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Killarney National Park Biosphere Reserve Periodic Review

MKO completed a periodic review of the Killarney National Park UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in conjunction with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Kerry County Council. This internationally designated site is one of Ireland’s only two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. UNESCO Biosphere Reserves require that they are subject to review every ten years. This review involves assessing the reserve in terms of its core functions and objectives that were either set at the reserve’s foundation or during the previous periodic review.

Killarney National Park 2

Killarney National Park 1

Project challenges

During the periodic review process for the Killarney National Park Biosphere Reserve, it was recognised by UNESCO that the reserve did not meet its functions in terms of size and scale in that there was no designated buffer or transition zone surrounding the core area of the reserve (Killarney National Park). As a result, an expansion of the area of the park was required to include a much larger buffer area surrounding the core. This involved extensive planning and public consultation as well as significant changes to the way the Biosphere Reserve is managed.

The review document encompassed a review of the Reserve since its establishment and also set out the proposals and goals for the expanded Biosphere Reserve (renamed the Kerry Biosphere Reserve) along with providing information on the nature of the consultation and public engagement that was undertaken.

The Periodic Review Document was successfully submitted to UNESCO on time and was successful in ensuring that the reserve was retained by UNESCO.

Main services provided



MKO worked very closely with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Kerry County Council to determine the new extent of the reserve, consult with the general public, devise a new scheme for governance and were responsible for preparing a periodic review document for submission to UNESCO in Paris.

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