Biodiversity and ecosystems means much more than saving whales and pretty landscapes: it is instrumental in reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development. By contrast, the loss of biodiversity – habitats, crops, animal breeds – threatens to negate decades of development gains, and those most harshly affected will be the world's most vulnerable people. Overcoming environmental degradation is an act of justice. Strong laws backing empowered people can make the difference
The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Development signals a milestone in awareness of the interconnected nature of environmental and development goals. Success will require bringing people across society for transformative shifts towards more sustainable choices. IDLO has been working since 2011 to advance discussions on the role of the rule of law for environmental sustainability – raising awareness about innovative new legal norms for sustainability and working hand-in-hand with national lawyers around the world to share legal breakthroughs.
“Biodiversity is not about saving one plant or bird at a time.”
So what is it about?
“Linkages,” explains IDLO’s Yolanda Saito, before pointing out that we should stop worrying about this or that cuddly species, and focus on the whole.
Traditionally under the remit of environmentalists alone, biodiversity has now been recognized in the 2030 Agenda as a key element of global development that should be integrated across all sectors. Kenya’s Constitution includes provisions related to environment and natural resource management, which has given impetus to new laws, policies and other enabling legal instruments at the national and county levels.
Dealing with ecosystem degradation has long been seen as the purview of environmentalists alone. With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), biodiversity has been recognized as essential to human resilience and economic opportunity, and its preservation requires action from all sectors of society.
A new, innovative legal norm has emerged with the 2014 entry in force of the Nagoya Protocol – an international text promoting “fair and equitable benefit sharing.” The Protocol recognizes that genetic resources are the raw ingredients for innovation in medicines, biotechnology, cosmetics, food and beverages. Yet benefits rarely trickle down to the communities that nurture these resources.
The Legal Preparedness for Achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets Initiative was launched in 2012 by IDLO and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Initiative provides a central hub for stakeholders and experts to share knowledge and build capacity, contributing to a global effort to raise understanding of “biodiversity laws” and their role in supporting countries to achieve their biodiversity goals related to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
The Initiative is supported by a multiple donors and partners working collaboratively to achieve its objectives.
CBD Secretariat: The Secretariat is the global focal point for Convention for Biological Diversity, responsible for facilitating and supporting implementation of the Convention by Parties and stakeholders. The Initiative is implemented in partnership with the CBD Secretariat who provides support and advice on program strategy and activities.