23 Sep 2016 12:53:59 GMT
The ocean has been a cornerstone of human development throughout the history of civilization. People continue to come to the coasts to build some of the largest cities on the planet, with thriving economies, culture and communities. Ocean and coastal ecosystems provide us with resources and trade opportunities that greatly benefit human well-being.
These benefits are often taken for granted as we fail to recognize their underlying value. In our narrow pursuit of progress through purely economic and social development we often fail to protect the health of our marine system that we depend upon. Today, however, we increasingly realize the importance of healthy ecosystems for sustainable development that is reflected in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the United Nations. We can no longer afford to apply an antagonistic paradigm between development and conservation. The SDG framework provides the world with the opportunity to transform how we think about the ‘Oceans and Us’.
This publication highlights the critical contribution of healthy marine and coastal ecosystems to achieving the SDGs and describes the role of credible and accessible data, well communicated knowledge generated through dialogue with users, in supporting informed decision-making.
23 Sep 2016 01:49:16 GMT
The shallow coral reefs that we all know, are like the tip of an iceberg - they are the more visible part of an extensive coral ecosystem that reaches into depths far beyond where most people visit. The invisible reefs, known as mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) are widespread and diverse, however they remain largely unexplored in most parts of the world. With the global climate heating up, the world’s shallow coral reefs are predicted to experience increasing levels of catastrophic bleaching. This report asks the question – can MCEs provide a “life boat” for shallow coral reefs that are suffering decimation from rising sea surface temperatures and other anthropogenic impacts?
Picture a coral reef — most people will probably imagine brightly coloured corals, fish and other animals swimming in well-lit shallow waters. In fact, the coral reefs that live close to the surface of the sea — the ones that we can swim, snorkel, or dive near and see from space — are only a small portion of the complete coral reef ecosystem. Light-dependent corals can live in much deeper water (up to a depth of 150 m in clear waters). The shallow coral reefs from the surface of the sea to 30–40 m below are more like the tip of an iceberg; they are the more visible part of an extensive coral ecosystem that reaches into depths far beyond where most people visit. These intermediate depth reefs, known as mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs), are the subject of this report.
22 Sep 2016 10:23:43 GMT
In Hawai'i, geograpahic isolation has prevented the natural establishment of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and many insect species, such as biting mosquitoes. Isolation has also facilitated the spectacular evolutionary radiation of Hawaiian honeycreepers from a single small flock of North American finches into more than 50 species and subspecies of endemic forest birds.
09 Sep 2016 02:56:25 GMT
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will address the growing threat from illegal trade at its forthcoming Conference of the Parties (CoP17). CITES is a regulatory treaty that is neither self-executing nor legally binding unless its provisions are reproduced in member statesâ laws. Approximately half the parties still need to develop legislation to strengthen their implementation of the convention; 10 of the 17 parties designated by the CITES Secretariat as needing priority attention are in Africa. There is thus opportunity to harmonise legal frameworks for more effective CITES implementation. While parties improve their environmental laws, the secretariat can foster transregional consensus on trade controls, improve synergy with other conventions in the context of environmental crime, prioritise support to CITES scientific and management authorities in high- biodiversity countries, especially those subject to trade suspensions for non-compliance, and recommend raising penalties for illegal transactions in wildlife commodities known to finance conflict.
09 Sep 2016 02:48:52 GMT
18 Aug 2016 11:00:54 GMT
The islands of the Pacific region hold three of the 35 global biodiversity hotspots with large numbers of endemic species. Global climate change will exacerbate the challenges faced by the biodiversity of this region . In this review, the authors identify trends in characteristics for 305 terrestrial species threatened by climate change and severe weather according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). We then review the literature on observed and potential impacts of climate change on terrestrial biodive rsity , focusing on the species' characteristics that were identified. High - elevation ecosystems such as cloud montane forests are projected to disappear entirely by the year 2100 , with corresponding global losses of their endemic biodiversity. Sea level ri se threatens restricted range species on small low - lying atolls. Shifts in distribution may be possible for generalist species , but r ange shifts will be difficult for species with small distributions, specialized habitat requirements, slow dispersal rates , and species at high elevations.
Accurate assessments of climate change impacts on biodiversity of the region are difficult because of confusion about nomenclature , the many species unknown to science, the lack of baseline data on species' ecology and distributions, and lack of fine resolution elevation data for very small islands. Furthermore, synergistic interactions of climate change with other threats like habitat loss and invasive species have not been comprehensively assessed. Addressing these knowledge gaps will be difficult for Pacific island nations due to limited financial resources and expertise.
16 Aug 2016 04:40:28 GMT
Global Biodiversity Outlook-4, the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, provided a global assessment of progress towards the attainment of the Plan’s global biodiversity goals
and associated Aichi Biodiversity Targets, but contained limited regional information.
This report builds on and complements the global GBO-4 assessment. It is the second edition of the State of Biodiversity in
the Latin America and the Caribbean report and serves as a near mid-term review of progress towards the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 for the Latin America and the Caribbean region.
The report draws on a set of regional indicators, information from fifth national reports to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), other national and regional reports, case studies and published literature, to provide a target-by-target review of progress towards the twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets. As much as possible, global indicators for Aichi Biodiversity Targets have beenbroken down to regional level and some additional analyses of existing global information have been undertaken with key national institutions in the region. However, limitations in data have meant that some datasets, which do not extend past 2011, have been included to illustrate that relevant information exists, but further efforts to update this information are needed.
The key messages about the state of biodiversity in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and the pressures upon it, which have emerged from this assessment are:
16 Aug 2016 04:26:47 GMT
Global Biodiversity Outlook-4 (GBO-4), the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, provided a global assessment of progress towards the attainment of the Plan’s global biodiversity goals and associated Aichi Biodiversity Targets, but contained limited regional information.
