In 1971 UNESCO launched an intergovernmental scientific program called "Man and the Biosphere", Man and the Biosphere - MAB with the aim of promoting, on a scientific basis, a balanced relationship between man and the environment through the protection of biodiversity and good practices of Sustainable Development. The aim of the program is to improve relations between people and the environment in which they live by promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.
The program has as its primary objective the rational and sustainable use and sharing of the resources of the biosphere. To this end, it tends to increase people's ability to efficiently manage natural resources, for the well-being of human beings and the environment. In this context, the Program intends to: identify changes in the biosphere deriving from human and natural activities and the consequent effects on people and the environment, in particular in the context of climate change; study the dynamic interrelationships between ecosystems and socio-economic processes, in particular in a context of rapid loss of biological and cultural diversity; ensure human well-being and a livable environment in a context where rapid urbanization and energy consumption are the drivers of environmental change; promote the exchange of knowledge of environmental problems and solutions and strengthen environmental education for a sustainable development. The Reserves promote scientific cooperation activities, interdisciplinary research and environmental sustainability with the full involvement of local communities. The worldwide network of Biosphere Reserves currently includes 714 Reserves in 129 countries, of which 19 in Italy:
Collemeluccio-Montedimezzo (Molise), Circeo (Lazio), Miramare (Friuli Venezia Giulia), Cilento and Vallo di Diano (Campania), Somma-Vesuvio and Miglio D’Oro (Campania), Ticino, Val Grande Verbano (Lombardy/Piedmont), Tuscan Archipelago (Tuscany), Tuscan coastal forests (Tuscany), Monviso (Piedmont), Sila (Calabria), Tuscan-Emilian Apennines (Tuscany - Emilia), Ledrensi and Judicaria Alps (Trentino-Alto Adige), the Po Delta (Emilia Romagna - Veneto), Collina Po (Piedmont), Tepilora, Rio Posada and Montalbo (Sardinia), Valle Camonica-Alto Sebino, Monte Peglia, Po Grande, Julian Alps.
In Sardinia, the inclusion of the Tepilora, Rio Posada and Montalbo Biosphere Reserve in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves is a UNESCO national achievement awarded on 14 June 2017 during the 29th Session of the International Coordination Council of the Man and Biosphere Program UNESCO (ICC-MAB) held in Paris.