How our quality of life and wellbeing are dependent on biodiversity


Biodiversity lays the foundation for human survival and development by providing non-material and material benefits benefits. While material benefits of biodiversity such as clean air and food have been acknowledged by the international community since more than two decades at 1992 Rio Earth Summit, non-material benefits have not received enough attention yet.

The Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative has been advocating for the interconnections between biodiversity, quality of life and wellbeing. BaCH partners such as the United Nations University – Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability jointly with ETC-COMPAS (Network) and the Equator Initiative recently published a brilliant book on the concept of human well-being as it relates to international rural development and conservation policy and practice.

The focus of international discussions around sustainable management of biological resources has been shifting on immaterial values of biodiversity not only for rural local and indigenous communities but also for urban communities. International forums such as the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Korea or the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sidney have started to emphasise the inter-connections of biodiversity, human health and wellbeing at large.  A recent study commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) explores the connections between biodiversity, human wellbeing and quality of life assessing their role in key conventions such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and ongoing policy forums such as the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The study further reflects the role of biodiversity and wellbeing in dominant narratives and advocates for a more integrated-approach in development cooperation policies and programs.

Read the study here.

Why the Nagoya Protocol matters for biodiversity and community health

The long hello

Adopted on 29 October 2010 during the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) (short Nagoya Protocol) finally reached more than 50 ratifications on 12 October – after years of negotiations. As an supplementary agreement to the CBD the Nagoya Protocol aims to support the implementation of the third CBD objective: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. The Nagoya Protocol can be seen as a key achievement for sustainable development since it provides a transparent legal framework for users and providers on accessing, trading, sharing and monitoring the use of genetic resources.

The Nagoya Protocol requires user countries to take legal, administrative and policy measures ensuring compliance with the access and benefit-sharing law of provider countries. This implies measures to ensure fair and equitable benefit sharing from the use of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources as well as genetic resources held by indigenous and local communities. This is supposed to be based on mutually agreed terms (MAT). Besides, countries commit themselves to introduce measures to ensure to obtain a prior and informed consent (PIC) or approval and involvement of respective indigenous and local communities before accessing traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources. This also includes genetic resources, where communities have the established right to grant access. Besides, when implementing the provisions on traditional knowledge, countries are called upon considering customary laws, community protocols and procedures of indigenous and local communities and to actively support the development of community protocols on ABS and traditional knowledge.

In light of this tremebiodiversityndous step, the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP) took place in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, from 13 to 17 October 2014.

Read more about the relevance of the Nagoya Protocol for the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative here

Learn more about the Nagoya Protocol and its implications for the effective implementation of the CBD here


Fostering global collaborations for biodiversity conservation


The Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s partner, the Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) formed the Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions (BLG) in 2004. The BLG aims to reduce overlapping and create synergies between the CBD and other biodiversity conventions. As such, the group invited the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to join as a member. Other members include following conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity (year of entry into force: 1993), the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (1975), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (1975), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (2004), the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971) and the World Heritage Convention (1972).

Read more here


The Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources will enter into force


The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan will enter into force on October 12 2014. The protocol finally reached 51 of 50 required ratifications to enter into force. Against the background of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s work on linking biodiversity, health, traditional knowledge and livelihoods, the protocol plays an important role towards achieving international development goals. Through implementing the Nagoya Protocol the international community hopes to “create incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity while guaranteeing equity in the sharing of benefits” (CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias). The first meeting of parties to the protocol will be held during the upcoming twelfth Conference of Parties of the CBD from 13-17 October in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Learn more about the protocol here and find a full list of signatories and ratifications here. Read more about capacity development measures focused on implementing the Nagoya Protocol here.

The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB)

 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB)

The UN has proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. This year is dedicated to island biodiversity and emphasises at the same time the designation by the UN General Assembly of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States. In addition, the theme was chosen to stress the importance of the COP decision XI/15 paragraph 1(a) “to strengthen the implementation of the Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity”. Learn more about unique island ecosystems and their importance for sustainable livelihood, economy, well-being and cultural identity of 600 million islanders—one-tenth of the world’s population here.