This report builds on and complements the global GBO-4 assessment. This is the second edition of The State of Biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific report and serves as a near mid-term review of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets for the Asia Pacific region.
The report draws on a set of regional indicators, information from fifth national reports to the CBD, other government reports, case studies and published literature, to provide a target by target review of progress towards the twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets. As much as possible, global indicators for Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been broken down to regional level and some additional analyses of existing global information have been undertaken. However, limitations in data have meant that some datasets which do not extend past 2011 have been included to illustrate that relevant information exists, but that further efforts to update this information are needed.
The key messages about the state of biodiversity in the region, and the pressures upon it, which have emerged from this assessment are:
16 Aug 2016 04:17:22 GMT
Global Biodiversity Outlook-4 (GBO-4), the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 , published by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), provides a global assessment of progress towards the attainment of the Planâs biodiversity goals and associated twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets, but contains limited regional information.
This second edition of the State of Biodiversity in West Asia report builds on and complements the global GBO-4 assessment, serving as a near mid-term review of progress towards the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 for the West Asia region specifically. This report draws on a set of regional indicators, information from fifth national reports to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), other government reports, case studies and published literature, to provide a target by target review of progress towards the twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets. As much as possible, global indicators for the Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been broken down to regional level and additional analyses of existing global information have been undertaken.
The key messages about the state of biodiversity in West Asia, and the pressures upon it, which have emerged from this assessment are:
16 Aug 2016 04:05:56 GMT
Global Biodiversity Outlook-4, the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 , provided a global assessment of progress towards the attainment of the Plan's global biodiversity goals and associated Aichi Biodiversity Targets, but contained limited regional information. This report builds on and complements the global GBO-4 assessment. It is the second edition of the State of Biodiversity in Africa report and serves as a near mid-term review of progress towards the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 for the African region.
This report draws on a set of regional indicators, information from fifth national reports to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), other government reports, case studies and published literature, to provide a target by target review of progress towards the twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets. As much as possible, global indicators for Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been broken down to regional level and some additional analyses of existing global information have been undertaken. However, limitations in data have meant that some datasets which do not extend past 2011 have been included to illustrate that relevant information exists, but that further efforts to update this information.
12 Jun 2016 09:06:59 GMT
nsights from traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of the marine environment are difficult to integrate into conventional science knowledge (CSK) initiatives. Where TEK is integrated into CSK at all, it is usually either marginalized or restricted to CSK modes of interpretation, hence limiting its potential contribution to the understanding of social-ecological systems. This study uses semi-directive interviews, direct observations, and structured open-ended questionnaires (n = 103) to explore TEK of marine ecological changes occurring within the Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania, and factors contributing to these changes. It illuminates TEK insights that can be valuable in parallel with CSK to provide a more nuanced understanding of ecological changes. In some areas, fishers observed coral reef growth, increased fish abundance, and increased sea temperatures, whereas in others, they reported decreases in sea level, coral cover, fish abundance, catch composition, catch quantities, and fish size. They associated these changes with interrelated factors emanating from environmental processes, conservation outcomes, marketing constraints, population dynamics, and disappearance of cultural traditions. Utilizing TEK without restricting it to CSK modes of interpretation has the potential to improve CSK initiatives by promoting complementarity and mutual enrichment between the two kinds of knowledge, thereby contributing new insights that may enhance adaptive management and resilience in social-ecological systems.
21 Mar 2016 07:31:29 GMT
Evidence from ecological studies, eddy flux towers, and satellites shows that many tropical forests ‘green up’ during higher sunlight annual dry seasons, suggesting they are more limited by light than water. Morton et al.reported that satellite-observed dry-season green up in Amazon forests is an artefact of seasonal variations in sun- sensor geometry.
However, here these researchers argue that even after artefact correction, data from Morton et al. show statistically significant increases in canopy greenness during the dry season. Integrating corrected satellite with ground observations indicates that dry-season forest greening is prevalent in Amazonia, probably reflecting large-scale seasonal upregulation of photosynthesis by canopy leaf dynamics.
[adapted from source]
16 Mar 2016 03:19:51 GMT
This Spotlight highlights some of the key publications that study, analyse and document Brazil’s ethanol programme. The publications focus on the following specific issues: Brazilian government policies to promote the sector; sustainability issues; expansion, land use and agro-ecological zoning of sugarcane; bagasse, cogeneration and bioelectricity; and advanced biofuels. Together these resources highlight the current key issues surrounding the sector, offering a useful entry for readers from other regions who wish to understand the Brazilian experience with ethanol.
05 Mar 2016 04:09:22 GMT
Natural resource conservation is key to the concept of sustainable development, yet environmental pressures continue to increase, including soil degradation, water availability, and nutrient cycling. Within natural resource conservation, women play an equally essential, yet differentiated, role as men. This means that analysis of gender interactions in relation to environmental management is imperative for sustainable development. To this end, this journal paper explores the traditional gender roles of men and women in the conservation of natural resources among the vhavenda people in Zimbabwe. It seeks to draw lessons regarding participation, particularly of women, that can inform wider sustainable development efforts.
African feminism and post- colonial theory were used as theoretical frameworks to analyse the practices of the vhavenda, while a Harvard analytic framework and the social relation approach to gender analysis were used as tools to map the gender roles in their conservation activities. The research also used a phenomenological research approach as part of the purely qualitative study, to ensure that understanding emerged directly from the experiences of the men and women themselves. In-depth, unstructured interviews were conducted with respondents aged seventy and above, with five females and three males interviewed in the Beit-Bridge district in south west Zimbabwe. This demographic was chosen for their extensive knowledge of traditional methods.
