An innovative new platform to evidence the economic impact and potential of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves was presented at an international meeting of Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru last month. Funded by the Scottish Government, the platform was developed by the Edinburgh-based Social Enterprise, Assist Social Capital.
The OASIIS (Opening Access to Sustainable Independent Income Streams) Platform has been designed to encourage and promote sustainable economic development in and around UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.
The platform presents socio-economic data, gathered from businesses that have signed up to their Biosphere Reserve’s accreditation schemes, in simple, easy-to-understand graphics. By comparing Biosphere Reserves around the world, the platform seeks to demonstrate existing value and also identify how more value could be derived. It aims to give participating organisations ownership of the data so that they can use it to evidence their contribution to the local community to stakeholders and funders. Finally, it provides a platform for participating Biosphere Reserves and affiliated organisations to share opportunities such as joint projects and funding bids, facilitating information sharing and partnership working within an easy to use interactive platform. It therefore shares the core objectives of the UKNC’s own Wider Value project as well as acting as a hub for socio-economic information relating to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Colin Campbell from Assist Social Capital said of the Platform:
“OASIIS will be a key resource to facilitate the new global thematic network on social enterprise in BRs. We have come a long way in the last 4 years engaging stakeholders in Europe, North America and Asia. This will give us the capacity to work together to demonstrate the importance of Biosphere Reserves and the businesses that closely align to their underlying principles to local communities and present that information at a global scale”.