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.

Traditional knowledge, medicinal plants and culture


UNU Our World’s most recent issue covers an insightful article on ethnobiological drug discovery in Latin America and how discussions around traditional knowledge and medicinal plants emerged. Learn more about the essential role traditional knowledge on the use of medicinal plants plays and why there is a need to preserve these precious sources for our wellbeing here