Connect: mainstreaming biodiversity information into the heart of government decision making

Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential components of a healthy economy. To achieve truly sustainable development, governments must integrate information about biodiversity and ecosystems services into their decision-making processes.

April 2016 - August 2021
Xiaoting Hou Jones

 Xiaoting Hou Jones was a senior researcher in the biodiversity team of IIED's Natural Resources research group until March 2024

Biodiversity and development
A programme of work showing how IIED is working to ensure biodiversity conservation, climate change and economic development are tackled together by the institutions that drive policy, rules, plans, investment and action
Cultivated fields and forests

Large areas of Ugandan forests are being converted to agriculture (Photo: Rod Waddington via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0)

Loss of biodiversity and impacts on ecosystem services have significant consequences across a range of sectors, including poverty reduction and development. In order to change this, government decision makers need to have access to information about biodiversity that helps them to understand the potential impacts of the decisions that they are taking.

At the same time, biodiversity data and information providers also need improved understanding of decision-making processes, and how information can be best provided so it can be most effectively used within those processes.

The Connect project aimed to help governments to achieve sustainable development by improving the availability and usability of information about biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Focused on Ghana, Uganda and Mozambique, it was a multi-partner initiative coordinated by United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and funded by the Global Environment Facility. National partners came from relevant ministries, the scientific community, non-government organisations, civil society and local communities. Its key aims were to:

  • Clearly understand the demands for, and the barriers to using, information on biodiversity within government decision making, and clarify the format, timing and packaging of information required
  • Repackage and promote existing biodiversity data and information from a range of national and international sources, and
  • Strengthen the connection between government decision makers and providers of information and data on biodiversity and ecosystem, so that policy-relevant, spatially-explicit information can continue to be provided sustainably to meet ongoing national needs.

What did IIED do?

IIED supported the national teams to understand the demands for biodiversity information, and the barriers to and opportunities for connecting government decision makers with providers of biodiversity information.

As part of this, we provided tailored guidance on conducting political economy analysis and supported the country teams to apply it and engage key stakeholders.

Based on cross-country learning, IIED developed:

  • A general guide to political economy analysis that can be widely used by those who want to mainstream biodiversity information into government decision-making processes, and 
  • A brief guide to help non-specialists working in conservation and development to use political economy analysis. 

For more information about the project and all its news and outputs, visit the Connect website.