New approaches, such as those embraced by the [Convention on Biological Diversity], are increasingly turning towards the use of incentives as instruments and mechanisms to induce people to change their behaviour. Because people behave rationally by basing decisions on an assessment of costs and benefits, the introduction of incentives by Governments is an important way in which people can be motivated to conserve and use biodiversity sustainably.
In introducing new incentives, Governments should give consideration to (a) the need to remove existing incentives that discourage biodiversity conservation (so-called "perverse incentives"); and (b) the need to use an array of different instruments, based upon bioregional and social characteristics as well as the nature of the threat to biodiversity, to encourage biodiversity conservation in different areas.
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 effective economic, social and other appropriate incentive measures to encourage the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of biological resources, including promotion of sustainable production systems, such as traditional methods of agriculture, agroforestry, forestry, range and wildlife management, which use, maintain or increase biodiversity.