Biodiversity: Delivering results in Europe and the CIS

Oct 2, 2012

As the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity is gaining momentum in Hyberabad, India, the results of work of UNDP in conserving and sustainably managing biological diversity is attracting increasing attention.

Humans bear the primary responsibility for the present unprecedented biodiversity loss at several levels – genetic, species, and ecosystems. Of all the problems the world faces in managing ‘global goods’, only the loss of biodiversity is irreversible.

It is important to realize that curbing biodiversity loss is in our own interest. When species experience significant population declines, the result is the underlying loss in the quantity and quality of natural resources and the associated ecosystem services upon which we depend. In Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (ECIS), there is ample evidence of these continuing losses.

The Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (ECIS) region covers 26 countries and more than 24 million km2 (around 16 percent of the global land surface).  It harbours globally important eco-regions, including forests, peatlands, freshwater ecosystems, or ecosystems functioning as a storehouse for globally important genetic diversity for wild crops and eco-systems being home for many valuable animal species.

In comparison to the rest of the world, the total number of species in ECIS region is relatively small, but the percentage of threatened species is large. The most immediate threats to biodiversity across the region, along with land conversion, habitat fragmentation and rapidly expanding recreational use remains unsustainable use and exploitation (often illegal).

The world’s changing climate represents another growing threat, with major implications for biodiversity and ecosystems.

UNDP addresses biodiversity loss not just because it threatens to increase poverty and undermine development, but also because the causes of biodiversity loss stem from underdevelopment.

The biodiversity work of UNDP lies in maintaining and enhancing the beneficial services provided by natural ecosystems in order to secure livelihoods, food, water and health security, reduce vulnerability to climate change, store carbon and avoid carbon emissions from inappropriate land use practices.

UNDP's publication 'Biodiversity: Delivering Results in Europe and the CIS' presents some of the outcomes of Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded work managed by UNDP in Europe and the CIS that aims to conserve biodiversity. 

It provides closer insight into the biodiversity of different Europe and CIS ecosystem types and outlines the main threats and challenges in the context of climate change. It gives a look at biodiversity conservation and protected areas management from the perspective of different countries – depending on their political and economic situation.

The publication provides the readers also with concrete examples - the case studies from the projects - how different aspects of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management were applied in the ECIS countries through UNDP supported, GEF financed projects.

The GEF and UNDP are proud to support the efforts of governments across Europe and the CIS to better protect their biodiversity endowments. The results achieved so far provide a solid basis for future action, whereby biodiversity conservation will need to be closely integrated with sustainable economic development and efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

We hope this publication can inspire others to participate in the global conservation movement, and better secure our own future and economic and social welfare in so doing.

Contact information

Regional Technical Advisor, Biodiversity & Ecosystems

United Nations Development Programme
Bureau for Development Policy
Energy and Environment Group
Regional Support Center for Europe and CIS
Grosslingova 35, 81109, Bratislava, Slovakia

UNDP Around the world