Biodiversity and Ecosystems Essential for Human Development | Olav Kjørven

15 Oct 2012

  UNDP’s global biodiversity portfolio currently includes projects in 146 countries, covering an area larger than India and Indonesia combined. Since 2000, UNDP has helped leverage nearly US$ 5 billion in funding for biodiversity work around the world. (Photo: UNDP Lao PDR)

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth in all its forms, and protecting that life is fundamental to eradicating poverty and advancing human development, as was reaffirmed at the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

People rely on biodiversity and ecosystems for their livelihoods – to meet their food, water, energy and health needs - and to cope with climate change. A study from India in ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity’ report, showed that ecosystem services contribute up to 57% of the GDP of the poor.

When we lose species and ecosystems, we are losing essential services that sustain life. Recent assessments of global biodiversity find that species are continuing to decline and that the risk of extinction is growing; that natural habitats are continuing to be lost and are becoming increasingly degraded and fragmented. The 2011 IUCN Red List includes 44,838 species, of which 16,928 (38 per cent) are threatened with extinction.

To halt this alarming trend, UNDP is calling for urgent action to achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan and the 20 Aichi Targets. UNDP’s new Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework, which is being launched this week at the Eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Hyderabad, India, by UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan, underpins our contribution to this effort and organizes our work into three programmes focusing on:

  • the integration of biodiversity and ecosystem management into development planning and production sector activities;
  • the strengthening of protected areas -  including indigenous and community conserved areas - so that they are better managed and financed and can contribute to sustainable development, and;
  • ecosystem-based climate change adaptation and mitigation.

For more than 40 years, UNDP has been a global leader in biodiversity and ecosystems management. We stand ready to continue working closely with all our partners to urgently scale up action to conserve biodiversity, as there cannot be development where life does not flourish.

Talk to us and inspire others: Why are biodiversity and ecosystems essential for human development?

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