Trailblazers for the right balance between people and the natural environment

Preserving biodiversity is vital for humans, animals and the environment. GIZ works worldwide with partners like IUCN to protect ecosystems.

Around the world biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate, and with it, vital natural resources for human livelihoods. Every day, up to 150 animal and plant species are lost on our planet. Species loss is thus one hundred times faster than it would be without human influence. Preserving biodiversity is a global development challenge – on a scale comparable to climate change mitigation.

For years, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been supporting partners around the globe in their efforts to implement the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in politics, planning and practice. That means protecting and conserving the diversity of life on Earth so that as many people as possible can harness it as a livelihood today and in the future.

IUCN and GIZ step up cooperation for conservation

The enormous scope of the task ahead calls for strong partners and a global network. That is why GIZ joined the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2011. IUCN, the world’s largest conservation body, promotes and organises an exchange of experience within international and transnational forums and at special events including the World Conservation Congress, WCC, which it stages every four years.

‘The Congress is an important milestone in laying the foundations for biodiversity,’ says GIZ Managing Director Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven. ‘We have to act on the causes of biodiversity loss in order to secure it sustainably.’

At the WCC in Marseilles (3-11 September), together with IUCN Director General Dr Bruno Oberle, she reaffirmed the long-standing trust and cooperation that exists between the organisations by sealing a new agreement. The expansion of the PANORAMA knowledge platform (PANORAMA - Solutions for a Healthy Planet) is key.

Best practices available online

The digital platform run primarily by IUCN and GIZ provides easy access to tried and tested practices and ideas relating to protected areas and marine biodiversity for both experts and interested members of the general public. In addition to the platform, the PANORAMA partners including the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and a global network comprising hundreds of organisations foster knowledge sharing through workshops, webinars and other communication channels.

One best practice helps local authorities manage local protected areas in South America. GIZ is implementing the project on behalf of the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) in cooperation with IUCN and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).

‘Each country will be more sovereign if it is capable of conserving and protecting its biodiversity, and this project supports local governments with such ability, in coordination with their national governments and other actors,’ explains Rodrigo Perpetuo, Executive Secretary ICLEI South America.

This is made possible above all by the local GIZ, ICLEI and IUCN partner networks and through the close cooperation with cities and local communities. Regular exchange, technical discussions and training on protected areas and relevant measures give them the information and upgraded skills they need. This is an important foundation for preserving natural habitats and biodiversity on a sustainable basis at local level. And that in turn is the precondition for achieving a healthy balance between people and the natural environment today and in the future.

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