Biodiversity, an essential partner in making development truly sustainable
Information meeting on the activities of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in the field of development cooperation for biodiversityOn 4 May 2007
Biodiversity?The word ‘biodiversity’ stems from the contraction of two words ‘biology’ and ‘diversity’. In simple terms, it refers to the diversity of life on Earth. Biodiversity can be considered from different perspectives, whether we are interested in microscopic life forms or in natural events happening at the global scale. In this way, the concept of biodiversity covers among others genes, species and ecosystems.
Biodiversity feeds and protects more than six billion people every day. Humans rely on the food, fibres, energy and water that are provided by nature. The poorest countries in economic terms are often the richest in biodiversity and natural resources. According to the World Bank, the low income countries obtain nearly 25% of their economic resources from the environment, while the proportion is only 3% in OECD countries.
The diversity of species, ecosystems and genetic resources is therefore crucial for development. Their conservation and sustainable use can generate multiple options to improve living conditions. A truly sustainable development is only possible by taking into account the richness, the fragility and the importance of biodiversity for human well-being.
- Guiding Principles for biodiversity in development (World Conservation Union - Biodiversity Brief 17)
- Biodiversity in European Development Cooperation (World Conservation Union - Conference Background Paper)