In 1995 an international conference in Seville, Spain started a new era for the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR). The actions decided at that meeting were incorporated in the Seville Strategy and the Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, both approved by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1995. In Pamplona, Spain in 2000, a Seville+5 meeting was held and various actions were decided, following through on the strategic recommendations from Seville.
This Madrid Action Plan was agreed at the 3rd World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, which was held in Madrid in February 2008. It builds on the Seville Strategy and aims to capitalize on the strategic advantages of the Seville instruments and raise biosphere reserves to be the principal internationally-designated areas dedicated to sustainable development in the 21st century. The biosphere reserve (BR) concept has proved its value beyond protected areas and is increasingly embraced by scientists, planners, policy makers and local communities to bring a variety of knowledge, scientific investigations and experiences to link biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development for human well-being. Thus the focus is on developing models for global, national and local sustainability, and for biosphere reserves to serve as learning sites for policy professionals, decision-makers, research and scientific communities, management practitioners and stakeholder communities to work together to translate global principles of sustainable development into locally relevant praxis. Individual biosphere reserves remain under the jurisdiction of the States where they are situated, which take the measures they deem necessary to improve the functioning of the individual sites.