German development cooperation
Creating and conserving protected areas
An important instrument for conserving biodiversity is the establishment and sustainable management of protected areas, national parks and biosphere reserves. They help to protect water resources, the soil and the climate and preserve genetic resources for future generations.
These areas provide important environmental services that are crucial to the physical and economic survival of millions of people. There are some 100,000 protected areas in the world and the value of the services they provide is estimated at between 4.4 and 5.2 billion US dollars annually. By contrast, the progressive destruction of biological diversity gives rise to huge economic costs that have not in the past been adequately depicted in overall economic calculations.
The great importance of protected areas is also reflected in the strategic plan for implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity that was agreed in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. The eleventh of the 20 ambitious targets calls for at least 17 per cent of the world's terrestrial area (of which just under 13 per cent is currently protected) and at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas (of which less than 1 per cent is currently protected) to be conserved by 2020. German development cooperation is supporting its partner countries in their efforts to achieve these targets. In 2010, via bilateral agreements and regional programmes, Germany committed more than 70 million euros to projects in this area.
If a protected area is to serve its purpose and survive over time, it is vital when establishing it to take account of the interests, values and way of life of the local community. This is particularly important in the farmland surrounding protected areas and is why, when implementing nature conservation measures, Germany is always careful to involve the local community right from the planning stage. By advising the responsible institutions and training their staff, it is also ensured that protected areas will be properly administered.
An important aspect of this is the sustainable financing of protected areas. BMZ is involved in the 'LifeWeb' initiative set up by Germany in 2008. This is a cooperation scheme that initiates and promotes partnerships between countries that want to improve their national system of protected areas and potential donors. The scheme also creates incentives for future financial support for protected areas from new sources such as private foundations and companies.
Biological diversity is the basis of cultural diversity. If it is lost, traditional knowledge of the use of natural resources is also lost. For indigenous communities, in particular, biodiversity loss therefore has far-reaching consequences: in a radically changed environment and without the natural resources they have used for thousands of years, such communities are often no longer able to continue their traditional way of life.
Recognition of the contribution made by indigenous peoples and local communities is an important aspect of German development cooperation. Even if the areas in which they live are not officially designated protected areas, they often make a major contribution to the conservation of biodiversity.
In this way the work undertaken by Germany also helps to preserve cultures under threat. Advice and support is provided to the national institutions responsible so that traditional communities are afforded legal protection of their knowledge and have a fair share in the benefits arising from the commercial use of their resources. The resulting profits can be re-invested by the institutions in projects that promote the conservation and sustainable use of resources.
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
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
Marine Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries
Ten-point Plan of Actionnew window, PDF 1 MB, accessible 11/2016 | pdf | 1 MB | 12 P. | accessible