Expert Dialogue Explores Biodiversity, Human Security Links
Photo by Ivetta Gerasimchuk | IISD
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The UN Environment Management Group (EMG) published the summary of a Nexus Dialogue that explored the importance of biodiversity in supporting human security and well-being.

Dialogue participants made a series of recommendations including, inter alia, urgently stepping up the integration of biodiversity in policy; ensuring stronger political support for biodiversity within the 2030 Agenda; and finding effective ways to deliver multiple benefits while addressing trade-offs.

July 2018: The UN Environment Management Group (EMG) has published the summary of a Nexus Dialogue that explored the importance of biodiversity in supporting human security and well-being. The Dialogue also considered how UN agencies and other partners could enhance collaboration to support progress towards global biodiversity targets as part of the 2030 Agenda.

The event took place from 2-3 May 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Dialogue was organized by EMG in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with the support of the Swiss Government and the technical support of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The more than 100 participants from UN agencies, governments, universities, research institutes, NGOs and the private sector explored successful narratives and examined the main challenges of mainstreaming biodiversity in various sectors. They addressed the interdependencies of biodiversity and various components of human security and well-being, including human rights, food, health and water, climate change, disaster risk reduction, trade, migration, and conflict. The dialogue focused also on communication strategies necessary to support biodiversity mainstreaming.

The summary notes that the same way that biodiversity loss threatens the core of human security, weak human security exacerbates biodiversity loss and natural resource degradation: biodiversity can be negatively affected by some actions taken in pursuit of human security, and thereby undermine the wider sustainability of human security itself. Examples include the intensification and expansion of agricultural land to ensure food security and the construction of infrastructure to provide energy and water security. Participants in the event observed that environmental safeguards are increasingly being adopted to mitigate such impacts, while consumers are increasingly becoming aware of such impacts.

Underscoring the need to move from the recognition of the importance of biodiversity to the integration of biodiversity in decision making and practice, participants in the Dialogue provided a series of recommendations. They included:

  • Ensuring stronger political support for biodiversity within the 2030 Agenda;
  • Learning to deal with complexities of biodiversity and nature;
  • Finding effective ways to deliver multiple benefits while addressing trade-offs;
  • Urgently stepping up the integration of biodiversity in policy and strengthening governance;
  • Seeking synergies with other issues to integrate global agendas and to explore new nexuses;
  • Shifting the focus to positive communication and targeted messaging;
  • Forming strong partnerships with long-term horizons; and by enhancing UN system-wide collaboration and coherent responses on environmental matters.”
  • Championing and mainstreaming innovative approaches.

The EMG aims to “support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by enhancing UN system-wide collaboration and coherent responses on environmental matters.” [Publication: Nature Opportunities for Human Security] [EMG Website]

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