The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 recognises that biodiversity underpins ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services that are essential for human well-being. The fourth Global Biodiversity Outlook underscores that biodiversity is still being lost and ecosystems degraded at alarming rates. Actions for restoring degraded ecosystems need to be strengthened and scaled up.
Some countries have developed public programmes with socio-economic and development objectives that invest in large-scale conservation and restoration of ecosystems. These programmes use labour-intensive approaches for both development needs and environmental goals.
To examine the potential of these types of programs to contribute simultaneously to development and environmental goals, the Convention on Biological Diversity initiated the project “Leveraging Public Programmes with Socio-Economic and Development Objectives to Support Conservation and Restoration of Ecosystems” with the generous financial contribution from the European Commission and the Government of Germany (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety).
The project summarizes the best practices and lessons learned of a number of existing programmes, providing information that may be useful to Parties to understand the potential of public programmes with socio-economic and development objectives to contribute simultaneously to poverty alleviation and large scale biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration goals. The project also aims to provide useful information to Parties to consider implementing similar programmes in their countries, thereby scaling up biodiversity conservation.
The project is divided into several components:
- a series of in-depth country cases studies, including best practices and lessons learned from the Republic of Korea, South Africa, and Brazil;
- a review of literature, including a brief overview of 18 examples from Africa, Asia and the Americas; and
- a technical series.
The components will be made available on this website as they are finalized.
Republic of Korea
The large-scale extraction of timber during the Japanese occupation and effects of poverty during and after the Korean War left much of Korea’s forests in a state of devastation. In 1962, the Korean government began a massive reforestation effort. The National Reforestation Programme was responsible for reforesting over 2 million ha, generating revenue and supplying fuel wood to local communities, and erosion control projects throughout the Republic of Korea. By 1987, over 39 per cent of forested areas throughout the Republic of Korea was restored and the focus was reduced to specific forestry goals, such as increasing the income of rural residents from forest resources. It also promoted environmental awareness for citizens and encouraged participation in the tree-planting campaigns. The planting of a variety of tree species laid the foundation for improving biodiversity.
The arrival of South Africa’s first democratic government in 1994 was accompanied by profound political and social changes. Environmental governance under the previous apartheid regime saw the formulation of environmental policies and services that perpetuated social inequality. The peaceful transition to the new government led to a series of institutional changes based on best international practices. The adoption of a new constitution emphasizing the importance of environmental rights and justice became the guiding values in the design of environmental policy. With a greater emphasis on sustainability, the Working for Water programme became the government’s keystone environmental restoration and maintenance programme. The success of the programme led to an increase in environmental restoration and maintenance programmes.
Brazil has invested in a number of government programs that seek to reduce chronic poverty, improve infrastructure, and conserve and restore ecosystems. In doing so, the Brazil government has emphasized the structuring of policies focusing on extractive products and the extractivist community. The extraction of non-timber forest products is a long-standing practice associated with local communities in remote parts of the country. In order to alleviate the dependency on products extracted from nature by low income communities, two promising government policies for supporting biodiversity conservation and restoration goals have been implemented. The Price-support Policy for Socio-Biodiversity Derived Products and the Bolsa Verde Programme (Green Grant Programme), target the Brazilian population that largely depends upon the use of non-timber forest products for their livelihoods. They provide positive impacts on ecosystems and improve the beneficiaries’ quality of life.
Review of literature
The review of literature provides strategic information about 18 case examples taken from a representative sample of different regions of the world. Each case example (i.e. a national or regional programme) is summarized using the following key aspects: description, legal framework and design, observations, and elements with the potential for replicability.