Countries often face situations where biodiversity is not positioned on the national agenda and, in that scenario, developing financial mechanisms or mobilizing resources will be much more difficult than when biodiversity is in the mainstream of the country. Safeguarding diverse ecosystems ensures invaluable services essential for sustainable development and improvements in human wellbeing.
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The Northwest Province, which is one of the ten administrative units of Cameroon, has a population of almost two million people. It is located in the western highlands and characterized by high altitudes ranging from 1,000- 1,008 meters above sea level. Unsustainable agricultural land use practices, such as traditional slash and burn, are increasing the destruction of natural resources and resulting in heightened poverty, worsened gender equality and human suffering.
This best practice showcases how Cameroon’s efforts to harmonize biodiversity-related Multilateral Environmental Agreement’s (MEAs) led to the creation of targets in the country’s revised National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan (NBSAP) that recognize illegal commercial trade of wildlife and plant species as a pressure on biodiversity. The Cameroon NBSAP 2014-2020 calls for several actions that promote synergy and collaboration.
In Cusco, Peru, although there have been initiatives in establishing protected areas (currently 11% of the territory is protected), many fragile ecosystems are yet to be protected. However, many conservation initiatives have been undertaken by players that are not aware of the efforts by other players in many cases undermining the whole cause of nature conservation by creating conflicts.
Researchers and practitioners have extensively discussed the potential of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) strategies to help or harm forest-based communities, but less attention has been paid to the gender dimensions of this conservation intervention. Safeguard policies aim to ensure that REDD+ does not harm women, but interventions that do not seek to address gender imbalances at the outset could end up perpetuating them.
In 2012, at its eleventh meeting, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted decision XI/19, which acknowledges the large potential for synergies between REDD+ activities and the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The decision urges Parties, other Governments, and relevant organisations to fully implement the relevant provisions and decisions of the CBD and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in a coherent and mutually supportive way.
Financial mechanisms allow private sector to participate in conservation of biodiversity through corporate responsibility programs and corporate image positioning and complementing the financial sustainability for Protected Areas Systems. Private sector shows an interest in contributing to the development of programs of corporate social responsibility that focus either on social or environmental fields. However, there is still a need for coordination with the National Authorities for Protected Areas.
Protected areas, and the ecosystems and biodiversity within, provide many benefits for people. This includes protecting biodiversity’s intrinsic values, but also safeguarding the benefits people gain from them, such as the provision and regulation of water sources, and the climate benefits of stored carbon. Consequently, protected areas are now acknowledged as an important component of sustainable development. It is imperative to track and monitor networks of protected areas and their surroundings to ensure sustainable management of landscapes and seascapes.