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.

WIN and Pacific Community Dialogue Pavilion at the IUCN World Parks Congress

win logo

The Equator Initiative – a key partner of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative – is a partnership that works to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. It is a multi-sector partnership – bringing together the United Nations, governments, civil society organizations, and academic institutions –committed to shining a spotlight on local sustainable development success, and to advancing environment and development strategies that are informed by the needs, capabilities and transformative potential of community-based groups.


One of the Equator Initiative’s key areas of work is WIN. WIN brings together indigenous and local community land and sea managers to share their knowledge and practices in managing ecosystems, protecting the environment and supporting sustainable livelihoods. The network responds to a growing demand from indigenous and local communities for a mechanism to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and alliance building.


Prior to the opening of the World Parks Congress indigenous and local community land and sea managers did participate in a three day pre–conference workshop titled, Communities conserving nature and culture— A gathering among indigenous peoples and local communities from five continents to be held in the Blue Mountains. The workshop is organized by the ICCA Consortium, Equator Initiative’s WIN, UNDP GEF-Small Grants Programme, the Kimberley Land Council and other Australian and international partners. Participants will have the opportunity to share their experiences in establishing and managing protected areas in their territories and to prepare for the WPC.


The WIN and Pacific Community Dialogue Pavilion is co-hosted by the Equator Initiative’s WIN and IUCN Oceania with the support of other interested partners. Thanks to the partnership with IUCN Oceania a Pacific thematic focus will be seen throughout the week.

The community dialogue includes a mix of expert led sessions, events such as films and book launches and capacity development workshops like a three-dimensional community mapping training. The pavilion is designed to look like a community space that is “owned” by the participants. As participants will be engaging in the thematic WPC official streams it will also be a place to return to – to share their learning from the official discussions. The pavilion will run parallel to the official congress and a fruitful exchange is expected between the discussions at the pavilion and those in the congress. The pavilion is open to all thereby WPC participants/guests are welcome to join in the dialogue discussions and trainings.

Find out more about the events at the pavilion here



Get inspired by local sustainability innovations


Out of 1,234 nominations from 121 countries, the Equator Initiative, an outstanding partner of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative acknowledged 35 local innovations around the globe. All winners do have something in common: they all demonstrate community-based actions towards sustainability addressing environment, poverty and climate change challenges! Follow the link and get inspired!


Amongst the winners’ is a project supported by TRAFFIC – another key BaCH Initiative partner. Read more here


TRAFFIC & the Association of Waorani Women (AMWAE) win the Equator Prize for their outstanding work


Just right on time on World Environment Day (June 5th) the Equator Initiative, one of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s partners awarded the Equator Prize. This years Equator Prize honoured 35 local sustainable development innovations for people, nature and resilient communities. Amongst the winners, is a unique partnership between the Waorani, an indigenous group from the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve in the Ecuadorian Amazon, BIOS and TRAFFIC – another BaCH Initiative partner! Learn more about how the groundbreaking initiative is successfully addressing over-harvesting of local wildlife while providing alternative income streams here.


Find out more about another TRAFFIC partnership promoting sustainable harvesting of wild medicinal plants in the mountains of China’s Upper Yangtze ecoregion which won an Equator Prize in 2012 here.

Creating sustainable livelihood alternatives for the marginalised Bedouin population


The UNDP Equator Initiative, one of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s partners, awarded the Medicinal Plants Association for its ground-breaking work on protecting and cultivating endemic species of medicinal plants in the St. Catherine Reserve in Sinai, Egypt with the Equator Prize. By creating a market supply chains for locally produced medicinal herbs, handicrafts and honey, the association creates sustainable livelihood alternatives. Find out more about the association’s work with the Bedouin population on sustainable harvesting, biodiversity and ecosystem health for local wellbeing here.