Biodiversity is life

01 Apr 2010

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With up to 0.6% of species becoming extinct each year, biodiversity is being lost at an unparalleled pace.

New Horizons - Human activity has accelerated climate change, agitated the food chain, and disrupted the carbon, nitrogen and water cycles. Highlighting the dire importance of ecosystems for human existence and the environment, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2010 an International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) proposing global participation to diminish the negative effects on biodiversity. Throughout the year, UNDP will raise awareness amongst policy makers, the general public, and the private sector of the importance of biodiversity to development so as to prevent the constant loss of biological diversity worldwide.

The International Year of Biodiversity will be marked by activities led by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at both national and international levels. World Biodiversity Day, on May 22, 2010 will have the theme “Biodiversity and Development"—allowing a special focus to be placed on these issues. High level events will include the opening of the General Assembly by Heads of State in September 2010, which will have a component on biodiversity and development. Additionally, the Convention on Biological Diversity COP10 in Japan in October 2010 will also include a high level event where biodiversity targets for the period post 2010 will be agreed. It will also be decided in the course of the year whether an Intergovernmental Science- Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (similar to IPCC) will be established to provide a better scientific underpinning for actions to curb biodiversity loss, and to increase investment in addressing this problem. UNDP will publish and disseminate knowledge products that showcase how biodiversity management can be better mainstreamed into national development policies.

Another important purpose of IYB is to open policy dialogues and debates with various actors to discuss the extent to which countries have met the 2010 biodiversity target of “reducing biodiversity loss” and addressed biodiversity management as part of their development strategies. The policy dialogues will focus on developing post 2010 Biodiversity targets, and an accompanying Plan of Action to give direction to future biodiversity management interventions. UNDP will host policy roundtables throughout 2010 where successes and challenges in this regard will be discussed by key policy makers.

Of critical importance to UNDP during IYB is to emphasize the links between biodiversity loss, development and poverty. UNDP will particularly highlight changes in the availability and quality of biodiversity and ecosystem services in minimizing resources for the poor and vulnerable.

UNDP addresses biodiversity loss because it threatens to increase poverty and undermine development, but also because the causes of biodiversity loss stem from under-development through weak governance systems (policies, institutions and accountability) and market failures. Furthermore, the sustainable management of biodiversity and ecosystem services are also key to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Reversing the loss of biodiversity has been an explicit part of the MDG agenda since 2006. With vast experience in the field of biodiversity management, UNDP can help government authorities address the governance and market failures that drive biodiversity loss.

The objective of UNDP’s biodiversity work is therefore maintaining and enhancing the beneficial services provided by natural ecosystems in order to secure livelihoods, food, water and health security, reduce vulnerability to climate change, store carbon and avoid emissions from land use, land use change, and forestry. UNDP is addressing biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation through mainstreaming biodiversity management objectives into economic sector activities and unleashing the economic potential of Protected Areas so that they are able to fulfill their management functions, are sustainably financed and contribute towards sustainable development.

To achieve these objectives, UNDP is assisting programme countries to: develop accountable decision-making frameworks and capacitated institutions to govern ecosystem and natural resource use; develop sound development policies that address biodiversity loss; and build leadership and skills within institutions responsible for biodiversity management including in economic sector institutions that influence how biodiversity is used. UNDP is also working with programme countries to address market failures that distort prices and lead to over-exploitation of ecosystems and natural resources; and combine and sequence different sources of funds so as to address biodiversity loss and develop rights based approaches to development that give local communities and other key stakeholders an incentive to improve local environmental management.

Biodiversity in Turkey:

Biodiversity supports human societies ecologically, economically and culturally. Despite their importance ecosystems are being degraded and species and genetic diversity reduced at a devastating rate due to the impact of the growing human population. The global decline of biodiversity is recognized as one of the most serious issues facing humanity. Recognition of the worldwide impact of biodiversity loss inspired the global community to negotiate the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The convention sets the stage for each nation to assess the adequacy of current efforts to conserve biodiversity, achieve sustainable use of biological resources and to determine how gaps will be filled and opportunities will be seized.

Turkey signed the convention at the Earth Summit in 1992 and ratified it in 1996. Ratification of the biodiversity convention provided a new starting point for recognizing the importance of biodiversity issues in Turkey.

Along with government counterparts and the World Wide Fund For Nature - Turkey, UNDP Turkey is providing technical assistance for better management to preserve Turkey’s forests and marine and coastal protected areas. By designing, piloting and adopting the cost-effective conservation management approaches, the first of these projects aim to enhance management effectiveness and sustainability in 117,000 hectares of land in Küre Mountains National Park and its buffer. This experience will be replicated in other 8 forest hotspots of Turkey for an effective forest protected areas system.

By designing, piloting and adopting the cost-effective conservation management approaches, the first of these projects aim to enhance management effectiveness and sustainability in 117,000 hectares of land in Küre Mountains National Park and its buffer. This experience will be replicated in other 8 forest hotspots of Turkey for an effective forest protected areas system.

The second project will expand Turkey’s marine and coastal protected areas by 44%, through improving management effectiveness. This expansion will include the first significant initiative to create restricted areas for fisheries, a potentially critical tool in Turkey’s efforts to conserve marine biodiversity.

Please visit www.cbd.int for more information.

To find out more about biodiversity in Turkey, please visit www.cbd.gov.tr.