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Living Strategy

A Living Strategic Plan


The Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve (known as the Western Port Biosphere Reserve for short) was nominated by the community and designated by UNESCO under its Man and Biosphere (MaB) Program in 2002. Declaration as a biosphere reserve was sought because the area contains and supports exceptional ecological values on the fringe of expanding city.

UNESCO biosphere reserves aim to keep special places—like Western Port—special by fostering conservation and sustainable development.* They encourage the community to develop better ways to meet social and economic needs, while conserving natural processes and biodiversity. They support this through research, monitoring, education and information exchange.

The non-profit Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve Foundation Ltd (the Biosphere Foundation) incorporated in December 2003 brings together representatives of the Victorian Government, the five local government authorities within the biosphere reserve and the community**

This document provides a concise description of the Biosphere Foundation’s strategy to achieve MaB objectives in the Western Port Biosphere Reserve. Our biosphere reserve is well-placed to showcase these objectives, both to our own community and to our city neighbours.

The Biosphere Foundation has adopted a Living Strategy approach to strategic planning as the most practical and flexible approach, given the multiplicity of organisations, agencies and individuals operating within the biosphere reserve and sharing, wholly or in part, the objectives of the Biosphere Foundation.

Pyramid of international, federal, state and local involvment

*Sustainable development: "Development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs", Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Report), United Nations, 1987. Sustainabl edevelopment has environmental, economic and social dimensions.
** For more detailed information on the institutional context of the Biosphere Foundation, see Appendix 2

A. Strategic Success Criteria

The Biosphere Foundation's strategic success criteria provide a compass to guide our progress. They describe what success would look like in our efforts to create a sustainable future for the Western Port Biosphere Reserve—environmentally, socially and economically.

Each year, we will aim to make significant improvements in the following areas:

  • State of the biosphere reporting: Coordinated measurement and reporting of the environmental, economic and social health of our biosphere reserve
  • Sustainable practices: The adoption of more sustainable practices by government, business and community within the biosphere reserve.
  • Community capacity values and perceptions: Increased business and community understanding, perception and engagement with the Foundation and its partners to improve the environmental, economic and social health of the biosphere reserve.
  • Organisational capacity: Maintaining sound governance and stronger financial, intellectual and resource capacity of the Foundation.

B. Strategic planning, implementation and review process:

The Biosphere Foundation is required to implement the directions of Seville Strategy and Madrid Action Plan as they apply to the Western Port Biosphere Reserve.

The diagram on the below outlines this relationship:

Diagram of strategic planning process

The Biosphere Foundation has adopted four key Strategic Themes to serve as a framework for organising our strategic objectives.

C. Strategic Themes

1. Natural Environment and Biodiversity Conservation
2. Sustainable Development on a Regional Scale
3. Logistical Support including targeted research, monitoring, evaluation of progress in sustainability
4. Partnerships and Governance to enable effective delivery of Biosphere objectives

These strategic themes are consistent with the MaB Madrid Action Plan (2008 – 2013), the key themes of which are listed

  • E.1 Cooperation, Management and Communication
  • E.2 Zonation – Linking Functions to Space
  • E.3 Science and Capacity Enhancement
  • E.4 Partnerships

The strategic themes are also consistent with the Biosphere Foundation’s charter. For details of how each strategy theme relates to the Madrid Action Plan and charter, ( see appendix 1).

The table below lists each strategic theme and its associated strategic goal and strategic action. These will be translated into SMART objectives and performance indicators during the development of specific action plans and the Foundation’s business plan (see diagram in section B).


Strategic Themes Strategic Goals Strategic Actions
1.Natural Environment & Biodiversity
a. Contribute to national conservation of ecological systems representative of major bioregions
b. Increase the extent and security of biodiversity conservation in the Reserve including protection from disturbance
and threatening processes
c. Review and expand the extent and efficiency of core and buffer zones, as described in the Man and Biosphere Program
Facilitation and development of integrated programs implemented with consultation and involvement of community stakeholders, agencies, state and local government including:
  • Bandicoot Regional Recovery Program
  • Watson Creek Integrated Catchment Management Project
2.Sustainable Development on a
regional scale
a. Develop public awareness of the Biosphere Reserve, creating ‘pride of place’ regarding its special values and understanding of its three functions
b. Stimulate and support continuous improvement in environmental, economic and social sustainability of development in the Biosphere
c. Develop partnerships and strategic alliances for sustainable development
d. Showcase the Biosphere Reserve regionally, nationally and internationally as a model for conservation and sustainable development
Further develop “Brand Biosphere” (the biosphere reserve’s role, values, unique selling propositions, and the foundation’s vision) and develop marketing and
communication action plans to engage with governments (local, state and federal), regional businesses, NGOs (environmental, social and economic)
and the broad community.

Identify opportunities for cross-promotion and joint branding with councils.
Conduct a gap analysis of federal and state government policies as a means of better engaging with government on sustainability issues.

With council and industry support, promote natural features and existing sustainable tourism products within the biosphere reserve by developing a map for distribution via tourist information centres.

Work with landholders, industry and councils to promote the actions of producers using sustainable agricultural practices, e.g. via an “eat local, buy local” campaign,
a “Biosphere Product” brand, and a “Biosphere Trail”
3. Logistic Support a . Develop means of measuring and monitoring sustainability within the Biosphere Reserve
b. Develop means of communication (both webbased and other types of publication) to exchange and share research, technology and education opportunities
c. Promote sustainability related research
d. Develop a range of accreditation schemes suitable for different sectors of the Biosphere community such as businesses, community groups , households
e. Facilitate development of multi-faceted education and communication programs to engage all sectors of the Biosphere community in cultural change towards sustainable lifestyles and
use of resources
Develop biosphere-wide sustainability indicators to measure environmental, economic and social health, in preparation for regular State of the Biosphere reporting.
4. Partnerships and
a. Regularly review the Man and Biosphere Program objectives and strategies and adapt the Living Strategy to reflect developments
b. Develop or update action plans for research, communication, education, local government, and other areas as required
c. Develop and consolidate a range of appropriate partnerships and alliances d. Pursue diverse, long term sources of income and funding
d. Pursue diverse, long term sources of income and funding
e. Delegate the delivery of outcomes to stakeholders as far as is practicable, utilising the enormous and diverse range of human resources and skills within the Biosphere community
f. Seek good governance, operational improvement and strong community involvement.
Aim to raise a discretionary annual budget of at least $250K.
Until we improve financial capacity, only consider projects that are identified in the local government action plan or that will earn us additional funds.

Establish partnership agreements and MOUs with relevant institutions, e.g, councils, to formalise agreed priorities, obligations, expectations, communication channels, etc.

Review foundation policies and operations to improve