Streams.

The OASIIS showcases the real and positive impact of local sustainable businesses. OASIIS wishes to engage businesses in and around Biosphere Reserves who are delivering social and environmental benefits, and provide them an opportunity to connect with other like-minded businesses (locally & beyond) to share information and provide access to new markets and investment opportunities.

OASIIS presents socio-economic data, gathered from businesses in and around BRs working in harmony with the BRs aims and objectives, in simple, easy-to-understand graphics, the value that businesses (including social enterprises) bring to the local economies through sustainable development can be more clearly demonstrated.

Man and the Biopshere - OASIIS Platform launch 2016 from Assist Social Capital CIC on Vimeo.

A very special thanks to the SLG team, our software experts mentors, Lex Holt from Skyscanner, Sarah Rauchas from University of London and George Christelis from SimpleHelp Ltd, for their support over the last year with the OASIIS software platform. Support that has been and is invaluable in a field that till recently was unknown to us.

4th World Conference on Biosphere Reserves

Today the 4th World Conference for Biosphere Reserves on ‘A new vision for the Decade 2016-2025 – UNESCO Biosphere Reserves for Sustainable Development’ starts in Lima, Peru.

At this four day event Colin Campbell, the executive director of Assist Social Capital (ASC), will be hosting the official workshop on ‘Economics in and around Biosphere Reserves’. Colin’s involvement in the workshop came as direct outcome of the work ASC is doing on the role and opportunities of Social Enterprise in Biosphere Reserves towards sustainable economic development – specifically from the international conference hosted in October last year 2015. Previously, ASC also has developed a Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Development Framework.

We will also be launching our new online platform OASIIS during the workshop on Wednesday on ‘Opening Access for Sustainable Independent Income Streams’. (Look out for more information on the day)

About the WCBR

At the conference UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and representatives from all over the world who work directly in and with Biosphere Reserves including from the biosphere reserves, government, community members and other related organisations/ institutions will address

  • A post-2015 Development Agenda for Biosphere Reserves
  • Issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Discuss progress & challenges related to Biosphere Reserves issues
  • Develop a new Vision for the future

The congress will also discuss topics around sustainable economic development, the economic viability of nature conservation systems as well as the protection and sustainable use of natural resources amongst others.

2016 - Napier Alumni Blog on Colin Campbell and Sustainable Development

Read the full blog here >>

Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Event in Scotland – Featured BR: Lake Vänern

Lake Vänern Archipelago Biosphere Reserve, Sweden

As part of our Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Event in Scotland at the end of the month, we are featuring some of the attendees biosphere reserves who are already working with this approach. As mentioned in our first article, the event is hosted by Assist Social Capital and co-facilitated by Colin Campbell (Assist Social Capital) and Johanna MacTaggart who is the coordinator of MAB Sweden and the Lake Vänern Archipelago Biosphere Reserve.

Lake Vanern BR -Sweden- LogoAbout the Biosphere Reserve

The Archipelago and Mount Kinekulle became an UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve in 2010. It is covers part of the Lake Vänern drainage basin and involves three local municipalities encompassing an area of ca. 278.600 hectare with about 75.000 inhabitants. The Biosphere Reserve itself is run as a non-profit organisation.

(get more info on the BR here)

A socio-environmentally responsive business model

As one of the largest inland lakes and fresh water reserves within Europe, Lake Vänern also has one of the largest fishing fleets. The sustainability of this ecosystem is crucial for the region to ensure clean water, a healthy fish population and food quality. This aspect of sustainable livelihoods alongside maintaining biodiversity provides a common ground for collaboration from  industries as differing as Ecotourism and Fisheries. Along the same line Social entrepreneurship provides the local economy with a business model directly deriving from social as well as environmental challenges. This provides an innovative and entrepreneurial approach responsive to socio-environmental as well as socio-economic needs in the region.

Additionally, stakeholder collaboration has been encouraged in the region to ensure that local decision-makers, businesses and civil society can overcome issues through taking joint responsibility on developing, ensuring and maintaining the Lake Vänern Biosphere.

 

Social Media Icons - Commons PictureYou can also contribute to and/or follow our conversations on the event and the related issues on Facebook and Twitter @AssistSocCap under #SEBRScotland #Biosphere Reserves #WCBRLima #Social Enterprise

 

Our Development Framework

Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserves Event in Scotland II

Towards a World MAB Social Enterprise Strategy (2016-2025)

SCOTLAND, as announced a few weeks ago Assist Social Capital will be hosting a conference on social enterprise and biosphere reserves at the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve. The meeting is aimed at bringing national as well as international participants from biosphere reserves together to contribute to the MAB Action Plan 2016-2015 which will be launched in Lima next year.

