Development coupled with biodiversity
Biodiversity mainstreaming is the main methodology for integrating biodiversity considerations into development processes at large. It can be done at multiple levels and on very different scales.
In essence, and in its broadest sense, the concept relates to the inclusion of biodiversity considerations in spheres that are not traditionally accustomed to account for biodiversity in their daily activities. Observations confirm that policies and programmes that ignore considerations for biodiversity are harmful to human development.
The idea of biodiversity mainstreaming is to have biodiversity principles included at every stage of the planning of projects, and this, whether international organizations, businesses or governments lead the projects. All in all, in theory, it could encompass the inclusion of biodiversity considerations into all human activities.
The overall goal of biodiversity mainstreaming is to help reduce the negative impacts that productive sectors exert on biodiversity, particularly outside of protected areas, and highlight the contribution of biodiversity to economic development and human well being, through enhanced collaboration with development sectors and actors.
A 2005 GEF Working Paper defines biodiversity mainstreaming in a more focused manner: “Mainstreaming biodiversity involves the integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use principles into policies, plans, programs, and production systems where the primary focus has previously been on production, economic activity, and development, rather than on biodiversity conservation losses or gains” (GEF Working Paper 20, Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Production Landscapes (PDF)
, November 2005, p. 2).
Biodiversity mainstreaming in development processes is not a new concept. In fact, development coupled with environmental protection is key to sustainability itself. Article 6 (b)
of the CBD calls Parties to “integrate, as far as possible and as appropriate, the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies”.