UNDP unveils ambitious global strategy to protect biodiversity

Oct 18, 2012

Up to 1.4 billion hectares of land, bodies of water in 100 countries to benefit

Hyderabad, India — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today unveiled a robust environmental strategy to address unprecedented levels of global biodiversity loss.   

The new strategy – entitled “The Future We Want: Biodiversity and Ecosystems – Driving Sustainable Development” – was adopted during the Eleventh Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Hyderabad, India and calls for a significant scaling up of investments in 100 countries by 2020.  As part of the plan, UNDP will work with national governments to protect biodiversity and manage ecosystems across 1.4 billion hectares of land and bodies of water, comparable to the area of Australia, India and Argentina combined.

“Human survival depends heavily on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, yet in recent decades, the world has experienced unprecedented biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, undermining the very foundations of life on earth,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan.  “As 1.2 billion people living in severe poverty depend directly on nature for their basic needs and livelihoods, this needs urgent international attention.”  

Under this new strategy, UNDP will work with governments to find new ways to finance biodiversity management through domestic revenue, innovative financial mechanisms, and donor funding from a range of sources. This includes the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which serves as the financial mechanism of the Convention on Biological Diversity and has been a major driver for conservation in the past two decades. The funding will be used for projects which foster economic growth, create jobs, protect endangered species and habitats, and help build resilient communities that maintain natural areas for agricultural support and as a buffer against natural disasters such as droughts and floods.

According to the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Braulio Dias, “the launch of UNDP’s new Framework is very timely. I believe it will be vital in guiding UNDP’s support to countries to speed up implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. We have a window of opportunity between now and 2020 to help countries shift the course of development to maintain and enhance their natural capital, and UNDP’s work will be crucial in this regard.”

The new UNDP strategy on biodiversity has three focus areas:

  • Integrating biodiversity and ecosystem management into development planning and production sector activities;
  • Unlocking the potential of protected areas so that they are better managed and financed, and can contribute to sustainable development; and
  • Managing and rehabilitating ecosystems for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.

UNDP manages the largest portfolio of biodiversity and ecosystems work in the UN system, with 512 projects in 146 countries, worth US$1.5 billion in funding from the GEF and other sources, and US$ 3.5 billion in co-financing from a range of partners.


UNDP’s future approach to supporting the integration of biodiversity and ecosystem management with development, climate change risk reduction, and poverty alleviation is outlined in the framework’s three Signature Programmes.

The first Signature Programme outlines a commitment to expanding a concern for biodiversity across key productive sectors, including agriculture, fishing, forestry, mining, petroleum production, forestry, and tourism.

The second Signature Programme outlines a commitment to unlocking the potential of protected areas by ensuring that they are properly managed, sustainably financed, and contributing to sustainable development.

The third Signature Programme outlines a commitment to pro-poor ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation approaches that promote inclusive and sustainable development in the face of climate change. 

Contact information

Surekha Subarwal; Surekha.subarwal@gmail.com; Tel.: +91-9810153924

Nandita Surendran; Nandita.surendran@undp.org; Tel.: +91-9810084776

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