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Main challenges

Biodiversity’s capacity to deliver benefits to the poor is diminishing around the world. In fact, poverty and hunger are worsening as ecosystems unravel and water and soil resources continue suffering from disruption and over-exploitation.

Reversing ecosystems’ degradation while meeting an increasing demand for their services is a challenge. It can be met through significant changes to policies, regulations and practices.

Long-term benefits for ecosystems and human well-being can result from different types of action. Examples include:
  • Extended international coordination (integration of ecosystem management processes within development sectors and broader development planning frameworks);
  • Development and diffusion of technology (ecosystem restoration);
  • Improvements in the use of information (use of knowledge and information stemming from traditional knowledge);
  • Economic interventions (removal of subsidies that promote excessive use of ecosystem goods and services such as for fisheries or agriculture).

Biodiversity mainstreaming: a key tool

The systematic integration of biodiversity in development processes is called "Biodiversity mainstreaming". The overall goal of biodiversity mainstreaming is to have biodiversity principles included at every stage of the policies, plans, programmes and project cycles, regardless whether international organizations, businesses or governments lead the process. Another objective of mainstreaming biodiversity is to help reduce the negative impacts that productive sectors exert on biodiversity, particularly outside of protected areas, and highlight the contribution of biodiversity to economic development and human well being, through enhanced collaboration with development sectors and actors.

From a series of broad actions to be undertaken by the international community, one notes the following:

  • Maintaining ecosystems’ health and productivity to provide ecosystem services to cover basic needs in the long term;
  • Instigate proper legislation for a fair and equitable access to ecosystems;
  • Institute market regulations and economic incentives at all levels to build up a green economy focusing on pro-poor growth;
  • Combine scientific and traditional knowledge in order to create the capacities for local communities to sustainably manage biodiversity;
  • Overcome national and institutional individualism and build up the required international framework for effective global environmental governance.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme