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Angra do Heroísmo ,  November 23, 2010

Government promotes school competition “Natural Resources for Sustainability”

The Regional Secretariat for the Environment and the Sea (SRAM) is promoting a school competition, “Natural Resources for Sustainability,” which is divided into two sub-themes: the Biosphere Reserve and Azores Geopark.
The initiative was organised in the context of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014 (DNEDS) and the transition from the International year of Biodiversity (2010) to the International Year of Forests (2011).
The purpose is to raise the community’s awareness for the importance of this issue and encourage the curiosity of youngsters for the goals set by the DNEDS by stimulating their critical spirit and imagination.
In addition to the SRAM, this initiative is also organised by the Regional Secretariats for Education and Training, Agriculture and Forestry, the Regional Directorate for Sport, the UNESCO National Commission and the Azores Geopark Association.
The Biosphere Reserves are terrestrial or marine ecosystems that allow the testing, in particular contexts, of approaches which, through the combination of scientific knowledge and governance data, aim to reduce the biodiversity loss, improve the survival of populations and promote the social, economic and cultural values that are fundamental to the viability of sustainable development. 
The Biosphere Reserves may also serve as educational and experimentation spaces. They are internationally recognised by the MaB (Man and Biosphere) Programme of UNESCO.
There are three Biosphere Reserves located in the Azores: Corvo and Graciosa, both classified in 2007, and the Flores Biosphere, classified in 2009.
A Geopark is a territorial area with defined limits, where the existence of an exceptional geological heritage is the basis of a strategy that promotes the well-being of populations while preserving the utmost respect for the environment.
Given the archipelagic nature of the region, the “Azores Geopark” is based on a geosites spatial network spread throughout the Region that ensures the geodiversity representation of the archipelago and its geological history by recognising the elements comprised therein and integrating them in context of supranational geoconservation   (the European and Global Geoparks Networks – RGE and RGG).
The sustained preservation and recognition of geosites, the promotion of study and research on the geological and natural heritage, the environmental education and the promotion of rural and nature tourism as tools for the economic development of local populations, enabling the preservation of natural and cultural heritage are the main goals set by the Azores Geopark.
The participants should produce posters, scale models and audiovisual material (films/PowerPoint and photography) as a civic tool for discussion of relevant issues for the school community as well as for the promotion of the relations between school and the community. The production of materials to enhance the knowledge on the DNEDS themes, particularly on Natural Resources for Development, and the creation of opportunities to reflect on the subject to raise awareness for our individual and collective responsibility are another goals of this school competition.
Furthermore, the competition also aims to contribute to the development of an Education for Sustainable Development (EDS) among youngsters, families, schools, local authorities and the media. The produced materials will also serve as a tool to disseminate the goals set by the DNEDS and its main themes.
It also aims to raise the awareness of students as well as of the entire educational community for the importance of Biosphere Reserves and the Azores Geopark. 
The prize delivery ceremony will take place on the island of Faial on June, being integrated in the International Workshop on the Azores on the “Azores Geopark” which will be attended by representatives of the European Geoparks Network and officials of the Man and Biosphere Programme of UNESCO.
The Prize “Biosphere Schools” will be awarded to the participating school included in the Biosphere Reserve of the Azores. This is a pioneer project developed by the Azores in partnership with UNESCO to create a “Global Network of Biosphere Schools.”
The competition is addressed at all regional schools which must formalise their application until January 7, 2011.
The rules and registration form are available on the Portal of the Government at or at the DO.IT platform in the section DRA/Natural resources for sustainability.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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