The research revealed that the type of resources that were of concern to the vhavenda people included soil, water, and specific plant species that were important sources of firewood, timber, and food. Certain trees are conserved for sacred and cultural reasons, with rules as to who can cut down trees, and how. Conservation of water was not gendered, with both men and women participating in actions such as fencing off water-sources from animals. Soil degradation prevention takes precedence over correction, with men cutting terraces to prevent soil erosion, and women planting grasses. Animal species conservation depended on availability, importance, and use, while the study also revealed that although women and men had different uses and benefits from natural resources, there was an ethic of cooperation, dialogue, and collaboration among men and women when it comes to resource conservation.
The study recommends that natural resource conservation in the context of sustainable development, that is, using modern technologies and methods, needs to embrace some of the practices of the vhavenda. these include complementarity, cooperation, inclusiveness, dialogue, and negotiation between men and women. In promoting equal participation between genders, this approach will help to overcome some of the barriers of participation seen elsewhere, especially unequal gender relations that cause gendered subordination.
04 Mar 2016 10:56:02 GMT
Around the world, women farmers are taking a leading role in implementing strategies aimed at crop variety conservation and diversification, with the goal of strengthening local climate change adaptation capacities. That is the message conveyed in this gender brief by the Center for International Forestry Research. The brief begins by outlining the problem: political, social, economic, and environmental changes are putting pressure on farmers’ seed systems, systems in which women play a key role. However, these women are often overlooked by researchers and development personnel, policies, and programmes. This context is expanded upon, with the brief noting that every stage of local seed systems, from selection, to storage, production, distribution, and exchange, is under growing stress. Privatisation, rural to urban migration, a growing feminisation of agriculture, climate changes, and declining crop varieties are all significant contributors to the insecurity of women and local seed systems.
Two case studies are then concisely discussed to illustrate the central role women are playing in tackling these issues. Firstly, there is the story of Pema, who lives with her parents, husband, and daughter in Bhutan. Together with the rest of their village, Pema is trying to adapt to climate change through crop and rice diversification. The brief presents Pema’s own words as she describes the difficulties they have faced through the damage caused by wild boars, and the reduction of water due to drought. The second case study concerns crop and variety conservation in South Africa, where the initiation of a national community seed bank is supporting local smallholder communities in their efforts to revive and improve traditional seed-saving practices. One such community has women front and centre, in the form of the Gumbu village community seed bank, managed and operated by 40 women farmers.
04 Mar 2016 02:33:52 GMT
This document constitutes the Fifth National Report to the Convention prepared pursuant to decision x/10 of the Conference of the Parties. It was completed has been completed in parallel with the review and updating of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and focuses on developments towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets including addressing the concerns of climate change.
Despite its small size, Grenada possesses a relatively high degree of biodiversity which is essential to the provision of ecosystem goods and services. Looking through the lenses of forest biodiversity, freshwater biodiversity, coastal and marine biodiversity, the paper outlines the main threats and the attendant implications for livelihood.
26 Feb 2016 11:03:33 GMT
The National Greening Program (NGP) is a priority programme of the government of Philippines that aims to reduce poverty; promote food security, environmental stability, and biodiversity conservation; and enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation.
This policy note briefly reviews the performance so far of the NGP at the national and regional levels based on available data and information from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Commission on Audit, and from a recent study conducted by PIDS. The study concludes with some recommendations that can be done in the interim to improve the conduct of the NGP. These include raising the program`s replanting rate performance at the national, regional, and site levels; reporting on the survival rates of the planted seeds at all levels; and submitting a report of the expenditure side of the program`s implementation and holding a consequent audit at all levels to determine the efficiency of the program and promote transparency.
This document also discusses the newly commenced NGP impact assessment project being conducted by PIDS and other programme-related developments. This impact assessment should provide further recommendations for the implementation of the program in its closing years and the conduct of future reforestation programs.
14 Jan 2016 12:29:18 GMT
The objective of this analysis was to understand a baseline in 2007 of how well the system of protected areas represents Grenada’s biodiversity and what actions could be taken to ensure good representation of that biodiversity.
It reviews the gap between convention targets and the data from protected areas. It identified threats to the conservation occurrences were evaluated by the development of a “human footprint” derived from mapped human activities such as roads, development, agriculture, hotels, marinas, ports, population density, fishing intensity, and other extractive industries. The threats were mapped out based on their range of impact and intensity level. The range of impact was expressed by the distance from the activity that the particular activity would still have an impact on biodiversity.
14 Jan 2016 12:08:52 GMT
Grenada in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme commissioned the elaboration of the Fourth National Report to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in accordance with Article 26 of the Convention and COP Decision VIII/14 in 2007.
The Sustainable Development Council was used as the forum for engaging various stakeholders to examine the biodiversity; its status, trends, and threats, and the environmental sustainability of the island and their potential impacts on resilience.
Work of the report recommenced in 2009. The materials used as the basis for the report was public policy documentation published by the Government of Grenada with the intent to ensure sound environmental management is fully integrated into the national policy framework.
30 Dec 2015 01:21:26 GMT
The “Nature Index Costa Rica” (NI-CR) has been a one-year pilot project to demonstrate and promote the capacity-building objectives of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica (INBio) in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) have tested the Norwegian Nature Index methodology and IT platform on Costa Rican forest ecosystems, in a collaboration with a number experts from Costa Rican institutions specialized in biodiversity assessments.
The NI-CR pilot project has
23 Dec 2015 09:14:43 GMT
A new tool to assist developing countries in designing a “custom made” plant variety protection suitable for the seed and agricultural systems that prevail in developing countries has been published by an international group of NGOs. It was presented on the occasion of the Sixth Meeting of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in Rome, 5-9 October 2015.
Members of the World Trade Organization with the exception of least developed countries are required to make available some form of intellectual property protection for plant varieties. They have ample flexibility to design a sui generis (unique) system that is appropriate for their agricultural systems.
The 1991 Act of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991) offers a rigid model inappropriate for developing countries. It ignores the characteristics of the seed supply systems in those countries, where farmers produce a large part of the seeds and other propagating material, and limits farmers’ traditional practices of saving, exchanging and selling plant materials. These activities are crucial to preserving a diversified supply of seeds, adapted to local conditions and a changing environment as well as support farmers’ livelihoods.
UPOV 1991 requirements also undermine implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing.
Therefore the purpose of this tool is to present an alternative to UPOV 1991 taking into account the needs and realities of farmers in developing countries as well as alternative sui generis plant variety protection systems that exist in some developing countries. This tool is to support policy makers, civil society organisations and farmer organizations engaged in the development of a plant variety protection system.
Chapter 1 examines the origins of plant variety protection through intellectual property rights and UPOV. Chapter 2 elaborates on the requirements of the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that has flexibilities available to WTO members as well as the context and provisions of other international instruments relevant to plant genetic resources. These currently include the CBD, its Nagoya Protocol and the ITPGRFA. Chapter 3 discusses the key features of UPOV 1991 and its implications for developing countries.
Chapter 4 proposes model provisions for key features that are essential to designing a sui generis plant variety protection regime and these may be adapted to national circumstances. Chapter 5 addresses the obstacles that developing countries may face in designing sui generis plant variety protection legislation, arguments against and in favour of non-UPOV- type of sui generis regimes, and recommendations for actions to be taken when developing a national law.
22 Dec 2015 02:37:35 GMT
The Climate Adapted Villages model aims to make farmers and local communities capable of organizing themselves, identifying climate threats and practicing climate smart agriculture, enabling them to adapt to the current consequences of a changing climate. The model focuses on building capacity and expertise in local communities, so that they can manage their own recourses and implement measures for climate change adaptation, in a systematic and effective way. Communities gain a strong ownership to the activities, and the method can be transferred of other areas. Many countries want to do something on climate adaptation, but hesitate to allocate money directly to poor people in rural areas. However, more climate adaptation measures should take place where people are the most vulnerable, i.e among poor people in rural areas.
The main focus of the CAV model is promoting a collective management of community resources such as forests, water, energy, soils, plants and animal diversity. A key element in CAV is to ensure that communities themselves participate, and take center stage throughout the processes, from the climate vulnerability assessment to the planning and further implementation of the adaptation plan.
The CAV model contains three main stages. The first stage, to know, means to gather knowledge and to analyze the problems (climate vulnerability assessment). A second stage, to do, addresses the planning and design of adaptation measures and their implementation. The third stage, to sustain, addresses sustainability issues, which go beyond the project period. It is about maintaining and securing the projects’ achievements in the long-run.
15 Dec 2015 05:41:55 GMT
The project was designed and implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Tanzania Program to build capacity and knowledge for Tanzania to participate actively in REDD+ activities, with a focus on the montane forests of the Southern Highlands. The stated purpose of the project was “to design and carry out a robust baseline study to provide methods for estimating deforestation, carbon sequestration, emissions and leakage in southwest Tanzania’s four most important forests covering 52,680 hectares”. In addition to contributing to the development of tools and collection of data for carbon monitoring, the project also aimed to reach over 100,000 people through economic incentives and address the drivers of deforestation through education and woodlot establishment. According to the project document it was anticipated that the project would provide an estimate of the levels of emission reductions that could be expected should the target forests be included in a national level REDD+ initiative. The project covered forests and 40 communities within the existing long-term sites of WCS and included Mt Rungwe Nature Reserve, Mporoto Ridge Forest Reserve, Livingstone Forest within Kitulo National Park in Mbeya Region and Mbizi catchment forest reserve in Rukwa Region.
Final Review of REDD+ Pilot Projects in Tanzania Report No. 3.
26 Nov 2015 10:31:03 GMT
People's reactions to large carnivores take many forms, ranging from support and coexistence to resistance and conflict. While these reactions are the outcome of many different factors, in this paper we specifically explore the link between social constructions of landscapes and divergent responses to large carnivore presence. We compare case studies from four different landscapes shared by people and large carnivores, in India and Norway. We use social construction of landscapes as a key concept to explore responses to large carnivores in the context of ecological, economic, social, and cultural changes in these areas. Based on this comparison, we argue that the process of change is complex, with a plurality of responses from the groups affected by it. The response to large carnivore presence is influenced by many different factors, of which the interpretation of change-particularly landscape change-plays a significant role.
30 Oct 2015 07:44:14 GMT
Commissioned by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency the report provides an international review of the current situation in access and benefit sharing (ABS) related to genetic resources and the research needs in this field. The report concludes that even if an international ABS regime has been in place for more than 20 years, implementation at the national level has been slow both in terms of enacting access legislation and legislation to support compliance with access legislation. A fairly large amount of bioprospecting activities have been generated but - apparently - few with a commercial intent and thus with few examples and low amounts of monetary benefits. Research on ABS has mainly been theoretical and less research has been conducted on ABS in practice. Main research gaps are: 1) Actual and potential contribution of ABS to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; 2) ABS, equity and standard setting; 3) ABS beyond genetic resources; 4) Business approaches to ABS; 5) Mapping the value chain of genetic/biological material from its collection to an end product.
