UNESCO Sites and RE

Renewable Energy Futures for UNESCO Sites

Sites of excellence to foster the integration of renewable energies

© MRCT. Torres del Paine Biosphere Reserve, Chile

Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites are globally considered as sites of excellence where new and optimal practices for managing nature, heritage and human activities are tested and demonstrated.

Biosphere reserves are sites established by countries and recognized under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science. By definition, they are ideal for testing and demonstrating innovative approaches to sustainable development from local to international scale. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves consists of a dynamic and interactive network made up of 610 biosphere reserves in 117 countries, including 12 transboundary sites.

The World Heritage List includes 962 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage that the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.

Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra

The preservation of UNESCO sites remains among the highest development priorities of the Governments concerned. Having been declared UNESCO Sites, they are both places that seek to reconcile the conservation of biological and cultural diversity and economic and social development. Although the socio-economic development within UNESCO Sites is highly vulnerable due to human activities, their careful management remains one of the goals of all countries concerned. This calls for urgent and necessary measures to achieve self-sustained socio economic development, involving the sustainable management of natural and locally available resources.

Among other factors, the energy system plays a key role in providing resident communities and the whole existing infrastructure with basic energy services in UNESCO Sites. Thus, the wide use and application of local renewable energy sources will help to reduce the damage caused to the ecosystem by energy production, while contributing to the sustainable development of local communities through access to energy services.

RENFORUS Interactive Map


Dr Osman Benchikh *. Programme Specialist in Charge of Energy and Renewable Energy. Coordinator of RENFORUS project.
E-mail: o.benchikh(at)
Cipriano Marín **. Assistant for RENFORUS project implementation.
E-mail: c.marin(at)
Addresses: * UNESCO. 1, Rue Miollis. 75015 Paris – France
** Avda. Islas Canarias, 35 - 38007, S/C de Tenerife - Spain