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The ocean and us: how healthy marine and coastal ecosystems support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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.

Mesophotic coral ecosystems - a lifeboat for coral reefs?

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.

Climate change threatens Hawaiian forest birds

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.

With the arrival of humans came the clearing of forests and the introduction of non-native species and their diseases. More than 40 mosquito species have been intercepted in Hawai‘i, and six have become established, most recently in 2004.
As global warming raises air temperatures, their seasonal high elevation refuge will shrink and eventually disappear. It is likely that the spread of mosquitoes and avian malaria (as well as avian pox) into the high elevations of Hawai'i will eventually lead to the extinct ion of many, perhaps all, of the honeycreepers that currently survive in these areas.
Unfortunately, the rate of warming in Hawai‘i may not give these birds enough time to develop resistance. Without human assistance, global warming combined with avian malaria may overwhelm Hawai'i honeycreepers and other forest bird species.

CITES alone cannot combat illegal wildlife trade

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 states’ 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.

The 2016 World Conservation Congress: exploring a win–win agenda for people and the planet

09 Sep 2016 02:48:52 GMT

The World Conservation Congress (WCC), one of the world’s largest environmental gatherings, is convened every four years under the auspices of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to find collaborative solutions to conserve global biodiversity and ecosystems, and harness the solutions nature offers to global development challenges.

The WCC convenes in Honolulu, Hawai’i from 1–10 September 2016. The congress will include the IUCN’s 1 300 member organisations from across 161 countries, all seeking to develop the conservation and governance responses necessary to tackle the drivers of biodiversity loss. At the WCC, IUCN members representing government, the private sector and civil society will vote on motions and resolutions that lay out the global conservation agenda for the next four years. The 100 proposed motions are aligned with the overarching objectives of valuing and conserving nature, ensuring the effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development.
  • the IUCN, and its 2017-2020 Programme, must support the overarching objectives of the post-2015 UN development agenda and seek to establish an international framework for ecosystem-based climate action
  • African stakeholders must call for clearly identified roles and responsibilities, and associated action plans, to enhance the ownership of resolutions and support their implementation
  • African members must ensure consolidated voting positions, aligned with rigorous scientific data, which highlight the continent’s most important and vulnerable ecosystems and biodiversity

Global climate change impacts on Pacific Islands terrestrial biodiversity: a review

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.

The State of Biodiversity in Latin America and the Caribbean: a mid-term review of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets

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:

  • declines in species abundance and high risks of species extinctions continue
  • rates of habitat loss in Latin America and the Caribbean have slowed but remain high
  • certain pressures associated with rapid economic growth and social inequities are impacting the region’s natural resources
  • agricultural expansion and intensification to increase both livestock, arable and commodities production continue
  • the region is undergoing major infrastructure development of dams and roads
  • the impacts on biodiversity of high concentrations of population in urban areas are particularly significant within the region
  • country economies within the region are very highly dependent on natural resources
  • resource extraction for minerals and hydrocarbons has, in some cases, led to locally devastating direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity such as vegetation removal, water and soil pollution and contamination
  • transboundary and local air pollution is now recognised as an environmental factor in human health in the region
  • climate change induced impacts on coral reefs and montane habitats within the region are now being observed

The State of Biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific: a mid-term review of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets

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:

  • the exceptional biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific continues to decline
  • combinations of human-induced factors are a key driver of biodiversity loss
  • Asia and the Pacific continue to experience deforestation and forest degradation
  • rapid growth in demand for wildlife products is fuelling unsustainable trade, with impacts inside and outside of the region
  • invasive alien species create particular pressures on the oceanic islands
  • marine ecosystems are vulnerable to growth in commercial and artisanal fisheries
  • te negative impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems are exacerbating the effects of other pressures on Asia and the Pacific’s biodiversity

The State of Biodiversity in West Asia: a mid-term review of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets

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 Plan’s 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:

  • available biodiversity and ecosystem service information for the region is limited, which has made the reporting task challenging, and in many cases data are too poor and fragmentary to allow robust conclusions
  • the major drivers of biodiversity decline have seen a rapid increase, including urban expansion, the spread of intensive agricultural systems and cultivation of marginal land resulting from considerable population growth. Such changes necessitate reliance on resources imported from elsewhere in the world, meaning that West Asia’s ecological footprint is growing sharply and now exceeds the global average
  • the volatile political situation in parts of the region means  conservation work has been unable to proceed in the countries or areas experiencing significant internal and international conflicts and political instability in recent years
  • protected areas networks in West Asia are limited in both coverage and management effectiveness
  • wildlife crime linked to hunting is a continuing problem with ineffective enforcement of regulations and legislation
  • water scarcity, driven by rapidly rising demand, is threatening the survival of the region’s wetland habitats
  • multiple anthropogenic and climatic pressures are interacting to threaten the integrity of marine ecosystems
  • the region is likely to be one of the hardest hit by the direct and indirect impacts of climate change such as sea level rise, sea temperature rise, increasing water scarcity and ground water salinity, and desertification

The State of Biodiversity in Africa: a mid-term review of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets

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.

