One step closer to a biosphere for Sunshine Coast

Thursday 24 October will be noted as a momentous day for the Sunshine Coast.

At a Special Meeting today (24 October), Sunshine Coast Council unanimously endorsed a nomination for the local government area to become a UNESCO Biosphere.

The nomination will now begin its journey through state and Australian governments, for submission to UNESCO in 2020.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said everything this council had achieved has been leading up to and supports our bid to become a biosphere.

“Our community has a consistent message – protect and maintain our region’s liveability and natural assets. A biosphere credential will help us to do that,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Council is committed to protecting and enhancing the region’s liveability, economy, built environment and natural assets for both current and future generations.

“This has been outlined through council’s three long-term strategies that support our vision – to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative – and guide development by providing a balance between social, environmental and economic outcomes.

“A biosphere is a natural fit for the Sunshine Coast, as its values encompass those of our community.

“I’m proud to say the nomination has been shaped by the Sunshine Coast community.

“Not only through our extensive consultation process since March, where council officers attended 89 external engagement activities, connected with 3,045 people face-to-face and received feedback from 609 surveys, but also through the help of our dedicated Community Reference Group (CRG), who partnered with council to develop the nomination.

“The CRG is made up of 11 community members from all walks of life, representing specific areas of our community, and an independent chair.

“The CRG includes representatives from the youth, business, agriculture, tourism, development, environment, community and recreation sectors.

“The CRG provided valuable advice and input to develop the nomination and they gave their time to participate in five workshops over the past two months, to help craft our impressive 300-page biosphere nomination document.

“I’m really proud to see the biosphere nomination on its way to the state and Australian governments for endorsement, and I look forward to the next milestone in this process, when the nomination is submitted to UNESCO in September 2020.

Community Reference Group Independent Chair, Will Shrapnel said it was an honour to serve as Chair of the Biosphere Nomination Community Reference Group and to be part of such a unique opportunity to contribute to shaping a sustainable future for our region.

“The CRG brought together a really diverse range of people from across the Sunshine Coast community, allowing for an engaging and inclusive process, and also some robust discussion and debate on what it means to become a biosphere and to live in harmony with nature as we continue to grow as a community,” Mr Shrapnel said.

“The nomination has an emphasis on balanced sustainability, ensuring the environmental, social, cultural and economic needs of today are met, without compromising the ability to meet the needs of our future generations.

“We have also recognised the importance of technology, innovation, youth leadership and collaboration with the broader global network of biospheres in enabling our ability to solve complex problems as we move forward.

“This will help to ensure that our region can continue to deliver unique and high-quality value with a low environmental footprint.

“Council, through seeking this input from the CRG, has enabled what we feel is both a strong and distinctive biosphere nomination, and one that is representative of the rich values across our community.

“On behalf of the CRG, we wholeheartedly support the Sunshine Coast biosphere nomination and look forward to remaining actively engaged as the nomination progresses.”

For all the details and to stay up to date, visit sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

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