Biodiversity in European Development Cooperation Conference
19-21 September 2006 | Paris, France

IISD's Summary



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Web coverage:
Tuesday, 19 September - Wednesday, 20 September - Thursday, 21 September

The outcomes of the workshops

Ecosystem services contributions to the MDGs – building assets for rural poverty reduction: Emile Frison, IPGRI, summarized discussions on ways to integrate the development and conservation sectors, stressing that the MDGs cannot be achieved without renewed focus on rural development.

Highlighting general recommendations, he stressed the need to:

strengthen policies and institutions that support the formal recognition of rural people’s rights to manage natural resources and benefit from them;

improve data collected by national household budget surveys to capture the value of on-farm and off-farm biodiversity use, in order to inform national-level economic planning cycles;

utilize genetic, species and ecosystem diversity as an asset for rural poverty reduction by enhancing its contribution to poor people’s strategies to minimize risk, improve food security, nutrition and health, and increase resilience.

He also noted that by getting people out of extreme poverty, investing in sustainable rural development in developing countries can help the EU address major policy issues such as migration and security. 

He highlighted the following recommendations, directed specifically at the EU:

systematically seek inputs and opinions from civil society as well as government viewpoints in order to set country-level aid priorities;

support the development of valuation tools for biological assets at community and macroeconomic levels, and incorporate the output of biological assets valuations in country strategy papers;

support participatory research on enhancing productivity in agricultural systems while improving their resilience through the deployment of greater genetic-, species- and landscape-level diversity, through existing funding mechanisms such as the EDF, the budget line on food security and through the seventh EC research framework; and

aim for greater policy coherence among its development aid, agricultural, economic, fisheries, migration and security policies.

Frison said the group further recommended the conservation community to:

pay more attention to the components of biodiversity that underpin production systems and design conservation interventions, including sustainable use, accordingly; and

form partnerships with research and development organizations in order to develop and test economic valuation tools and empower key stakeholders to use these.

He said national governments were suggested to:

direct their national statistics agencies to collect data on the value of on-farm and off-farm biodiversity use, and use this information in national economic planning; and

give higher priority in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers to investments in pro-poor rural development that minimize risk, improve food security, nutrition and health, and increase resilience.

Ecosystem services in national development and poverty reduction strategies: Olav Kjørven, UNDP, presented the recommendations of the workshop participants, namely that the integration of environment into poverty reduction and development be supported, through inter alia:

improved information systems and knowledge management about the links between environment and development, accessible at all levels;

greater support to approaches, experiences and tools that work;

greater recognition of the value of integrating environment and development at the local level, while also working to better integrate the environment in macroeconomic and fiscal policy at all appropriate levels;

more friendly administrative rules and procedures of the EC and EU countries; and

greater engagement from international and national development NGOs and the conservation community.

Challenges for present aid modalities: Johanna Philipps, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), highlighted workshop participants’ recommendations to the EU to, inter alia:

complete the implementation manual by the end of 2006;

recognize the cost of mainstreaming biodiversity;

increase and improve internal environmental capacity;

systematically mainstream ecosystem services and biodiversity issues in support to productive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, tourism, transport, and infrastructure, including through the use of strategic environmental assessments;

make country environmental profiles public and available;

strengthen reporting and tracking mechanisms for biodiversity;

develop indicators framework for the EC to monitor its own progress, from the country level to Brussels; and

support partner countries to develop quantifiable indicators to monitor environmental conditions and ensure full integration with existing national economic and social indicators to inform national and sectoral policy planning.

She said workshop participants also called on:

partner countries to appropriate country environmental profiles to help raise the profile of environmental and biodiversity issues and opportunities;

donors to enhance coherence of their activities at all levels; and

NGOs and donors to support the effective participation in policy and planning at relevant level of local communities whose livelihoods depend on biodiversity.

Communication and education: Michael Ginguld, World Education, said this workshop aimed to improve the role of communications and education in promoting environmental considerations in development cooperation programmes. He highlighted the group’s recommendations, including the need to:

apply communication and learning approaches to remove the barriers between the environment, development and other sectors; and

provide greater attention to capacity building and learning of young people, stakeholders and professionals to increase their capacity to deliver on sustainable development over the long term.

He said the EU was recommended to:

stimulate the creation of and support for multi-stakeholder platforms for dialogue and collaborative action in partnership between the development and environment community at various levels; and

support individual and institutional capacity building for sustainable development, and support the integration of biodiversity conservation and environmental awareness into relevant education and training.

Innovative financial mechanisms: Hans Friedrich, Head, Conservation Finance and Donor Relations, IUCN, noted the workshop’s call for sustainable, innovative financing, stressing that a larger share of existing financing should be directed towards environmental and biodiversity objectives.

