Integrating biodiversity and development in policy processes

Article, 16 August 2013

Biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction must be tackled together by the institutions that drive policy, rules, plans, investment and action for both a process known as ‘mainstreaming’. We aim to ensure this happens through research, capacity building and partnerships with key organisations, communities and other actors.

Two oryx bound away across grasslands in Namibia.

As with many other environmental assets, like clean water, biodiversity is un-priced and its benefits (as well as the costs of its loss) are unrecognised and poorly reflected in public and private sector planning processes. It isn’t prioritised in national development and poverty reduction strategies, despite its importance to poor people.

Tackling the trade-offs

There can be trade-offs between biodiversity and poverty reduction, particularly if they are considered in isolation. The irreparable loss of biodiversity can increase the vulnerability of the poor and reduce their options for development. But ill-planned conservation measures can equally exacerbate poverty – for example, if poor peoples’ access to essential natural resources is curtailed by setting up protected areas, which they are then excluded from.

To tackle these tradeoffs, biodiversity concerns must be taken into account in poverty reduction and development planning and policy. Equally, poverty and livelihoods issues must be integrated into conservation policy and planning.

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