25 Aug 2015 02:18:47 GMT
As China’s development puts increasing pressure on the environment, various measures have been implemented both domestically and, increasingly, abroad in an attempt to limit the impact. China’s environmental engagement at an international level, including the agreement between the United States (US) President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to cut carbon emissions (12 November 2014), signals the growing urgency of the issue.
Within the context of the China-South Africa engagement, there are also signs of this shift. Two key areas where this is evident are in China’s growing role in conservation and the renewable energy sector. China’s domestic demand for wildlife goods has motivated the Chinese government to sign a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with African governments. In the renewable energy sector again, Africa’s energy needs and untapped capacity for electricity generation from renewable energy (RE) has created a vast potential market for global Chinese renewable energy firms. Both areas have become increasingly important topics within China-Africa relations, and feature on the Forum of China Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) agenda.
This policy brief examines the role of these two themes as a way of demonstrating some of the concrete ways in which China-Africa interaction is evolving in a world where sustainable development has become key.
co-operation between South Africa and China illustrates that agreements made need to be specific to the issue of concern. The second MoU in 2013 was particularly aimed at curbing the scourge of rhino poaching through co-operation in law enforcement, compliance with international conventions and other relevant legislation. Since the agreement, the Chinese government have been more co-operative. Thus, more African governments affected by the poaching crisis need to enter into detailed agreements on environmental conservation and illegal wildlife trade in order for effective regulation and law enforcement
FOCAC should be used as a platform to address the problem where African governments, especially South Africa, can set the agenda regarding illegal wildlife trade and put hard pressure on their Chinese counterparts by bringing poachers to book
South Africa is a lucrative market for Chinese RE companies, but the local RE industry requires more skills and technical (technological) knowledge if it is to truly become sustainable on the long-term. More should be done on a bi-lateral basis to formalise the transfer of skills and technical knowledge between South African and Chinese actors in the RE sector. Technology transfer should be more clearly articulated in any new FOCAC agreements as a priority in China-Africa co-operation
the South African RE case has shown that a combination of laws and the provision of market security can stimulate economic investment in which African economies can themselves move up the value chain. South Africa with its relatively strong administrative capacity should provide assistance to fellow African states to follow suit
11 Aug 2015 04:49:43 GMT
This paper argues that stakeholder groups – specifically indigenous and local communities living in or directly dependent upon forests – can often offer an important source of knowledge and capacity.
It highlights that these people can support data gathering for safeguard information needs, especially in places where existing monitoring systems cannot do so comprehensively. The paper argues that their involvement is important for protecting their rights, and critical for minimising the risk that REDD+, or the safeguards, could fail to meet their objectives.
It is argued that community information on a small number of indicators, consolidated at a national scale, can be useful for assessing the effectiveness of all of the safeguards. Information gathering by adequately trained communities can be as cost effective and accurate as professional information gathering, allowing decision-makers under budget and capacity constraints to build confidently on existing community-based information systems.
[Adapted from source]
03 Aug 2015 04:20:39 GMT
This paper reports on the documentation and assessment of different community based traditional and local forest and pasture management practices, drawn from five case examples in five districts of Nepal.
These cases cover aspects including evolution, innovations, and adaptation processes. Using field-based shared learning approaches, the paper explores the challenges and opportunities of integrating, synergising, and complementing indigenous practices with modern scientific knowledge and technologies.
Climate change, as the newest driver of deforestation, forest land degradation in Nepal, has been impacting forest ecosystem by fragmenting habitats, altering species composition, changing growing season, lowering biomass productivity, and increasing risks of fires and floods. The paper highlights that indigenous peoples and local communities have been coping with these changes by using their indigenous local knowledge, skills, and practices (ILKP) and making them more adaptive and resilient.
[Adapted from source]
07 Jul 2015 02:58:47 GMT
This report summarizes a set of bioclimatic indicators and the expected impacts of climate change on bioclimatic conditions in Central and South-Central Asia.
It is intended to provide a basis for understanding the potential impacts of climate change across Central and South-Central Asia and a knowledge base for the design and implementation of agroforestry practices, environmental conservation efforts, and sustainable development.
Under all scenarios, the spatial analysis indicates quick and drastic change in bioclimatic conditions in the near to medium term, and predicts significant and increasing biophysical and biological perturbation for biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services, and agricultural and pastoral production systems.
The major conclusion of the report is a necessity to recognize the central role of a rapidly changing climate and environment across central and south-central Asia, and the need to plan for adaptation within almost all aspects of sustainable development and conservation planning, efforts and policy.
[Adapted from source]
13 May 2015 09:35:09 GMT
This report presents results from the first field surveys for the five Thematic Areas – Biodiversity (Zoology and Botany), Human and Animal Health (HAH), Environmental Science, and Socio-ecology - that was conducted along the proposed Serengeti road in Serengeti and Ngorongoro Districts. The project area comprises five sections, four of which are within community areas and one inside Serengeti National Park. The study is part of the capacity building project under ‘Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ (IPBES) in Serengeti Ecosystem of Northern Tanzania.
The report highlights on background information to the study, objectives, research design and methodology, preliminary results, and important conclusions and predictions.
02 May 2015 07:19:54 GMT
This study examines local tribal knowledge regarding the ecology of the kori bustard (Ardeotis kori struthiunculus) and assessed threats to this species in Northern Serengeti communities. A picture of an indigenous kori bustard was presented to survey participants in villages in the study area. General knowledge on the kori bustard was tested in relation to the bird’s general habitat, nesting habitat, food and number of individuals in groups. Of the survey respondents, 56.7% knew the name of the kori bustard and were therefore included in further analyses. The Maasai tribe showed the greatest knowledge of the species, with 98% of individuals identifying the species correctly. Additionally, male survey participants were generally more knowledgeable than females. No differences among age groups or individuals with different education levels were found, suggesting that there is a local knowledge transfer of the species to all age groups regardless of educational level of respondents and that education is not an obstacle to the local knowledge. The study concludes that nature of activities e.g. nomadic and social life, gender and tribes were contributing factors to the knowledge of the kori bustard in the northern Serengeti.
