B.C.’s Howe Sound Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Region

Heart of Howe Sound Gambier Island / Photo: Rich Duncan

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO is proud to share the news that the Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Biosphere Region has received the prestigious UNESCO Biosphere Region designation, a positive step towards biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, and reconciliation.

With climate emergency being one of our greatest challenges, the designation of Alt’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Biosphere Region will help the community work with key partners to develop local and innovative solutions to face the harsh realities of climate change and reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. Biosphere regions are sites of exceptional international significance recognized by UNESCO and obtaining Biosphere Region status makes it possible to mobilize local stakeholders and rightsholders to develop a strong collective vision for the region that balances the conservation of this unique environment with sustainable development.

Howe Sound / Photo: Steve Quane, Fire & Ice Geopark

Partners committed to reconciliation and creating a sustainable future for the region

Becoming a UNESCO Biosphere Region is a recognition that is very prestigious and difficult to obtain. This designation, 5 years in the making, is a celebration of the region’s natural, historic and cultural abundance and will support local communities in finding innovative ways to build strong harmonious relationships between humans and nature.  We salute the efforts of those who have worked relentlessly at the grassroots level over the years to champion the nomination of the Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Biosphere Region. There is no doubt that this new Biosphere Region will represent a key asset for sustainable tourism and economic development in British Columbia.

Looking south / Photo: Kris Krug, David Suzuki Foundation

Celebrating the region’s natural, historic and cultural abundance

Visitors to the Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Biosphere Region will experience a majestic fjord surrounded by scenic mountains and diverse habitats that support a variety of marine and terrestrial wildlife. They will also experience the rich culture of the Squamish Nation people and have the opportunity to take part in activities that enhance the economic, environmental, cultural, and social well-being of the Howe Sound for the benefit of present and future generations.

SUP in Squamish Estuary / Photo: Erasmus Dong

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