Conserving biodiversity – a task for development cooperation

Common bean varieties in Ecuador

The majority of the world’s genetic and biological diversity is to be found in the tropics and subtropics. For many of the people living in these regions, these natural resources form the very basis of their existence. Conserving this natural wealth is therefore a crucial condition for successfully reducing global poverty.

German activities

The conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of biodiversity and equitable sharing of benefits derived from biodiversity is a cross-cutting issue within Germany development cooperation. As such, it is given consideration in all projects across the board, including for instance projects with a primary focus on other areas, such as water supply or food security.

Moreover, conserving biodiversity is also a field of activity in its own right within German development policy. In line with the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the German government is supporting programmes and projects in over 30 partner countries aimed at conserving biodiversity.

On the one hand there are projects which encourage partner countries to structure their policy frameworks around preserving biodiversity. This includes establishing and strengthening government institutions and ensuring proper arrangements for land ownership. Local and indigenous organisations with traditional knowledge must be incorporated actively into the planning and decision-making processes. Access to land and natural resources must also be regulated in ways that are clear, binding and consensual. Advising the responsible institutions as they seek to draw up appropriate rules and legislation forms part of Germany’s development cooperation approach.

On the other hand, the BMZ also promotes specific measures relating to the management of protected areas, the sustainable management of forests and other ecosystems, improving agro-biodiversity, and combating illegal logging, poaching and illicit trade in wild animal products.

Biodiversity conservation cannot be carried out effectively without sufficient knowledge regarding the diversity of species and ecosystems, or without broad commitment and participation by civil society players. Alongside policy work, therefore, an important goal of German development cooperation is educating people, both in partner countries and in Germany.

Germany has worked continuously since 2008 to expand its involvement in this area. The German government has provided 500 million euros for the conservation of forests and other ecosystems every year since 2013.

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