13 Apr 2015 06:13:44 GMT
On behalf of UNEP-WCMC and the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway, Balakrishna Pisupati and Christian Prip have conducted an interim assessment of 25 national biodiversity strategies and action plans submitted after the adoption of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the "Aichi Targets" at CBD COP 10 in 2010. The review was commissioned as an activity in the UNEP project “Support to GEF eligible countries for achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 17 through a Globally Guided NBSAPs Update Process”, funded by the Global Environment Facility. The assessment undertakes a preliminary review of how countries have considered the Strategic Plan of the CBD and the readiness to achieve the Aichi Targets at national level. Although the assessment is based on a limited number of NBSAPs developed after 2010 (25), indications are that most NBSAPs use the Aichi Targets as an overall framework to set national targets and/or national priorities for action. However, as was the case for pre-2010 NBSAPs, issues of a cross-cutting nature beyond the direct drivers of biodiversity loss have received limited attention. This also applies to legal preparedness and resource mobilization for biodiversity. The assessment provides specific examples of national actions suggested in the revised NBSAPs, and a set of generic recommendations for countries that are still to finalize their NBSAPs. The interim assessment will be followed up by a more comprehensive assessment when a larger number of CBD Parties have submitted revised NBSAPs.
16 Mar 2015 04:06:19 GMT
This document summarizes current findings from an evaluation of Mexico’s National Payments for Hydrological Services from 2003-2010. Th evaluation seeks to understand the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the program, with the goal of extracting lessons learned and identifying room for possible future improvement.
Findings: an analysis of program selection criteria and the characteristics of lands enrolled suggests the program has met the dual goals of targeting funds to areas of ecological and social priority. Specifically:
One potential means of improving the ecological impact of the program would be to select properties with even higher risk of deforestation, as the average risk of deforestation among enrolled properties remains somewhat below the national average across all forested lands.
Two possible ways to do this would be to target further on the basis of multiple characteristics which determine avoided deforestation (in addition to INE’s risk numbers) or to raise the payment amounts.
03 Mar 2015 05:22:21 GMT
• Brazil has a Federal Constitution and consolidated legislation that provide for the protection of the environment, health and welfare of workers in rural areas.
• The large-scale agricultural export model used in Brazil, i.e. the state of Mato Grosso and particularly in the region where the soy exported to Norway is produced, has been causing severe social and environmental impacts.
• Although Norway is a relatively small player in the global soy market, it has been a leader in the effort to fight deforestation of tropical forests and ensuring good sustainability standards throughout global production chains.
• Denofa, through its Brazilian partner Amaggi, is responsible for most of the soybeans imported from Brazil to Norway; despite Denofa’s good efforts to maintain best sustainability standards throughout its production chain, important challenges still remain to be addressed.
• Openness and transparency of the entire supply chain are key elements to corporate social responsibility. Denofa possesses detailed information on suppliers and cargoes shipped from Brazil to Norway. However, the company has so far refused to disclose such information based on business sensitive reasons that are not entirely clear.
• Denofa relies on comprehensive certification schemes managed by Amaggi to ensure the highest possible sustainability standards in the soy production chain. However, there are certain limitations related to such certificate schemes that may jeopardize the traceability vis a vis the actual situation on the ground. Lack of autonomous third-party verification and full confidentiality clauses are limitations that represent a breach in standards of transparency.
• Interviews with local farmers during the field trip evidence that a departure from Brazilian laws and certification standards may exist in the following areas:
• Use and spraying of pesticides close to houses and villages, which even if compliant with local regulations, represent an unacceptable risk to the health of residents and workers in the areas where the soy exported to Norway is produced.
• Failure to comply with federal and state forest laws by suppliers;
• Concern that Denofa may be importing soy planted inside indigenous lands, in violation of the Constitution.
19 Feb 2015 03:44:24 GMT
In the wake of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), there is unprecedented attention on good Green Governance, which implies the development of resource efficient, rights based and effective domestic frameworks to regulate bioprospecting. India has been pioneering in this regard due to its ABS legislation in 2002 that long preceded the Nagoya Protocol. However much has changed since 2002 and while India has learnt a great deal from its ‘learning by doing’ method, there are valuable lessons that can be learnt from innovations in the ABS frameworks of other countries. The innovations of these countries are a great resource for National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) in India that is seeking to make the processing of the bioprospecting applications in India more optimal. The current paper highlights the challenges faced by the NBA in processing the high volumes of bioprospecting applications, analyses the reasons for such challenges and proposes solutions for the same.
17 Feb 2015 12:17:09 GMT
This book focuses on biodiversity work in the Asia-Pacific region. It presents results, stories and photographs on innovations in monitoring endangered species, creating protected areas and managing them better, adapting to climate change, improving community livelihoods and energy efficiency, and diversifying crops. It presents examples of work to conserve land, water and ocean resources that have taken place since 2000, linking biodiversity with five themes: home, food and water, work and money, health and security, and happiness and love. It argues that biodiversity is a vital component of the most basic concerns of our daily lives, wherever we are.
16 Feb 2015 11:06:23 GMT
Launched in 2009, Sankalp Forum, an Intellecap initiative, recognises and supports innovative, sustainable, high impact social enterprises. It builds an enabling ecosystem for early-stage social enterprises, channels impact investments, and engages over 11,000 stakeholders globally through collaborative year-round initiatives. It mobilises a community of entrepreneurs, investors, enablers and policy-makers to encourage innovation, facilitate scalability, and drive consensus on matters that aid social enterprise development.
