Together with the municipality of Scuol and the Val Müstair, the Swiss National Park (SNP) forms the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Engiadina Val Müstair. The basic idea of the biosphere reserve is the sustainable interaction between humans and nature. As a model region, it should demonstrate that sustainable management is worthwhile.
The Swiss National Park was designated as the first Swiss biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1979. In 1995, UNESCO in Seville substantially adapted and modernised the concept of biosphere reserves. The SNP no longer met UNESCO's new requirements, as it consists exclusively of a strictly protected core zone. For this reason, the SNP sought cooperation with Val Müstair from 2001 onwards in order to establish a maintenance and development zone there. In a first step, the Biosfera Val Müstair applied for the status of a regional nature park according to the new Nature and Cultural Heritage Protection Act. The regional nature park Biosfera Val Müstair has been recognised as a regional nature park by the federal government since 2010. On 2 June 2010 UNESCO provisionally granted the label with two conditions.
In 2015, the municipality of Scuol approved the expansion of the biosphere reserve on the northern side and has become the third cooperation partner since 1 January 2016. The corresponding dossier was submitted to UNESCO in Paris in September 2016. On 13 June 2017, UNESCO definitively awarded the label.
The 669 biosphere reserves worldwide are model regions: The protection of biological diversity and natural resources is in harmony with their sustainable use.
Some of these criteria correspond to the requirements for a regional nature park as set in the Federal Nature and Cultural Heritage Protection Act. For this reason, only regions in Switzerland that have the park label can submit a candidature for a UNESCO biosphere reserve.