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Equitable governance is key to preventing biodiversity loss

Protecting nature will only be possible if more authority is devolved to local communities, according to a new paper published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). 

The recently released Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) emphasises the need for major changes in environmental governance by national governments. 

However, new research conducted by IIED into deforestation in 33 African countries showed there was actually no correlation between countries with strong national governance and effective conservation. 

In some countries in Latin America, for example, improvements in national governance, in general, were shown to increase pressures on the natural world, especially through agricultural expansion into tropical forests. 

IIED principal researcher Phil Franks said: ‘If we’re going to turn around the crisis of biodiversity loss within the next 10 years we need a real change in approach to how we protect places like national parks and forests.’

person holding brown and black frog

The authors of the report highlight that equitable governance of conversation areas including respect for local people’s rights, their participation in decision making, transparency in law and sharing of costs and benefits will be key to overcoming biodiversity loss in the next decade. 

Phil Franks added: ‘More effective and more equitable environmental governance is the key but the top-down approaches of previous global conservation strategies are failing both nature and people. Devolving authority and resources to local communities and other key players at conservation sites, and building better governance from the bottom-up is more likely to work, and work more rapidly.’

‘Even in countries with long histories of political instability, corruption and other weaknesses of governance, a local, bottom-up approach to governance and protection of the natural world can be very effective, and readily scaled up with the help of innovative networking.’

Photo by Sandie Clarke

 

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