Nature for all

01 April 2012 | Article

Nature concerns all of us. It’s the common denominator between us. We all depend on nature and benefit from it in so many ways. The problem is, these benefits are not shared equally because of various political, geographic, social and economic reasons.

Natural resources contribute 25-30% of many rural and coastal peoples’ household income in low and middle income countries. But governments tend to keep authority over natural resources and often exclude or heavily regulate local control. The direct result is that nature’s benefits are not fairly shared and natural resources are often poorly managed. In some cases, notably the high seas, there is the opposite challenge, with little, if any control over the management of these resources.

Sharing power, responsibility and benefits with respect to natural resource management, as well as making laws and regulations more transparent, inclusive and fair, are good for both people and biodiversity.

This month, as the third of our ‘IUCN World Conservation Congress Previews’, we look at the connection between equitability and conservation. This is one of the main themes of the Congress that takes place 6-15 September in Jeju, South Korea.

Our first Congress preview in October 2011 introduced the main focal points of this landmark conservation event, while in January this year we looked at the theme valuing and conserving biodiversity. The fourth and final will be in August on natural solutions to global challenges such as climate change, development and food security.