Sunshine Coast Council is considering a nomination for the region to receive UNESCO recognition as an international site of excellence known as a biosphere.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said a UNESCO biosphere credential would further enhance the national and international reputation of the Sunshine Coast and there were currently only nine biospheres across Australia.
“Biospheres are areas where active conservation sits alongside responsible development and people living sustainably – just like our region,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Being recognised as a biosphere will reinforce our healthy, smart, creative objectives for the region, provide it with a particular value proposition and help preserve our outstanding natural assets for current and future generations.”
Mayor Jamieson said that achieving biosphere status could also potentially secure intergenerational prosperity to the Sunshine Coast.
“Council has no doubt that the residents of this region will continue to be sustainability-focussed,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“For a start, around 40% of our dwellings have solar power, compared to the 21% average across Australia.
“Residents can choose – and are choosing – to make even more sustainable choices.”
Mayor Jamieson said council also aimed to leverage the economic opportunities that came with international recognition through the UNESCO biosphere program.
“Biospheres create niche markets for products, services, facilities and practices – which will provide a significant point of difference for our agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism sectors,” he said.
“The analysis to date indicates that recognition of the region as a biosphere could help local business grow and access new export markets, which are objectives supported by the Regional Economic Development Strategy 2013-2033 and ultimately, means more jobs for our residents.
“We have a clear vision of what we’re hoping to achieve for our region.
“Recognition as a biosphere would help to reinforce the realisation of that vision.”
Mayor Jamieson said that subject to Council approval at its March 28 Ordinary Meeting, community consultation on the potential biosphere nomination would begin on March 29.
“I urge the community to learn more about this opportunity and get behind a biosphere nomination for the Sunshine Coast focussed on celebrating people and nature.
“We will be especially keen to hear from residents, along with leaders of the tourism, forestry, agricultural, construction and property development sectors as part of the community consultation process.
“Following the conclusion of the community consultation process, Council will consider the outcomes and the potential nomination submission which, if approved, will be lodged with the Queensland Government before the end of this year (2019), followed by the Australian Government and then UNESCO.
“We’ll find out if we’re successful in June 2021. It’s a long process, but it’s worth it.”
To comment on the proposed biosphere nomination for the Sunshine Coast local government area, residents should go to council’s website from March 29.