Among recommendations, he highlighted the need to:

promote the creation of environmental funds where possible, and explore the possibilities for ODA contributing to them;

mainstream environment in development cooperation, taking into account the other policy issues such as agriculture, trade, and fisheries, and make the connections between poverty reduction and conservation; and

promote market-based instruments, and create successful public-private partnerships where recipient governments, ODA and business find synergy and opportunities for collaboration.

Trade and Economic Cooperation: Alain Lipietz, European Parliament, summarized discussions on the various impacts of trade on biodiversity, and how to manage these, stressing the need to ensure coherence between trade, economic and development cooperation in support of sustainable development. He called for a clear division of responsibilities, noting that trade regulations are ineffective if there are loopholes and if enforcement is lacking.

On participation, capacities and information, he said the group had stressed that:

biodiversity can only be defended with active social participation;

national capacity building is needed to promote sustainable development through trade; and

international trade can put excessive pressure on living resources or induce ecosystem change. Trade agreements must therefore be preceded and accompanied by integrated assessments and be compatible with the CBD.

On protecting and valuing biodiversity in trade, he said:

measures to protect biodiversity, such as quotas or prohibitions, must be accompanied by legal measures to ensure their enforcement;

certification should not be optional, and the public should be informed and involved in the standard-setting process;

all subsidies that encourage production harmful to biodiversity should be eliminated;

the non-market value of biodiversity should be recognized and eco-compatible uses, such as ecotourism, carbon sequestration, and community intellectual property rights, should be promoted; and

global or inter-regional trade agreements should promote high environmental and social standards and avoid unfair competition.

Governance and stakeholder engagement: Juan Marco Alvarez, Salva Natura- El Salvador, stated that the workshop had recommended the EU:

invest in research in clarifying stakeholders roles and institutionalize these roles;

invest in expanding and strengthening the civil society in partner countries for them to be an equal partner;

demonstrate leadership in developing a better understanding of the causes of failures of the ‘aid promise’, develop clear and transparent rules for the allocation and use of development funds, and ensure necessary institutional capacity at both ends;

provide the leadership and means for partner countries to create a level playing field for business to be an effective partner in delivering conservation;

invest in strengthening civil society’s understanding of business to enhance the prospects for public-private partnerships;

allocate part of its development aid in each region or country into a fund that civil society and governments can draw on to leverage additional funding for conservation and sustainable development from the private sector and other sources; and

use and strengthen indigenous knowledge.

Overseas countries and territories: Willem Ferwerda, IUCN Netherlands Committee, said the workshop concluded that:

the EC and its Member States should increase their efforts to assume their special responsibilities towards OCTs;

OCTs harbor a significant amount of the world’s biodiversity, and are of global importance in terms of the ecosystem services they provide, particularly in mitigating the effects of climate change;

there is a dramatic lack of proper EU funding and strategy, while OCTs also lack access to global funds; and

OCTs provide a huge potential added value for research and action on climate change and biodiversity.

He said recommendations to the EC and Member States include to:

develop a coherent framework for environment in OCTs, aiming among others at a sustainable management of important biodiversity areas, and also allowing joint efforts with Outermost Regions (ORs) as they are the entities with the most similar stakes within the EU;

ensure that adequate funding is given to environment and biodiversity in the OCTs, including improved access to European programmes for local bodies and NGOs in coordination with the local authorities, and an outsourced small grants facility;

develop joint research programmes focusing on the biodiversity of OCTs and ORs, and also strengthen joint efforts with regional partner countries; and

strengthen both the OCTs and the EU positions in the international debate on climate change, by making use of the worldwide and diverse network of OCTs and ORs to evaluate the interactions between ecosystems, climate change and local communities.

Among recommendations, he highlighted the need to:

develop a coherent EU policy framework regarding OCTs biodiversity management;

ensure that adequate funding is dedicated to environment and biodiversity in OCTs, including through improved access to EU programmes, and through an outsourced small grants facility;

develop joint research programmes focusing on the biodiversity of OCTs and strengthening joint research efforts with regional partner countries; and

strengthen the OCTs’ and European position in the international debate on climate change, making use of the worldwide network of OCTs to evaluate the interactions between ecosystems, climate change, and local communities.

Discussion focused on methods of implementing the recommendations, such as Strategic Environment Assessments (SEAs), coordination of work among NGOs, governments and indigenous peoples, protected areas, and proposals that emphasize specific actions on biodiversity, not just the environment.

Web coverage:
Tuesday, 19 September - Wednesday, 20 September - Thursday, 21 September
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