Making conservation count towards jobs and livelihoods

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Community members get on-site training in wildlife protection in Tmatboey, Canbodia. Photo: Sok Sony/WCS

If we are going to preserve global biodiversity, protected areas must make sense to the millions around the world, who rely on natural resources for their livelihoods. This is one of the key messages we have heard emerging this week from the World Parks Congress – a landmark global meeting – convened every 10 years to determine the future direction of the conservation agenda. ... Read more

Nature? Who cares?

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At the top of Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, South Africa, there is one of the most remarkable flowers you’ll ever see. Jamison Ervin / UNDP

We cut down the mangroves that provide habitat for the fish that feed our families, in order to make way for a resort hotel. Or we drain the wetland that protects our cities from floods, in order to put up a shopping mall. And we accept this as the cost of development.... Read more

Growth at the cost of life’s diversity? That’s bad economics.

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If economic growth is achieved at the expense of the natural capital of a country, that is not development. Photo: UNDP India

If economic growth makes people suffer (and consequently be worse off), sanity decrees that it is not development. It is for sure not sustainable, inclusive and equitable development. ... Read more

The Sydney World Parks Congress Shapes the Future We Need

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Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve (SNNR), in Qinghai Province, China, holds the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Mekong Rivers and tributaries that supply water to billions of people downstream. Marc Foggin

Solutions to problems is exactly what UNDP is bringing to the World Parks Congress.... Read more

In an Indian ashram, its solar power that nourishes the spiritual

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The ashram's kitchen serves free meals to more than 35,000 devotees daily. UNDP Photo

It was a hot summer day in Shirdi in the Indian state of Maharashtra. A wind blew in from the arid plains, covering its tracks with a patina of dust. Thousands of devotees at the Sai Baba temple had lined up for a ritual meal offered at the Prasadalaya (a free eatery run by the trust), which feeds more than 35,000 visitors daily. This ashram – a cornerstone of tradition and spiritual faith for many – has undergone a sea change in it’s reliance on fossil fuels. As we walked through the clatter of aluminium plates in the food hall, Amrut G. Jagtap, an engineer at the Prasadalaya explained that meals for about 17,000 devotees are now cooked using thermal energy from solar technology installed on the roof of the building.

 In a country of 1.2 billion people, where fossil fuels are in high demand for their use as cooking fuel, the climate could well allow a significant reduction in energy use (and family expenses) if reliance on alternative energy could find a foothold. If  solar technology can be harnessed at an industrial scale, however, it can partially meet energy needs and reduce the demand for costly fossil fuels, such as... Read more