Dublin Bay biosphere turns UNESCO designation into an opportunity for sustainable business

Dublin Bay biosphere turns UNESCO designation into an opportunity for sustainable business

International recognition for Dublin Bay Biosphere offers a way to promote Dublin’s natural heritage together with the growth of local sustainable tourism.

On the 24th June 2015, the then Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD, welcomed the announcement that Dublin Bay had been awarded by UNESCO the designation of Biosphere reserve, in recognition of its unique ecological status and cultural heritage. Minister Bruton stated “UNESCO’s decision to award Biosphere status recognises the international importance of the biodiversity and habitats in Dublin Bay.”

The UNESCO recognition prises the successful partnership established between Dublin City Council, Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council, Fingal County Council, Dublin Port Company and The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Failte Ireland are also now a partner as the UNESCO recognition of Dublin Bay dovetails with their strategy to reposition Dublin as a must visit destination that rivals other European capitals and indeed, due to its proximity to sea and countryside, can offer more than most.

“I believe that this international designation of Dublin Bay will considerably enhance the potential to develop the green tourism market in a way which creates sustainable employment without damaging natural resources or the cultural integrity of the bay.”

Richard Bruton, Minister for Education and Skills

biospheres are recognised for their ecological diversity, they are managed to promote a balanced relationship between people and nature and this goal is fulfilled through conservation, learning and development initiatives. Biosphere Discovery Tour Guides delivered tours to almost 11,800 passengers in 2017, including a Spring programme of school tours. This ecotourism initiative provides employment and enables visitors and locals alike to experience Dublin Bay and its fascinating wildlife and cultural heritage firsthand. As a unique hallmark, Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve encompasses not just the marine but also terrestrial areas, opening a further range of opportunities for the local green and sustainable tourism market.

Around Dublin Bay there is in fact a necklace of villages which invite visitors to enjoy the local heritage, packed with great restaurants and shops. Each affords wonderfully evocative sea views and opportunities for a long walk or cycle to lift the spirits. Whether it’s rock-climbing in Dalkey, sea-kayaking in Howth, kite surfing in Dollymount or learning to sail in Dun Laoghaire, there’s something for all adventure seekers in Dublin’s coastal villages. Dublin Bay Biosphere in association with Local Enterprise Offices will be seeking to develop a sustainable business charter for local business’s which support the ideals of the Biosphere project. This represents an incredible opportunity for businesses to engage with new customers and to showcase sustainable, responsibly sourced and ethical products and services which enhance this unique resource.

Dublin Bay is part of a global network of 651 Biosphere Reserves in 120 countries. In April 2019, the European and North American networks will meet in Dublin for their biennial conference to strengthen the network, to share information on best practice and to inspire and empower people to implement the principles of UNESCO and its Biosphere programme.

Further information about Dublin Bay and recreational activities in Dublin’s coastal villages is available on www.dublinbaybiosphere.ie and www.visitdublin.com

Les joined Dublin City Council as City Parks Superintendent at the end of February 2012. He's a graduate of UCD, where he studied Landscape Horticulture. He led the first Open Space Strategy of any local authority in Ireland which was published in 2012.

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