traditional knowledge

Taking action for conservation and livelihoods at the local level

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The Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, a Cape Town based non-governmental organisation, jointly with herbalists and other partners launched Herbanisation – an open access, medicinal street garden project in 2012. The underlying idea is to create livelihood options for local Rasta and Khoi herbalists by upgrading degraded streets capes in economically marginalised areas marked by high unemployment and crime rates in Cape Town. At the same time the project aims to reconnect the community members with medicinal plants and the traditional knowledge around the use of these plants as well as traditional healers. Herbanisation has proven to be a successful approach for conservation, livelihood creation and connecting multiple stakeholders to take action to improve their health and well-being. Started as a pilot project with 250 medicinal plants, Herbanisation has expanded and covers currently 1.700 plants in Seawinds and will most probably reach 4,500 by mid 2015.

Find out more about the work here

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Parks, People, Planet connections with Biodiversity and Community Health

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The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 is taking currently taking place in Sidney bringing together around 4000 delegates from over 160 countries. This year’s congress is themed Parks, People, Planet: Inspiring Solutions and will showcase the essential role and diverse benefits of protected areas for people and communities. Hence, partners of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative such as the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Equator Initiative and the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study for Sustainability (UNU-IAS) are actively engaged to highlight the relevance of parks for health and human well-being at large.

Here are some of the relevant events on biodiversity and community health

Connecting Global Priorities – Biodiversity and Human Health

The State of Knowledge Review on the Interlinkages between Biodiversity and Human Health is an upcoming flagship publication covering all relevant issues related to the connections between biodiversity and community health. It is based on a collaborative effort of the BaCH Initiative partner the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and builds upon the expertise and experience of over 100 leading scientists, medical practitioners, and indigenous and local community representatives. Each chapter and its key messages have undergone separate global peer review processes open to 193 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as relevant organizations and indigenous and local community members.

The book will be launched soon at the 14th World Congress on Public Health in Kolkatta, India in February 2015. Join the event today to learn about the interlinkages between biodiversity and human health and parks. The event will inform and inspire the environment, protected areas and health sectors to synergise efforts and to jointly embark on a new global agenda for healthy ecosystems and healthy people in support of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Use the opportunity to engage in discussions with some of the lead authors and contributors of these publications and to be part of the final consultation of the book.

Read more about the event here: Connecting Global Priorities – Biodiversity and Human Health

This event is hosted by Parks Victoria, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) and the World Health Organization (WHO), with support from Deakin University, US National Park Service and Harvard School of Public Health’s Centre for Health, and the Global Environment.

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Linking Traditional Medicine, Good Healthcare Access and Conservation

This session will not only highlight the connections between human and environmental health but further showcase innovative initiatives and best practices protecting ecosystems and producing positive impact on public health. Building on a diverse set of expertise the event highlights further trends in global health and environmental policies and potential links between them. Join the interactive session and engage with key speakers from two BaCH Initiative partners the SCBD and UNU-IAS as well as other leading institutions such as Parks Victoria, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area National Parks Service, the Scottish Natural Heritage, the Natural Heritage Services Finland, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health and VicHealth.

Details: Stream 3 – Improving Health and Well-Being; Session 11, Hall 3B1 Home Room, Saturday, November 15th, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm.

For further information see here

From Global to Local: Linking Local Conservation Objectives and Local Business Potentials Through Access and Benefit Sharing

This interactive session brings together leading stakeholders from multiple sectors including UNU-IAS to discuss the relevance of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) and local conservation. Through three expert inputs the event aims to shed light into the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol which are relevant for the IPLCs, ways on how ABS can be used as a tool to create links between community based business and biodiversity conservation as well as identify avenues for the multi-beneficial implementation of ABS at the local level. Join the event and engage in a multi-disciplinary panel discussion with some of the leading stakeholders.

The event is hosted by the ABS Capacity Development Initiative and funded by:

Raising awareness for the interlinkages between biodiversity & health at CoP 12 in Korea

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The Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative continuously raises awareness for the complex interlinkages between biodiversity, ecosystem services and health. This is based on the firm belief that biodiversity lies the foundation for human health as it provides healthy ecosystems on which we depend for our food and fresh water or aids in regulating climate floods and disease. Biodiversity provides recreational benefits and offers aesthetic and spiritual enrichment. It further contributes to local livelihoods, to both traditional and modern medicines and to economic development.

