The Afar region is endowed with rich and diverse natural and cultural resources that have outstanding universal values from the perspective of culture and biodiversity conservation and it plays significant role in maintaining the arid and semi-arid part of the country. Moreover, there are considerable ecological and socio-economic opportunities in the region to enhance sustainable development as well as long-term research. Several literature resources that include academic publications, and policy and strategy documents were examined to explore and document the existing potentials of the Afar Region for the establishment of biosphere reserve. From the review, it was concluded that the Afar Region is endowed with rich and diverse natural and cultural resources that have outstanding universal values from the perspective of conservation of biodiversity and culture, sustainable development, and scientific research and monitoring. Thus, the region has significant areas that well fulfill the basic functions and criteria for designation of Biosphere Reserve but not yet represented in similar scheme of conservation area. It is therefore recommended to address the existing gaps and establish biosphere reserves in the region following the basic principles and criteria for designation of such schemes of conservation areas.
Key words: Biosphere reserve, criteria, function, conservation, sustainable development.
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