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.
The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 – a key global forum on protected areas – is coming to an end. Since 12 November 2014 over 5,000 participants from governments, international organisations, civil society organisations, community based organisations, the private sector and academia have gathered to join the Congress in Sydney. In light of this year’s theme “Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions” key stakeholders working on issues related to protected areas have been taking stock of current developments, identifying challenges and discussing innovative approaches for conservation in light of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a corresponding Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative partners such as UNU-IAS, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) engaged in a number of sessions offering innovative approaches and pioneering ideas on ways to connect the both global priorities biodiversity and human health.
Join today’s world leader’s dialogue “A Balancing Act: how the global appetite for mineral resources defines the fate of protected areas” on-line here.To follow tomorrow’s closing session, follow the link here.
Read a more detailed summary of the WPC 2014 here.
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.
Details: Stream 3 – Improving Health and Well-Being; Hall 3B1, Friday, November 14th, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
For further information see here
Linking Traditional Medicine, Good Healthcare Access and Conservation
This event is hosted by the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study for Sustainability (UNU-IAS) which is anchoring the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative. This interactive session highlights the relevance of traditional medicine in the context of parks and protected areas as well as the benefits of fostering diverse partnerships to help overcome challenges in promoting such practices. The session is building on the expertise and experience of the BaCH Initiative’s partners including, the SCBD, Bioversity International, UNU-IAS, the Equator Initiative, TRAFFIC, UNU-IIGH as well as other leading stakeholders such as the National Environment Service, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative and the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation South Africa. Join the event and engage with some of the leading stakeholders in this field.
Details: Stream 3 – Improving Health and Well-Being; Hordern Room, Saturday, November 15th, 8:30 am – 10:00 am.
For further information see here
Global Environmental and Health Policy: a Nexus for Change
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.
This event is hosted by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health.
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:
Details: WIN and Pacific Community Dialogue Pavilion, Monday, November 17th, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm.
For further information see here
The IUCN World Parks Congress Sidney 2014 is taking place from 12 till 19 November and will gather around 4000 delegates from over 160 countries. The WPC is held once in a decade and provides an ideal platform for a global conversation around issues related to protected areas. 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 United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study for Sustainability (UNU-IAS) will actively engage in the event and highlight the relevance of parks for health and human well-being at large. Through sharing ideas and experiences, this years WPC aims to take stock of the achievements in implementing the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, agreed by the international community during the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) in Nagoya, Japan in 2010. The congress will further highlight the role of protected areas for sustainable development and identify challenges and innovations towards reaching the Aichi Targets and
Follow the highlights of the WPC 2014 through the live stream here
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.
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)
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.)
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.)
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.)
As part of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative, UNU-IAS is contributing its long-standing experience in policy research, advocacy and capacity development for sustainable development. Highlighting the social, economic and environmental dimensions, UNU-IAS has been addressing key issues around biodiversity and is fostering the linkages to health through the BaCH Initiative. Here, questions and implications around the use of common resources are playing a significant role. The recent UNU Our World issue covers a brilliant overview called ‘Documenting the commons’. Learn more about UNU’s work on commons, a Japanese experience and read some thoughts on the future of commons here.
The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), a leading partner of the Biodiversity and Community Health Initiative (BacH),has been advocating for a more holistic approach to measure the quality of life over the last decade. Read more about why sustainable development and green growth requires to look beyond the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a proxy indicator of a nation’s welfare here