Home > MEA Bulletin > List of Guest Articles > Guest Article No. 108b
MEA Bulletin - Guest Article No. 108b - Friday, 28 January 2011
Biodiversity, Adaptation, Food Security – Learning from the Field
By Balakrishna Pisupati, Chief, Biodiversity, Land Law and Governance Unit, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, UN Environment Programme
When the study titled “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) was launched during the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, one of the critical questions that it addressed was how to translate the value of biodiversity (read natural capital), as elaborated in the report, into actual values that could benefit communities and countries. Co-benefits, multiple benefits and synergies currently form the basis of development and economic discourses in preparation for better governance of natural resources and environmental management, and are becoming a focus for lessons in preparation for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) meeting in 2012.

Given the interest in this topic, there is an increasing need to find solutions at different levels to maximize investments as well be benefits from such investments in conservation and development action. In addition to looking at global policy guidance on how to achieve these benefits, one also needs to look to projects on the ground for answers to how communities are realizing benefits through their local action. UNEP focused on identifying such success stories, examining where communities have worked on multiple actions to deal with conservation of biodiversity, dealing with adaptation to climate change along with securing food and livelihoods, through a publication titled Connecting the Dots: Biodiversity, Adaptation, Food Security and Livelihoods. The publication was launched during CBD COP 10  (full report can be downloaded at ).  

The key messages from the study that form the core of the report include:

Community based initiatives achieved many co-benefits because of the nature of interventions adopted by the communities, although several of these projects were not designed to deliver on co/multiple benefits;
The level of local participation in designing the interventions and subsequent implementation was high in the thirteen case studies presented in the report where policy followed practice;
Almost all of the projects analyzed presented many policy level options to deal with synergies, mainstreaming and achieving multiple benefits for conservation, adaptation, food security and poverty reduction;
The sustainability of actions have been high since many of the initiatives were integrated into local decision making processes and action programmes; and
Global policy making has many lessons to learn through the analysis of these case studies for better development and governance planning.

The case studies presented in the report also allude to the fact that developing policies on conservation, environmental management, governance and development are phase ‘zero’ of a multi-phase approach to securing human well-being. Implementation options need to be the mirror in front of policy making to secure co/multiple benefits.

For more information: Balakrishna Pisupati, Chief, Biodiversity, Land Law and Governance Unit, UNEP-DELC.
| Back to IISD RS “Linkages” home | Visit IISDnet | Send e-mail to IISD RS |
© 2011, IISD. All rights reserved.