The role of biodiversity for transformative change towards sustainable development

Organizer: Markus Fischer
Format: Online, Evening

Accumulating evidence illustrates the key role for biodiversity in supporting life and the subsistence and wellbeing of people (TEEB 2010, MAES 2016, IPBES 2019). Biodiversity supports the provision of food, clean air, water, energy and raw materials, serves our health, and drives our economy. It supports the supply of the fundamental material and non-material contributions of nature to people upon which societies and businesses depend but which they often take for granted (IPBES 2019, GSDR2019). Accordingly, continued biodiversity loss, from climate change, unsustainable land use practices, pollution or other drivers, bears negative consequences on nature and people. Considerable efforts within the biodiversity and land science research and policy communities contribute to a growing awareness of the importance of biodiversity as a “global environmental common” and of understanding the connections between biodiversity, human wellbeing, and our economy (IPBES 2019, GSDR 2019). These efforts are led by intergovernmental conventions (e.g., Convention for Biological Diversity – CBD) and platforms (e.g., Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – IPBES, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – IPCC), initiatives (e.g., Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network – GEO BON), projects (e.g., Half-Earth Project), and fora (e.g., EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform). However, much of the current discourse in the sustainable development community neglects the role of biodiversity and its interactions with land use, climate, and people in achieving global stewardship of nature. A burning challenge therefore resides in developing, adopting, and implementing transformative pathways that draw on biodiversity and simultaneously contribute to its long-term conservation. Hence, the objective of this session is to identify factors enabling and impeding the co-design of science-based pathways that integrate the conservation of biodiversity in the face of land use decisions, human development and climate change, as a mean and an end towards transformative change and sustainable development.

Themes: Integrated Action for the SDGs