Local people must have real role in deciding next steps in saving world’s biodiversity

Press release, 16 November 2018
Ahead of the 14th Conference of the Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (17-29 November 2018), IIED director Andrew Norton said:

“This meeting is a crucial opportunity to establish a new strategy to make the Convention on Biological Diversity more effective in combating the accelerated loss of wildlife and ecosystems that has characterised the last 25 years.

“This is only possible if indigenous peoples and local communities – men and women – are involved as genuine partners in the process. Too often they are ignored or excluded from decision-making, despite previous commitments, and forced to carry much of the burden of poorly designed conservation measures. Respect for people’s rights and ensuring that the benefits of conservation are shared fairly must also be central to the guiding principles being decided.

“Governments also need to move beyond the current focus on numbers and diversity of species. It is vital they lay foundations for the next 10 years that give equal emphasis to genetic diversity and agrobiodiversity – including protecting varieties. This is crucial for the survival of life on Earth.

“Next to climate change the destruction of the world’s ecosystems and wildlife are the greatest threat we face. Protecting biodiversity needs to be a priority at the highest levels if we are to stop the tide of destruction. There is no time to waste.”

Media enquiries

For an interview, contact IIED’s head of media Beth Herzfeld on +44 (0)7557 658 482 or email beth.herzfeld@iied.org.

Notes to editors

IIED is a policy and action research organisation. IIED promotes sustainable development to improve livelihoods and protect the environments on which these livelihoods are built. It specialises in linking local priorities to global challenges. Based in the UK, it works in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific with some of the world’s most vulnerable people. It works with them to strengthen their voice in the decision-making arenas that affect them – from village councils to international conventions.