The key messages about the state of biodiversity in Africa, and the pressures upon it, which have emerged from this assessment are:
  • overall, biodiversity in Africa continues to decline, with ongoing losses of species and habitats
  • ongoing loss of biodiversity in Africa is driven by a combination of human-induced factors
  • Africa’s freshwater ecosystems and their biodiversity are especially threatened
  • Africa continues to experience deforestation and forest degradation
  • the negative impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems are exacerbating the effects of all these pressures
  • nonetheless the report identifies a number of important responses which have taken place since 2011
  • African countries are working collaboratively to address particular Aichi Biodiversity Targets
  • there is a growing portfolio of international support for African countries to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets
  • African countries are using ecosystem service valuation and investment in REDD+ to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets
  • many African countries have already achieved their 17% terrestrial protected area targets, and many others are working towards this target on land, as well as on the 10% marine protected areas target on the sea
  • Africa is making increasing use of ecosystem-based conservation and restoration of natural resources

Seeing through fishers' lenses: Exploring marine ecological changes within Mafia Island Merine Park, Tanzania

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.

Dry-season greening of Amazon forests

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]

Spotlight on publications: Brazil’s ethanol programme

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.

Traditional gender roles of men and women in natural resource conservation among the vhavenda people in Zimbabwe: implications for sustainable development

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.


Seeds of adaptation: climate change, crop diversification, and the role of women farmers

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.


Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biodiversity: Grenada

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.

The National Greening Program: hope for our balding forests

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.

Grenada national protected areas GAP assessment

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.

Fourth national report of Grenada to the convention on biological diversity

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.

Nature Index Costa Rica: an IPBES pilot project

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

  • demonstrated the relevance of the Nature Index for IPBES as a platform for international collaboration and mutual capacity-building in biodiversity assessment.
  • shown  that  the Nature Index methodology  and  IT-platform  are a  tool for “gap  analysis“ in biodiversity monitoring information in support of conservation area management.
  • shown the potential of Nature  Index methodology to  strengthen sustainability  indicators reporting and natural capital accounting in Costa Rica.
  • illustrated the Nature Index platform’s relevance for CBD national data clearinghouse.
  • demonstrated  the potential  of  the Nature  Index to  coordinate  national data  and  institutions across conservation sectors,  in particular the potential to fill gaps in national level biodiversity safeguards reporting of REDD+.
  • identified a number of limitations, solutions, and opportunities in the current NI methodology which would facilitate scaling up of the pilot project findings to full implementation at national level and improve future transfer of NI to other countries.

Plant variety protection in developing countries: A tool for designing a Sui Generis plant variety protection system: An alternative to UPOV 1991

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.

Climate adapted vilages. The Development Fund's model for local climate adaptation. Honduras

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.

Final review of the project "REDD+ Readiness in south west Tanzania" implemented by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Tanzania Program

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.

Locating human-wildlife interactions: Landscape constructions and responses to large carnivore conservation in India and Norway

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.

Access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing from their use (ABS) – state of implementation and research gaps

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.

Preparing for FOCAC VI: China - South Africa co-operation in conservation and renewable energy

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


Demonstrating 'respect' for the UNFCCC REDD+ safeguards: the importance of community-collected information

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]

Integrating indigenous, local and modern knowledge for sustainable conservation and management of forest ecosystems in Nepal

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]

Projected climate change and impact on bioclimatic conditions in Central and South-Central Asia

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]

The dynamics of large infrastructure development in conservation of the Serengeti Ecosystem - the case study of a road through Serengeti National Park. Phase 1 report.

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.

Factors affecting local ecological knowledge and perceived threats to the kori bustard (Ardeotis kori struthiunculus) in the Serengeti Ecosystem, Northern Tanzania

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.

Interim assessment of revised National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPS)

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.

Environmental and socioeconomic impacts of Mexico's payments for ecosystem services program

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:

  • on average, land enrolled over all years between 2004 and 2010 had similar risk of deforestation, higher hydrological priority and similar degree of marginality to all forested lands in the country. That is to say, land which was enrolled was broadly representative of available land
  • looking at the evolution of the program over time, targeting to high deforestation risk and more marginalized areas has improved substantially between 2004 and 2010 due to changes in the program rules and the eligible zones resulting in the selection of higher risk and more poor recipients from within the applicant pool.

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.

From Brazilian fields to Norwegian farms

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.

Beyond the thumrule approach: regulatory Innovations for bioprospecting in India

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.

Biodiversity for sustainable development: delivering results for Asia and the Pacific

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.

Sankalp Forum: preliminary report

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.

Internalising the Cost of Biodiversity loss using Translog Cost Function - wp276.pdf

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.

Waghoba tales: Adventures in leopard land

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.

A “Delphi Exercise” as a tool in Amazon Rainforest valuation

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.

Guidelines for undertaking rapid biodiversity assessments in terrestrial and marine environments in the Pacific

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.

Seeds without borders

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.

Climate change in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas: The state of current knowledge

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.

Kailash sacred landscape conservation initiative – Feasibility assessment report

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.

Gender and biodiversity management in the greater Himalayas: Towards equitable mountain development

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.

Towards developing the Brahmaputra-Salween Landscape – Report on the experts regional consultation for transboundary biodiversity management and climate change adaptation

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.

Mountain biodiversity conservation and management: Selected examples of good practices and lessons learned from the Hindu Kush Himalayan region

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.

Towards developing the Karakoram-Pamir Landscape – Report of the regional consultation to develop future strategic programme for biodiversity management and climate change adaptation

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.

Caring for our transboundary landscape: Illustrations from the Kailash Sacred Landscape

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.

Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative: Regional Programme Implementation Plan 2012–2016

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.