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Background

The Convention on Biological Diversity recognizes that the Earth’s biodiversity is vital to humanity’s social, cultural and economic development. The Preamble of the Convention acknowledges that “economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries”. The important links between biodiversity and development are reflected in numerous decisions of the Conference of the Parties.

In 2002, the Conference of Parties set a target to “achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and the benefit of all life on Earth”. This was subsequently endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg in the same year. The WSSD Plan of implementation includes a reciprocal reference to the importance of biodiversity for sustainable development and poverty eradication.

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.

As a follow-up to the BEDC conference, the government of France 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 actions for poverty reduction.

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 also referred to as “Biodiversity for Development”.

At COP10 held in Nagoya in 2010, Parties adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Its mission explicitly aims at contributing to human well-being and poverty eradication through taking actions to halt biodiversity loss and ensuring essential ecosystem services. COP10 also saw the adoption of the “Nagoya Declaration on Biodiversity in Development Cooperation” at the High Level Forum on Biodiversity in Development Cooperation, which recognized the need to promote development approaches with least impact on biodiversity and improve decision-making related to ecosystem management.

Following decision X/6, the Expert Group on Biodiversity for Poverty Eradication and Development was established, which led to the adoption of the “Chennai guidance for the integration of biodiversity and poverty reduction” in COP12, held in Pyeongchang in 2014.

Further, in line with the decision XIII/3 of COP13 held in Cancun in 2016, the Biodiversity for Development Initiative promotes the mainstreaming of biodiversity in the implementation of key international processes such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris climate agreement, and the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme