The Archipelago Sea biosphere reserve is part of the international program Man and Biosphere (MAB). The program was started in the 1970s by UNESCO, the United Nations Agency for Education, Science and Culture. On a global scale, the program aims to improve the relationship between man and the environment. The most important tool of the program is to establish biosphere reserves.

In Finland, there are currently two biosphere reserves, one in Northern Karelia and one in the Archipelago Sea, but there are also far-reaching plans to set up a biosphere reserve around Lake Päijänne.

Smaller regional or thematic networks have been formed within the MAB program. The most important collaboration networks for the Archipelago Sea biosphere reserve are EuroMAB (Europe, North America and parts of Russia), the network for islands and coastal zones, and NordMAB, which also includes Canada. Finland’s two biosphere areas have played a central role for the development of the NordMAB network.

According to the global action program (Lima Action Plan 2016-2025), biosphere areas should be models for the implementation of the UN Sustainability Goals Agenda 2030. Today, there are more than 700 biosphere reserves around the globe.