Developing indicators of biodiversity-poverty linkages is complex

T. V. Padma

T. V. Padma
South Asia regional coordinator, SciDev.Net


A key goal under the Aichi targets agreed in Nagoya is to address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity in to development and poverty reduction strategies. But despite well-meaning initiatives on the linkages between biodiversity and poverty; enough ground evidence, precise tools to demonstrate, monitor and assess to what extent biodiversity is integrated in development process are difficult to find.

This week there were attempts to show a way forward on this difficult road. On Friday (12 Oct) evening, a draft study on development of indicators for poverty and biodiversity linkages, and their application, was presented at a side-event chaired by Didier Babin,CBD sceretariat. The indicators, says Sameer Punde,   from the NGO Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF), demonstrate how biodiversity trends directly impact people’s livelihoods.

Tools to assess how much biodiversity is integrated into poverty reduction plans are still to be developed. Photo credit: IFAD.org

The study assesses current initiatives and indicators for poverty and biodiversity in 11 indicator frameworks, whose criteria include sensitivity, scale, relevance, and scientific validity.

Suneetha Subramanian, United Nations University;s Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) described how the study next outlines a strategy to develop poverty-biodiversity indicators, using criteria such as biodiversity resources, livelihood activities dependent on biodiversity and ecosystem services; equity; cultural diversity; and cross-sectoral linkages.

Indicators could be both standalone and a mix, cost-effective and amenable to scaling up.  Poverty-biodiversity indicators,

Earlier on Tuesday (09 Oct), the International Institute for Environment Development (IIED) launched a ‘biodiversity mainstreaming diagnostic tool’ to help policy makers assess how far they have integrated biodiversity and development in their national plans., and the challenges they face.  IIED says it would also help “identify impacts, knowledge gaps and barriers to progress.”

The tool sets out a framework of questions and issues – understand the extent of progress in mainstreaming biodiversity; map and analyse mainstreaming approaches; assess how institutional structures and procedures support or inhibit biodiversity mainstreaming; examine performance; and identify areas for change and improvement.

It was the product of joint project by IIED and the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), under which  four African countries – Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles and Uganda —  are using the tool.

IIED and UNEP-WCMC are also seeking feedback for their proposed 2013 report on current knowledge on efforts to include biodiversity in policy making; and will document the evidence base on biodiversity-poverty linkages.

This blog post is part of our coverage on COP 11 Convention on Biological Diversity — which takes place 8–19 October 2012. 

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