Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - As thousands of delegates gather in India for the 11th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) next week, a new initiative will be unveiled to help countries meet some of their obligations under the legally-binding treaty, while also reducing poverty, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) said Friday.
According to IIED, the initiative will show how the two seemingly disparate worlds of poverty eradication and biodiversity conservation are linked, and its launch comes ahead of the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October.
The three-year project – led by the IIED and the UN Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) – is intended to ensure that policies to conserve nature and reduce poverty work in harmony.
It will help nations identify opportunities to build a business case for biodiversity as a key development asset through, for instance, trade in biodiversity-based products and services, improved genetic diversity for agriculture, and green jobs in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, and ecotourism.
“Biodiversity and poverty are tightly linked, but policies for each rarely are,” said Dilys Roe of IIED. “The two sides of policy making need to be brought together so that natural resources can contribute to development and poverty reduction strategies in a sustainable way.”
In 2010, when they last met, all 193 parties to the CBD adopted a new 10-year strategy to achieve the aims of the convention, which are to conserve biodiversity, to ensure that it is used sustainably and to ensure that the benefits from its use are shared fairly and equitably.
As part of the new strategy, countries agreed to “address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society”.
They also set a target that: “By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems.”
To help achieve this, on 9 October at the CBD conference, the project team will launch a diagnostic tool that enables policymakers to assess how far their countries have integrated biodiversity and development, and identify impacts, knowledge gaps and barriers to progress.
The Biodiversity Mainstreaming Diagnostic Tool will help countries to revise their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) -- something all parties to the CBD have agreed to do by 2014.
As part of the project, four African countries -- Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles and Uganda -- are already using the tool to update and strengthen their NBSAPs.
“Leadership, good information and political acumen will be essential if countries are to integrate policies for biodiversity and development,” said Jessica Smith of UNEP-WCMC. “We expect the experiences of these four leading countries in Africa to inspire and influence a whole new generation of NBSAPs in other parties to the CBD around the world.”
-0- PANA AR/SEG 5Oct2012