German development cooperation
Conserving biodiversity as a life-sustaining resource
The diversity of nature underpins our food supply; it provides the ingredients for many medicinal drugs, helps bind greenhouse gases and facilitates adaptation to the impacts of climate change. It yields ideas for technical development and innovation in architecture, medicine and materials research. It also provides space for leisure activities, inspires artistic endeavours and has spiritual significance in many faith traditions. To raise awareness of the services that nature provides, Germany has commissioned and co-financed the study 'The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity' (TEEB).
According to the study, coral reefs cover only 1.2 per cent of the continental shelf worldwide but provide a habitat for an estimated one to three million species, including a quarter of all marine fish species. In addition, reef ecosystems provide a livelihood for some 30 million people living on coasts and islands.
Swiss bee colonies ensure a yearly agricultural production worth about 143 million euros, which is about five times the value generated from the production of honey. The total economic value of insect pollination worldwide is put at 153 billion euros (2005 value), or almost ten per cent of the annual global agricultural yield.
In Canberra, Australia, 400,000 trees were planted to regulate the microclimate, improve air quality, reduce the amount of energy needed for air conditioning and store carbon. The resulting gain for the city – in the form of additional benefits or reduced costs – was estimated at between 13.5 and 45 million euros for the period 2008-2012.
These examples illustrate the variety of ways in which humans benefit from intact ecosystems. An important task for policy-makers, therefore, is to promote synergies between sustainable development and biodiversity conservation in every sector of the economy. Cross-sectoral approaches also play an important part in German development policy. Integrating biological diversity and environmental services was therefore an important discussion point at the 2012 Development Conference in Rio.
Model Regions for a Green Economy new window, PDF 2.2 MB, accessible 06/2011 | pdf | 2.2 MB | 34 P. | accessible
Committed to Biodiversity
Germany's International Cooperation to Implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity for Sustainable Development new window, PDF 6.4 MB, accessible 09/2014 | pdf | 6.4 MB | 85 P. | accessible
Equitable and Sustainable Access to Land, Fisheries and Forests –
Voluntary Guidelines on the responsible governance of these resources new window, PDF 612 KB, accessible 11/2012 | pdf | 612 KB | 8 P. | accessible