UNESCO Isle of Man Biosphere: Beach Buddies

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The UK National Commission for UNESCO’s case studies are a series of studies that focus on specific interactions between UNESCO’s programmes, designations and objectives and the UK

UNESCO Isle of Man Biosphere: Beach Buddies


This case study is part of the 2020 Nation Value of UNESCO to the UK Report.

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Bringing people and the environment together to build sustainable communities, both locally and globally, is a key principle of the Isle of Man UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

In cooperation with the charity Beach Buddies, the Biosphere organises regular community clean-ups to preserve the island’s spectacular beaches, cliffs, glens and forests – all of which provide important habitats for nature, marine and birdlife.

Beach Buddies offers easy but structured guidance points to encourage groups, families, schools and individuals to get together, protect their island, fundraise for their cause, have stimulating discussions about their local environment and wildlife, and share their efforts with the media and others to ultimately inspire more people to make a positive environmental impact.

The project has been a huge success and a leading example of how the UNESCO UK designations work with local communities to make a difference collectively. So far, more than 15,000 volunteers have helped the island to tackle the problem of plastic pollution and sustain its traditional industries such as fishing.

But the Isle of Man UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is also a key player on the global stage. Its efforts span borders and have helped to set worldwide standards, according to Bill Dale of the Isle of Man UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

“We have had massive success in the Isle of Man, not just through Beach Buddies but also because of a number of environment groups and government initiatives. The Isle of Man now has a high profile within the UNESCO Biosphere network […] and we need to be aware that the network of Biosphere Reserves is now watching what we are doing. We have set the bar very high and have achieved a great deal, but we must – and can – do more.”

Bill Dale, Founder of Beach Buddies, Isle of Man

Beach Buddies seeks to encourage UNESCO Biosphere Reserves to creating a lasting change by ending plastic pollution for good, taking this initiative and using it appropriately to their own biosphere environments.

This case study was a part of the 2020 National Value of UNESCO to the UK Report 

ISSN 2050-8212 (Print)

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The 2020 National Value for UNESCO to the UK Report & Programme

The National Value Report seeks to capture the economic and wider intangible value of the UK network of UNESCO designations. It finds that the network is adding significant value to our economy and society and recommends how this value can be enhanced.

The National Value of UNESCO Designations to the United Kingdom Report shows how UNESCO is bringing sites, people and communities together, and creating and delivering value for the United Kingdom. It finds that the vibrant network of UNESCO sites in the UK, its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are contributing in three main areas: they contribute financial value, they make a rich and creative contribution to the UK’s environment, culture and communities and contribute to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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The 2020 National Value for UNESCO to the UK Report & Programme Case Studies

The case studies that form this series illustrate these benefits to the UK that are contributed by the vibrant Network of UK UNESCO sites as found by the National Value Report; featuring financial value, academic research, environmentalism and climate change, promotion and preservation of culture, education and more.


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