UNESCO 4th WCBR LimaA new Action Plan for the WNBR

The aim of the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves is to create a post-2015 agenda for the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). Therefore, the Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves (2008-2013) as well as the Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework (1995) will be reviewed to identify and discuss progress made, lessons learnt and old as well as new challenges for the WNBR. The expected outcome of the congress is to create the Lima Declaration and the Lima Action Plan for 2016-2025 which will outline the role of biosphere reserves for sustainable development over the next decade.

Including Social Enterprise in the new Action Plan

As sustainable development aims at achieving a balance between social, economic as well as environmental factors, social enterprise provide a valuable solution as they are value-based businesses which reinvest their profits in social and environmental benefits to their local as well as wider communities. Therefore, we already have developed the Social Enterprise & Biosphere Reserves Development Framework as part of our work with a EuroMAB working group aiming at introducing the concept of social enterprise into biosphere reserves. Together with our partners in Europe but also further abroad in Canada and Asia, we have worked on bringing this idea into the WNBRs.

Social Media Icons - Commons PictureYou can also contribute to and/or follow our conversations on the event and the related issues on Facebook and Twitter @AssistSocCap under #SEBRScotland #Biosphere Reserves #WCBRLima #Social Enterprise

 

Our Development Framework

Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Event in Scotland

Network Meeting on Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserves

23/09/2015

Assist Social Capital - Man and the Biosphere Event - ASCSCOTLAND, from the 28th – 30th October Assist Social Capital CIC (ASC) will facilitate this event to bring together various national and international stakeholders from biosphere reserves to discuss the topic of social enterprise and biosphere reserves. The meeting is aimed at supporting a new vision for Biosphere Reserves for inclusive Sustainable Development for the upcoming 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru, 14th – 17th March 2016.

The event will be co-hosted by Colin Campbell (ASC, Scotland) and Johanna MacTaggart (Swedish National BR Coordinator) at the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve with representatives from Scotland, England, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Vietnam and South Korea attending. Among the topics discussed will be on how to create an open and collective response to introducing social enterprises in biosphere reserves to support sustainable economic and social development.

Another main aim is to establish and further develop north-south bridges between the different biosphere reserves and to create a thematic network on social enterprise in the biosphere reserve context where participants can exchange knowledge and learn from each other’s experiences on active involvement of local businesses and communities in the biosphere reserve.

To further explore some of the topics and aspects relevant to the meeting, we will publish a short news article every week until the event in October.

 

Social Media Icons - Commons PictureYou can also follow our conversation about the event and on related topics on Facebook and Twitter @AssistSocCap   under  #SEBRScotland #BiosphereReserves #WCBRLima  #SocialEnterprise   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Biosphere Reserves

Our Development Framework

SEBR Framework Document - Cover Page

>Read More<

 

“Wester Ross applies to UNESCO for Biosphere Status”

Ullapool News, 12/06/2015

Wester Ross Biosphere ReserveThe communities of Wester Ross, in the northwest Highlands are applying to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for the region to become a Biosphere Reserve. After more than 12 months of community consultations and planning, the nomination will soon be sent to UNESCO in Paris for final consideration.

A Biosphere Reserve is an internationally recognised accolade for promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. In the UK, they are simply referred to as Biospheres. Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve was one of the very first to be recognised by UNESCO in 1976, but the current criteria require a focus on sustainable development for a much larger region.

Assist Social Capital (ASC), a Scottish social enterprise funded by the Scottish Government to support the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere programme nationally and internationally, has been assisting the Wester Ross communities through a participatory and asset-based approach enabling communities to collectively engage, explore and collaborate across sectors at a regional level.

Colin Campbell of ASC said "Wester Ross Biosphere (Biosphere Ros an Iar) will cover 529,000 hectares, making it the largest in the UK. Wester Ross is exceptional in terms of its biodiversity. Approximately 20% of the area is designated under UK legislation as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The internationally recognised UNESCO designation will help to bring a broad range of benefits to the area and encourage opportunities for new jobs to be created, while maintaining the natural environment."

Patrick Krause of the Scottish Crofting Federation, a member of the Wester Ross Biosphere Strategic Partner-ship added "UNESCO’s ‘Man and the Biosphere programme’ recognises the importance of sustainable, traditional ways of living on the land. Crofting is an integral part of life in the area and we know that it will play a central role in the future of the Wester Ross Biosphere."

Professor Martin Price, Chair of the UK National Committee for UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme, added, "A strong case has been developed for Wester Ross Biosphere to be the fifth in the UK. This global accolade will recognise the unique ecosystems and landscapes of the region, and their potential for supporting a thriving regional economy."

It is expected that UNESCO's decision on the Wester Ross Biosphere application will be announced at the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru in March 2016.