CEM Members Updates

Report on Vilm meeting on "Biodiversity Conservation, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Reduction. Shaping a new agenda."

Report by Joost Brouwer, CEM member, The Netherlands

The meeting in Vilm, organised by the Bundesamt fúr Naturschutz, was the fourth in a series on linking nature conservation and poverty reduction. Out of that series has emerged a Steering Group on Linking Biodiversity and Poverty Reduction. The previous meeting focussed on economic aspects.

 The objectives of this meeting, with 16 participants from 6 continents, were to:
- provide input for the new Strategic Plan of the CBD, in relation also to the still to be defined post-2010 targets
- develop a workplan or road map for further linking biodiversity and poverty reduction
- exchange information and foster networking and cooperation.

 Based on e-mail exchanges before the meeting, part of my input consisted of concerns and suggestions from IUCN's Commission on Ecosystem Management, the Ramsar Bureau, CMS/AEWA and Wetlands International.

 I also drew attention to information from the Ecological Society of Amercia and the World Bank. The Ecological Society of America recently issued a draft policy on four main mechanisms to encourage decision makers to account for the environmental costs of growth:

• Internalize externalities
• Create mechanisms for sustaining ecosystem services
• Enhance decision makers’ capacity to predict environmental impacts
• Manage for resilient ecosystems.

To download the statement click here.

 The World Bank is focussing on an ecosystem-based approach to meeting climate change. Click here for more information.

 Main conclusions from the workshop:

 - CBD needs to spend more effort in getting on-side parties that are not by nature greatly interested in biodiversity.

- For that it is necessary that the CBD starts from the point of view and the interests of those parties, which are often related to (short-term) economic advantage.

- All stakeholders should be involved in a meaningful way as early as possible in the process of biodiversity conservation, wise use and equitable access, so that any projects will be joint projects and not 'unilateral' CBD projects.

- To engage all stakeholders effectively CBD will also have to develop more tools, including

* a tool to operationalise the Ecosystem Approach

* tools to make economics more green and reflective of the immediate and long-term values of natural resources (e.g. follow example of Costa Rica)

* guidelines for development of better NBSAPs (National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans).

- The CBD should link with existing initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals.

It will be of interest as well that the CBD is setting up a (meta) database on information relevant to biodiversity conservation, and possibly also wise use and equitable access. If biodiversity losses are to be assessed baseline information needs to be collected and made available.

(full report available shortly)