BIOSPHERE CONNECTIONS Star Alliance's environmental partnership

The Star Alliance environmental project Biosphere Connections supports partner organisations in preserving our environment by providing plane tickets for their experts to travel to important events. The two organisations working with us in the project are the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (known as Ramsar).

Biosphere Connections was conceived well ahead of the time when global warming and C02 emissions became, arguably, the world's No. 1 global issue. It was first proposed in early 2001 after an approach from the International Chambers of Commerce to forge an environmental partnership. Meetings with the ICC, UNESCO-MAB, Ramsar and IUCN followed and an agreement was reached.

The turmoil in the aviation industry which followed the events of September 11, 2001 meant putting Biosphere Connections on hold for a while. The idea was reactivated in 2005 and the project was formally launched on 1 January, 2006.

The name Biosphere Connections was arrived at after much discussion to try to correctly capture the synergies between Star Alliance and the three environmental partners. Starting from a premise that all four were global organisations with far reaching networks, the name Biosphere Connections came out of a desire to represent all aspects of the biosphere, as embodied in the three environmental partners, as well as a "connection" with Star Alliance's extensive global network.

UNESCO-MAB later decided to end its participation in the programme. The partnership with RAMSAR and IUCN remains strong.

Star Alliance’s environmental partners


The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the global framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem. The Convention was signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and entered into force in 1975. Since then, 169 countries, almost 90% of UN member states from the entire world’s geographic regions have acceded and become Contracting Parties. 


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IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.
IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organisation, with almost 1,300 government and NGO Members and more than 15,000 volunteer experts in 185 countries.

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Adarsh Prathap, 22 from India is the winner of the World Wetlands Day Youth Photo Contest 2016 themed “Wetlands are essential for sustainable livelihoods” and wins the free flight to visit a wetland anywhere in the world courtesy of Star Alliance Biosphere Connections. (He spoke to us about his winning photo and his dream to visit the Pantanal). Adarsh would like to visit the Pantanal (Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay), one of the largest and best preserved wetlands in the world.

The Photo Contest was held as part of a global activity for young people to celebrate World Wetlands Day 2016’s theme Wetlands for Our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods. Young people aged from 15 to 24 years old were invited to submit between 2 February and 2 March 2016 photos that captured how people make a living from wetlands. A judging panel led by world-renowned landscape photographer Charlie Waite, together with respected photographers Paul Sanders, Katie Hammond and Carla Regler, helped to select the winning entries. Over 500 photographs were entered into the contest. They depict the numerous livelihoods that depend on healthy wetlands, such as fishing, water transport, eco-tourism, the craft industry.