Dublin Bay is to be designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve this week, which will have significant implications in developing the bay as a habitat and tourist destination.
The news will significantly extend the current designation area, with North Bull Island currently the only biosphere in the world entirely situated in a capital city.
It has developed over the years by the gradual natural deposition of sand behind the North Bull Wall.
A biosphere reserve is an area which is internationally recognised by UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) for its biodiversity. Biospheres have a core designated for nature conservation, but the rest of the biosphere includes places where people live sustainably.
The North Bull Island Biosphere is subject to a periodic review every 10 years.
The last review saw a proposal put forward to enlarge the designation to cover more of the area, to reflect its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance.
The official launch will take place tomorrow at Dublin Bay, with those attending including Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.
The reserve will be managed by the newly-established Dublin Bay Biosphere partnership.
The new partnership will be coordinated by Dublin City Council and also includes Fingal, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin Port and the National Parks and Wildlife service.
There are currently only two biosphere reserves in Ireland, including the soon to be extended North Bull Island Reserve which opened in 1981. The second biosphere reserve opened a year later in 1982 in Killarney.
This biosphere reserve and national park comprises the mountains and woodlands surrounding Lough Leane Lake and adjacent smaller lakes, moorlands, parks and gardens.
There are currently 631 UNESCO designated reserves in the world, spread across 119 countries.