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Does Andorra have a chance to become a Biosphere Reserve territory?

The government announced 10 months ago that it would submit a candidacy to the UNESCO to be the first Biosphere Reserve country in the world. At that time, it was emphasized that obtaining recognition would not mean protecting any element, but the aim would be to reconcile the Principalty's biodiversity with economic growth, research and education. Is it really possible that the candidacy will go ahead? First of all, it is necessary to explain what it really means to be a Biosphere Reserve territory. Andorra would be divided into three zones: a core zone with the unique protected ecosystem, a buffer zone, indicated to carry out low-impact activities, and finally the transition zone, in which human and economic activity takes place according to some "criteria of sustainability and long-term viability". What are these criteria? Well they are to be defined. According to the biologist and member of Ad hoc, Marc Mossoll, the recognition of the Biosphere Reserve is a symbol that was created 50 years ago and is therefore designed to deal with this era's environmental problems. "It is a very flexible symbol. We can say that Andorra has a blank page and has to write the rules," he says, adding that "it can be very good at boosting the quality of life, but it can also serve just as a touristic attraction ".

Marc Mosoll: "We need to create a network of natural parks to ensure biodiversity and landscapes and consider whether we can really continue to grow in number of inhabitants, visitors, buildings and infrastructure."

Regarding some of the projects that have generated the most controversy, such as the Tibetan bridge that is being installed in Canillo, the cable car to be built to reach Carroi or the recent agreement between the Government and Grífols to have a high-level laboratory P3 security in Ordino, Mossoll does not consider that those facts can be an impediment to obtaining the recognition. However, he highlighted that "there is an issue with the concept and the image that we provide. For example, the unbridled drive of the construction sector by all administrations is totally antagonistic to this candidacy's project." Given the widespread ignorance of what it might mean to have a laboratory of this nature in Andorra, Arnau Calvet, a graduate in biotechnology, wanted to resolve some doubts from his point of view. According to their knowledge, the pollution generated by these facilities is very low: "they do not emit smoke or generate polluting waste. It is true that they will treat viruses, but they will also investigate immunological therapies against cancer or lupus." On top of that, Calvet defended that "Andorra has a lot of flora and fauna, characteristics that make it interesting for this type of laboratory. This country needs to reinvent itself. Innovate. Perhaps the location chosen is not the best, but we must think about the job opportunities that it will offer many people in the country that until now could not build a future here and also in the benefits it can bring us. " Finally, Marc Mossoll concludes that "current environmental policies are not a problem because 50% of the country can serve as a protected core zone. It is not difficult to candidate. From Ad hoc we believe that we must also create a network of natural parks to ensure biodiversity and landscapes and to consider whether we can really continue to grow in population, visitors, buildings and infrastructure. "

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