Social Enterprise in Biosphere Reserves – 2015 International Conference

International Conference on Social Enterprise in Biosphere Reserves

'Towards a Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-2025'

The conference was hosted in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere in Scotland, October 2015, welcoming the Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Working Group (SEBR WG) with 27 attendees from seven countries including Scotland, Sweden, Wales, England, South Korea, Vietnam and Spain.

Bringing Social Enterprise into the Lima MAB Action Plan

The aim of the conference was to bring together a variety of participants from national and regional MAB networks to contribute to the upcoming MAB Action Plan  launched at the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves (WCBR) in Lima, March 2016. The international group created an open and collective response  for the MAB Secretariat in order to effect real progress through the Lima Action Plan and maintain the momentum concerning social enterprise in biosphere reserves.

Additionally, the group identified specific actions for Social Enterprise in BRs over the short-, medium- and long-term, such as;

  • establishing a MAB thematic network for social enterprise
  • gathering a range of case studies and other relevant information
  • identifying specific targets and actions through discussions and knowledge-sharing at the conference

Building Bridges between Biosphere Reserves

The conference covered and produced the following topics and outcomes:

  • Two visits to local Social Enterprises: the Adventure Centre for Education (ACE) and Catstrand
  • Highlighting the Scottish Context on social enterprise and social entrepreneurship as part of Scotland's economic strategy and introducing the voluntary code of practice for social enterprise in Scotland
  • Perspectives from Europe and Asia including Sweden, Spain, England, Wales as well as Vietnam, South Korea where participants explain the role of social enterprise in their country's context 
  • OASIIS initiative - Opening Access for Sustainable Independent Income Streams is an online platform aimed at collecting socio-economic data on businesses in and around biosphere reserves (OASIIS was officially launched at the WCBR in Lima)
  • Response to Draft Lima MAB Action Plan 2016-2025 was created during discussions between the conference attendees
  • Social Enterprise Action Plan was created to support, develop, maintain and achieve the suggestions made for the draft action plan through a SEBR Network

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