What on Earth is BIODIVERSITY?

For millennia, mankind's use of biodiversity and ecosystem services has contributed to human well being and economic development.

Contributing to poverty reduction and development

 

Biodiversity is crucial to the reduction of poverty, due to the basic goods and ecosystem services it provides. They include the provision of food, fiber and medicine, soil formation, air quality and climate regulation, the regulation of water supply and quality and the cultural and aesthetic value of certain plants and species.

Biodiversity is also integral to key development sectors such as agriculture and livestock, forestry, and fishing or tourism. More than 1.3 billion people depend on biodiversity and on basic ecosystems goods and services for their livelihoods (availability of usable land, water, plant and animal species).
For millennia, mankind’s use of biodiversity and ecosystem services has contributed to human well being and economic development.

The aims of development do not stop at poverty reduction; environmental sustainability is also a fundamental development objective. Biodiversity and development are closely linked: biodiversity sustains development, and development has an impact on biodiversity, either positive or negative. Although biodiversity does not contribute directly to all sectors of development, sustainable development cannot be achieved if biodiversity is compromised by development efforts.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) fully integrate the 2010 Biodiversity Target set in 2002 by the Convention on Biological Diversity to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss. Even if goal 7 is most specifically focused on biodiversity related issues, biodiversity is important to the achievement of all eight MDG goals, and is essential to the fulfillment of this international commitment by the year 2015.

Since the poor are particularly dependent on the goods and services supplied by biodiversity, development strategies that ignore their protection undermine poverty alleviation and are therefore counterproductive. For this reason, it is crucial for development and poverty alleviation strategies and programs to prioritize biodiversity.

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