In light of this mandate, most of our partners recently attended the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which took place from 6 – 17 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. In addition to events and meetings, the BaCH Initiative and its partners further facilitated four side events on issues around biodiversity and health. COP12

Here are some highlights of our work during CoP-12

TACKLING COMMON DRIVERS OF DISEASE AND BIODIVERSITY LOSS: A ONE HEALTH APPROACH

by EcoHealth Alliance, DIVERSITAS, UNU-IAS, SCBD, WHO and TRAFFIC

During this side event, the BaCH Initiative partners jointly with other organisations emphasised the that human disease and biodiversity loss share common drivers, providing opportunities for cross-sectoral collaboration for co-benefits for health and biodiversity. This becomes particularly clear in the context of overexploitation of wild fauna and flora which places pressure on wild populations and threatens the health-supporting ecosystem services they provide. Infectious diseases present a major direct threat to human health, with over one billion human cases globally each year. It is further increasingly recognized as a threat to other species (including but not limited to plants and terrestrial and marine animals). This has major implications for ecosystems as a whole, and can threaten food security and the provision of several ecosystem services.

Against this background, this side event highlighted the need for a “One Health” approach that considers the connections between humans, animals and environment. Partners highlighted that such an approach allows for a more integrated and proactive mechanism for tackling shared health and biodiversity concerns. The event further enabled debates around the upcoming CBD-WHO State of Knowledge Review on Biodiversity and Health and particularly engaged participants in relevant discussion under COP 12 agenda item 16 (sustainable development), sub-item 3 (biodiversity and health).  (This side event took place on Tuesday 7th October from 18:15 to 19:45)

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FRAMING BIODIVERSITY AND HEALTH IN THE CONTEXT OF THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

by SCBD, WHO, Bioversity International, Diversitas, Ecohealth Alliance, FIOCRUZ, Wildlife Conservation Society, Health & Ecosystems: Analysis Of Linkages (WCS-HEAL), UNU-IAS and TRAFFIC.

Jointly with the WHO, the SCBD organised a side event on the forthcoming volume of the State of Knowledge Review on Biodiversity and Human Health. The event highlighted key thematic areas of the publication including agricultural biodiversity, food and nutrition security, water quality, infectious diseases, One Health, traditional medicine knowledge and sustainable use in an effort to mobilise plenary discussion under the CBD-WHO joint work programme. Keynote presentations by the CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Diaz as well as WHO partners further emphasised the need to address these key issues in an integrated manner by acknowledging interconnections and synergising efforts. Besides, the organisers actively engaged participants in discussions with some of the core partners who have co-led work on various chapters of the publication including several BaCH Initiative partners such as UNU-IAS, TRAFFIC as well as Bioversity International and Ecohealth Alliance. (This side event took place on Wednesday 8th October from 13:15 to 14:45.)

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BIODIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH: OPERATIONALISING LINKAGES BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE GROUND

by UNU-IAS, Bioversity International, Ecohealth Alliance, TRAFFIC, SCBD, UNEP, UNDP and International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB)

This event focused on different dimensions related to the interplay between biodiversity and community health including challenges, strengths and opportunities by sharing case studies. Through keynote speeches by several BaCH Initiative partners such as Bioversity International, UNU-IAS, TRAFFIC and the SCBD, the event highlighted the crucial role of biological resources and well-functioning ecosystems to ensuring the health of humans animals and other life forms. The side event further emphasised gaining importance in identification and use of resources that help to overcome new health conditions, in light of changing climatic conditions. Acknowledging this year’s COP theme “Biodiversty for Sustainable Development“, the key message of the event was the need for policies which are aligned better with basic challenges faced especially by vulnerable populations to achieve their development aspirations. The side event further showcased the progress made within the BaCH Initiative to foster greater interactions among relevant stakeholders and partners to synergise efforts and achieving conservation and development objectives. (This side event took place on Thursday 9th October from 13:15 to 14:45.)

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BIODIVERSITY, HEALTH, FOOD, NUTRITION AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: WAYS FORWARD
by Bioversity International, Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research (PAR), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and SCBD

The dialogue session was jointly launched by Bioversity International (a BaCH Initiative partner) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The session included a key note speech by the CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Diaz further who addressed the relevance of agrobiodiversity, food security and nutrition in light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Post-2015 Development Agenda. The event further showcased the work carried out under the CBD-WHO joint work programme (strategically linked to this core thematic area of Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health) and highlighted findings in the State of Knowledge Review – an upcoming flagship publication on the interconnections between biodiversity and human health. Relevant Parties involved in the GEF-funded Bioversity for Food and Nutrition project (including Brazil and Turkey), and a representative of the Government of Korea speaking on Korean traditional food cultures further added value to the discussions through sharing cross-country experiences. The organisers further engaged the participants in vivid discussions with the interdisciplinary panel highlighting the relevance of agrobiodiversity, food security and nutrition for implementing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets 14 and 13 in the context of the SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. (This side event took place on Friday 10th October from 13:15 to 14:45.)

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Why the Nagoya Protocol matters for biodiversity and community health

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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

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

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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.

Traditional knowledge, medicinal plants and culture

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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

Revitalising local health traditions in India

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Get a glimpse of the Foundation for the Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions’ (FRLHT) pioneering work in India. Darshan Shankar, co-founder of FRLHT, takes you on a short tour through the institute and gives an insightful introduction to the Indian health traditions, their challenges in the contemporary setting and their dialogue with modern science.