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Background

The Convention on Biological Diversity is key to sustainable development. However, its practical implementation (integration of biodiversity considerations into development policies and programmes) still requires much work. This is one of the great challenges facing this global agreement 17 years after its adoption.

The important links between biodiversity and development are reflected in numerous decisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Conference of the Parties. They are also widely acknowledged within the Millennium Development Declaration and Goals to combat poverty. However, efforts to link biodiversity and development are facing a number of obstacles, including: a lack of information on these interlinkages at the international, regional and national levels; insufficient biodiversity mainstreaming within development strategies; and a weak framework for scaling-up good practices and lessons learned (e.g. sharing of relevant data across sectors through inter-agency cooperation).

While the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF) proposes a better integration of biodiversity into development, the effective mainstreaming of biodiversity concerns into development policies has yet to be achieved on a wide scale. In this context, both OECD Development and Environment Ministers and European Union institutions highlighted they will support the efforts undertaken by partner countries to incorporate environmental considerations into development and poverty reduction strategies.

In September 2006, participants of the Paris conference on Biodiversity in European Development Cooperation (BEDC) adopted the “Message from Paris” which identifies a set of challenges for common action:

  • Support biodiversity mainstreaming in partner countries;
  • Improve governance for both poverty reduction and sustainable use of biodiversity;
  • Strengthen instruments and policy coherence;
  • Recognition of biodiversity in Overseas Countries and Territories.

As a follow-up to the BEDC conference, the French government decided to support the Secretariat in its work oriented towards the implementation of the “Message from Paris” recommendations. Concurrently, the government of Germany partnered with the Secretariat with the goal of linking the implementation of the Convention with global poverty reduction objectives. These two contributions led the Secretariat to set up a Biodiversity for Development and Poverty Alleviation Initiative, which was officially launched during the ninth Conference of Parties held in Bonn in May 2008. The initiative is now simply referred to as “Biodiversity for Development”. Its activities are overseen by the Implementation and Technical Support Division.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme