strategy

Identifying benefits of biodiversity conservation

Synonyms:
Expanding information about value of biological resources
Informing about importance of sustainable use of biological resources
Widening public awareness of sustainable use of biological resources
Expanding education programmes on conservation of biodiversity
Providing understanding about values of biological diversity
Promoting values of biological diversity
Description:
Collecting, assessing and making available relevant and reliable information in a timely manner and in a form suitable for decision-making at all levels, with the full support and participation of local and indigenous people and their communities.

Through a review of the education system, and the use of such mechanisms as the media: a) increase awareness about the links between human population growth, resource consumption, and biodiversity; and b) increase awareness about the lifestyle choices that affect biodiversity, and promote sustainable living based on the opportunities derived from the sustainable use of biological resources.

Context:
Biological diversity has many important benefits. Of particular significance are: (1) economic benefits, (2) food security, (3) environmental stability, (4) national biological heritage, (5) scientific, educational and recreational values, and (6) biosafety.

Generally, the benefits arising from the conservation of components of biological diversity can be considered in three groups: ecosystem services, biological resources and social benefits. Raising the real value of these benefits in the public mind is the central task of conservation and sustainable use strategies.

Biological diversity (biodiversity) is essential to maintain life on earth and has important social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic values. In addition to its intrinsic value biodiversity determines our resilience to changing circumstances. Without adequate biodiversity, events such as climate change and pest infestations are more likely to have catastrophic effects. It is essential for maintaining the long term viability of agriculture and fisheries for food production. Biodiversity constitutes the basis for the development of many industrial processes and the production of new medicines. Biodiversity often provides solutions to existing problems of pollution and disease.

The benefits derived from the use of biological resources are dependent upon: a) such resources being used at a rate within their capacity for renewal; b) maintaining the ecological integrity of the natural systems which produce such resources; c) minimising or avoiding the risk of irreversible change induced by humans; d) adequate investments being made to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and e) avoiding or minimising the adverse impacts of the use of non-renewable resources on biodiversity.

Implementation:
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends taking measures to encourage a greater understanding and appreciation of the value of biological diversity, as manifest both in its component parts and in the ecosystem services provided. It specifically recommends promoting and encouraging understanding at all policy-making and decision-making levels in governments, business enterprises and lending institutions, of the importance of the measures required for conservation of biological diversity and sustainable use of biological resources; promoting and encouraging inclusion of these topics in educational programmes.

Contracting Parties to the [Convention on Biological Diversity], shall: (a) Promote and encourage understanding of the importance of, and the measures required for, the conservation of biological diversity, as well as its propagation through media, and the inclusion of these topics in educational programmes; and (b) Cooperate, as appropriate, with other States and international organizations in developing educational and public awareness programmes, with respect to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

Article 3(1) of the [Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats] (Bern 1979) requires contracting parties to promote education and disseminate general information on the need to conserve species of wild flora and fauna and their habitats.

Claim:
1. Biological diversity is critical both for its intrinsic value and because of the key role it plays in providing the ecosystem and other services upon which we all ultimately depend. There has been a tendency in the past to manage components of biological diversity either as protected or non-protected. There is a need for a shift to more flexible situations, where conservation and use are seen in context and the full range of measures is applied in a continuum from strictly protected to human-made ecosystems.
Subjects:
Resources
Biology
Welfare
Information
Influencing
Promotion
Education
Sustainable development
Value redistribution
Conservation
Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies