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Moniaive Announced As 12th Deignated Biosphere Community

The historic village of Moniaive in Dumfries & Galloway has officially joined the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Partnership’s pioneering sustainable development initiative, the Biosphere Communities scheme.

The twelfth community to become part of the scheme, Moniaive joins villages and towns across the three local authority areas covered by southwest Scotland’s UNESCO designation. Biosphere Communities are supported to develop nature-based and low carbon living projects, and to share their locality through destination marketing connected with Scotland’s UNESCO Trail. Moniaive is one of the seven Biosphere Communities in D&G, which span an area from Nithsdale down to Whithorn on the south coast and Kirkcolm in the west.

Initiatives in the UNESCO region are led by the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Partnership, a non-profit organisation which has been working in collaborative projects covering conservation, learning, enterprise and climate awareness since it was established as a SCIO in 2013. The Partnership’s activity encourages participation among everyone who lives in or visits the UNESCO Biosphere, aiming to build closer connections between people and nature.

Through the Biosphere Communities scheme, local groups can draw on the Biosphere team’s experience and expertise to launch projects that benefit residents of all ages. Communities have developed walking trails and leisure itineraries, hosted wildlife recording workshops, and created outdoor interpretation for local landmarks and historic sites. The support available for community-led tourism builds on international attention drawn by features in National Geographic Traveller, Rough Guides, Lonely Planet and Wanderlust magazine, all of which acclaimed the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere as a must-see for eco-conscious travellers in 2024. Local businesses and social enterprise are also supported to apply for the Biosphere Certification Mark, a trademarked quality scheme which recognises outstanding work towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Commenting on Moniaive’s Biosphere Community status, Deborah Iden, Project Coordinator with the Moniaive Initative, said, “As a community we are striving to remain relevant and vibrant in the 21 st century in the face of social, economic and climate changes. We aim to work in partnership with the GSA Biosphere Partnership to protect and promote key elements of our landscape, our heritage and our culture.

“Moniaive has long-been a good rest point for journeys, from medieval pilgrims to cattle drovers, to passengers on the now-lost Cairn Valley light railway. We still boast two working pubs, both former coaching inns, and are still a great place for a stopover on the way in or out of the UNESCO Biosphere. Our working relationship with the GSA Biosphere Partnership will help us share some of the lesser-known elements of our area.”

Jenna Cains, the Biosphere’s Community & Education lead, said, “We are thrilled by the level of engagement in and around Moniaive, through our recent Sense of Place and wildlife workshops, and participation in other local initiatives which have brought so many Proud Supporters, accredited Sustainable Events and Biosphere-certified businesses on board. The Biosphere Communities initiative has something for everyone and our driving goal is that our organisation and UNESCO status will have multiple, tangible benefits for local people.”

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Partnership is a registered Scottish Charity (SC044137) supported by funders including South of Scotland Enterprise, and Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire Councils.

More information about the organisation or the Biosphere Communities scheme is available at

www.gsabiosphere.org.uk, or by email request to [email protected].