Thus far, Sankalp Forum has focused its enterprise support and ecosystem building efforts largely on India, with some activities in South and South East Asia. It sees a tremendous opportunity for expanding its efforts to Sub Saharan Africa to grow local high impact small and medium enterprise (SME) ecosystems; and also build a knowledge and partnerships corridor between India and Sub Saharan African countries.
07 Feb 2015 11:50:15 GMT
Aquaculture has rapidly developed as a thriving business in many developing countries in response to dramatic increase in the demand for shrimp from United States, Japan and Europe. Shrimp farming and aquacultural activities are mostly carried out in coastal regions as they provide vast tracts of saline lands coupled with an abundant quantity of wild seeds.
National governments are supporting this activity in the belief that shrimp farming can generate significant foreign exchange earnings, and enhance the employment opportunities and incomes in poor, coastal communities. As a consequence hundreds of hectares of land have been brought under this venture. But this expansion has several effects on the land and water regimes and is postulated to lead to the degradation of the marine environment.
This paper examines the impact of export-driven increases in aquaculture production on biodiversity in the Indian Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Biodiversity indices for three representative sites for a ten-year period are set up. These indices are integrated into a cost function for aquaculture farming to examine the impact of the ‘ecological crop loss’ caused by increasing prawn seed collection from the wild on costs of the aquaculturist.
The study finds that within a translog cost function framework, the results on substitutability between inputs show that a land-intensive aquaculture expansion is indicated if biodiversity loss is to be averted. Furthermore, the existence of economies of scale in aquaculture production points towards the economic viability of such an approach. Other policy options such as a hatchery technology for seed production are less cost effective, while requiring at the same time, complementary measures to provide livelihoods to the large number of people engaged in prawn seed collection.
06 Feb 2015 05:42:16 GMT
Between 2007 and 2011, the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and the Centre for Ecological Sciences of the Indian Institute of Science received funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy (New Delhi) for a large project on Human-Wildlife Conflicts. The wider project involved many partners on both the Norwegian and Indian sides, and attracted co-funding from a diversity of other sources including the Research Council of Norway. Among the many sub-projects that were initiated it was the leopard studies that led to the closest and most productive cooperation between Norwegian and Indian researchers. This cooperation is ongoing even now, three years after the end of the original project. The leopard study had a great deal of focus on communication and outreach – and this booklet represents just one of these products. It is based on a translation from the original written in Marathi with additional sections added for a wider audience. The booklet is an attempt to provide insights into the process of conducting research as much as the results obtained. When people from diverse cultural backgrounds meet in rural India in the process of studying leopards some very bizarre situations can arise.
06 Feb 2015 05:21:46 GMT
The Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest and most biodiverse, represents a global public good of which 15 percent has already been lost. The worldwide value of preserving the remaining forest is today unknown. A “Delphi” exercise was conducted involving more than 200 environmental valuation experts from 36 countries, who were asked to predict the outcome of a survey to elicit willingness to pay for Amazon forest preservation among their own countries’ populations. Expert judgments of average willingness-to-pay levels, per household per year, to fund a plan to protect all of the current Amazon rainforest up to 2050, range from $4 to $36 in 12 Asian countries, to near $100 in Canada, Germany, and Norway, with other high-income countries in between. Somewhat lower willingness-to-pay values were found for a less strict plan that allows a 12 percent further rainforest area reduction. The elasticity of experts’ willingness-to-pay assessments with respect to own-country per capita income is slightly below but not significantly different from unity when results are pooled across countries and income is adjusted for purchasing power parity.
05 Feb 2015 03:16:09 GMT
This publication contains guidelines for undertaking rapid biodiversity assessments the Pacific island countries and territories of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. It highlights that survey methodologies and systems selected as part of the guidelines should: Take account of the IUCN Red List status of species, enable the identification of priority habitats or areas based on those species and enable the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and/or other ecological significant areas. Also to address the identification of threats posed by invasive plants and fauna, take account of climate change implications, address approaches for the assessment of both marine and terrestrial ecosystem resilience and vulnerability and involve local communities in all aspects of the BIORAP.
30 Jan 2015 01:36:00 GMT
This policy brief reviews, reflects and discusses the challenges from the perspectives of technological, organisational, institutional, regulatory, and policy frameworks within the variety development-seed production-seed use continuum. The brief proposes recommendations that can be pursued to further enhance the efficiency of the seed systems especially in supporting regional seed marketing and ensuring that women as “natural custodians of seed” benefit from the improved systems.
Governments and sub regional organisations such as Southern African Development Community (SADC) have to create an enabling policy and regulatory framework to improve the efficiency of the national seed systems and create diverse forms of delivery systems. These systems include the formal, public and private seed sector, and new innovative informal approaches that involve farmer groups (associations, cooperatives), individual seed producers and NGOs operating in a particular country.
27 Jan 2015 06:12:03 GMT
The Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region is one of the most ecologically sensitive and fragile areas in the world. In all likelihood, the effects of climate change will become evident here first and with the greatest intensity. This report synthesises the present knowledge about the consequences that climate change could have for the region. This thorough review of the existing literature, based on over 360 references, was prepared in consultation with more than 80 leading experts from the region and abroad. To identify and bridge gaps in climate change related knowledge for the HKH, leading experts in climatology, hydrology, environmental science, and other climate-related fields from across and beyond the region gathered at an Authors’ Workshop in Kathmandu on 18 and 19 August 2011. The workshop presentations and discussions form the backbone of this report, fleshed out with additional literature. Rigorous review sought to ensure a thorough and relevant report. The report captures the cutting-edge knowledge from the region in three major areas: climate and hydrology; biodiversity and ecosystems; and atmospheric changes. It also indicates gaps in knowledge and shows a way forward for systematic data acquisition and data sharing in the areas of biophysical observation, socioeconomic analysis, and policy research. This report not only should be of interest to planners and policy makers in the region, but should also provide vital inputs into global climate change negotiations.
