OSLO, June 19 (Xinhua) -- The district of Nordhordland in western Norway was recognized on Wednesday by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the country's first biosphere reserve, the Norwegian government said.
The 669,800-hectare Nordhordland Biosphere Reserve encompasses both marine and terrestrial areas characterized by fjords and mountains.
The reserve will contribute to social development where natural diversity, sustainable use of natural resources and a build-up in the name of local culture and identity are ensured, the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment said in a statement.
The Nordhordland Regional Council and the University of Bergen have collaborated on establishing a biosphere reserve since 2013, it said.
"I believe that biosphere reserve will contribute positively to sustainable development in Nordhordland and look forward to following up on the results," Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen was quoted as saying.
UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program on Wednesday added 18 new sites in 12 countries to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which now numbers 701 biosphere reserves in over 120 countries around the globe, according to the UN agency.
The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) is a scientific program of UNESCO which will contribute to sustainable development and research that supports it.