Managua, May 10 - UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova inspected two of the three biosphere reserves in Nicaragua to get a firsthand look at their condition, first lady Rosario Murillo said.

Bokova, who arrived in the Central American country for an official visit Wednesday, flew over the Rio San Juan and Ometepe Island biosphere reserves.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, official was accompanied on the inspection tour Wednesday by Natural Resources and Environment Minister Juana Argeñal.

Bokova's goal was to observe the condition of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, or WNBR, sites in Nicaragua, Murillo, who also serves as coordinator of the Communications and Citizenship Council, said.

Ometepe, the largest island in the world located in a freshwater lake, was added to the WNBR June 2, 2010, by the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program.

The Rio San Juan Biosphere Reserve, which includes seven protected areas and other adjacent territories, was added to the Man and the Biosphere Program in 2003 and is one of the most important links in the Meso-American biological corridor that runs from Mexico to Panama.

Nicaragua is also home to the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, which was added to the program in 1997 and has been plagued by illegal logging.

Bokova is scheduled to visit the cathedral in Leon, a city located 90 km northwest of Managua, on Thursday, Murillo said.

The Leon Cathedral, whose construction began in 1747, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2011.

Bokova will wrap up her visit to Nicaragua with a meeting with President Daniel Ortega later in day.



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