27 Jan 2015 03:51:33 GMT
The Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) spreads across a vast region that includes remote portions of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China (TAR China) and contiguous areas of Nepal and India. This area is historically, ecologically, and culturally interconnected; it is the source of four of Asia’s most important rivers, and at the heart of this landscape is the sacred Mount Kailash, revered by millions of people in Asia and throughout the world. The region and its people are highly vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation, as well as threats associated with ongoing globalisation processes and accelerating development. The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation Initiative (KSLCI) is an attempt on the part of the three neighbouring countries to join hands to help preserve the unique biological diversity, the many ecosystem goods and services, and the value-based cultural heritage of one of the most revered and sacred landscapes in the world. The present report is a summarised synthesis of three individual Country Feasibility Assessment Reports, based on extensive field work and consultations aimed at delineating the target landscape and preparing a needs analysis for the KSL in general, and the KSLCI in particular.
27 Jan 2015 03:15:43 GMT
This publication presents six case studies on gender aspects of biodiversity conservation and management. They address conservation issues related to women's practices in: shifting cultivation (Bangladesh); use of wild yam (Bhutan); yeast production (Bhutan); in situ agrobiodiversity conservation (India); kinema making practices from soybean (India); and community forestry leadership (Nepal). The study contributes policy and research recommendations for promoting and improving gender-sensitive and -inclusive biodiversity conservation and management practices in complex mountain contexts. It will be useful for development practitioners, researchers, policy makers, development planners, and civil society organizations working on sustainable and equitable natural resources management in the greater Himalayan region.
The paper highlights that women have a critical role in maintaining and sustaining local-level biodiversity resources and hold extensive knowledge of crops and wild plants, agricultural practices, local species, and the genetic management of plants and animals. However, analysis of the gender dimensions of biodiversity management in mountain ecosystems is still emerging as an area of research.
26 Jan 2015 05:26:14 GMT
This publication gives a brief overview of the regional consultation facilitated by ICIMOD and the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, Myanmar, to improve collaboration between China, India, and Myanmar in the Brahmaputra-Salween Landscape. The paper gives highlights of the consultation and technical sessions held in December in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, and lists past efforts made for regional collaboration in the Brahmaputra-Salween Landscape. It also gives a brief account of updates on the landscape from China, India, and Myanmar and a regional synthesis of the pre-feasibility assessments prepared by each country. More detailed highlights from the pre-feasibility studies, which describe the landscape, the importance of the initiative, and steps taken to adopt the transboundary approach to ecosystem management in the area, as well as the result of the consultation – a draft programme framework for transboundary collaboration in the area – are appended as annexes.
26 Jan 2015 05:15:00 GMT
This publication presents 15 case studies solicited by ICIMOD during the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. The case studies document mountain biodiversity initiatives implemented in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, ranging from the protection and conservation of endangered species (such as the snow leopard, Acer pentaphyllum, and Himalayan golden mahseer) to integrated approaches to conservation, transboundary and otherwise, that link livelihoods with the sustainable use of biodiversity resources. While virtually all mountain biodiversity initiatives documented in this publication emphasize community involvement, a few have also leveraged local institutions and indigenous knowledge systems, integrating them with scientific knowledge to find a way forward. Most case studies capture good practices that can be replicated and scaled up, as well as lessons learned, thereby contributing to the Programme of Work on Mountain Biodiversity adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
26 Jan 2015 05:07:02 GMT
This publication gives a brief overview of the regional consultation facilitated by ICIMOD to improve collaboration between China and Pakistan in the Karakoram-Pamir Landscape. The paper gives highlights of the consultation held in December in Kathmandu, Nepal and lists past efforts made for regional collaboration in the Karakoram-Pamir Landscape. It also gives an account of the sharing of the process document which describes the landscape and the importance of the transboundary approach to ecosystem management in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.
26 Jan 2015 04:45:34 GMT
This collection of simple drawings is designed to raise the awareness of rural mountain people and help them better understand the various changes and opportunities in their landscape. Rural mountain communities are highly vulnerable to the changes occurring in their landscape due to climatic and other factors (including demographic changes and migration).
The first part looks at the changes and challenges in the landscape, such as impacts of climate change and unsustainable practices. The second part introduces solutions for better management and use of natural resources and introduces the concept and importance of collaborating across borders in natural resource management and conservation.
The publication was created within the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation Initiative (KSLCI) and is intended in particular for communities living within the Kailash Sacred Landscape. However, its messages could be useful to mountain communities in a much wider context.
22 Jan 2015 04:56:56 GMT
The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI) is a collaborative effort of the three neighbouring countries in Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) to help preserve the unique biological diversity, the many ecosystem goods and services, and the value-based cultural heritage of one of the most revered and sacred landscapes in the world. This report is a synthesis of proposed activities based on a wide consultative process and national programme implementation plans submitted by partner institutions from each country. The Regional Programme Implementation Plan has been prepared for the five-year period 2012-2016 and describes how various programme elements will be implemented and executed in the KSL on a regional scale.
The KSL spreads across a vast region that includes remote portions of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and contiguous areas of Nepal and India. This area is historically, ecologically, and culturally interconnected; it is the source of four of Asia's most important rivers. At the heart of this landscape is the sacred Mount Kailash, revered by millions of people in Asia and throughout the world. The region and its people are highly vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation, as well as threats associated with ongoing globalization processes and accelerating development.