World Bank Says Biodiversity is Critical to Ending Global Poverty

Written by on March 14, 2014 in Green, World - No comments

eleThe World Bank, a leading global financier of biodiversity conservation, has said that biodiversity is critical to ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity for the millions who depend on nature for their livelihoods. It pointed out that the disappearance or decrease in number of animal, plant and marine species causes people, especially the poorest in the world, to suffer.

Animal, plant and marine biodiversity helps keep ecosystems functional. Healthy ecosystems allow people to survive, get enough food to eat, and make a living. 75 percent of the world’s poor live in rural regions and depend on nature for their food and livelihoods. Therefore, a commitment to alleviating global poverty is incomplete without a commitment to preserving biodiversity around the world.

The World Bank has actively invested more than $1 billion to protect nature and wildlife. The Bank is also the largest provider of development assistance to fight environment and natural resources crime, with $300 million invested in forestry, fisheries and wildlife law enforcement. At a time when habitats are disappearing and poaching is on the rise, collective action to protect biodiversity has become crucial.

The World Bank cites the case of Sierra Leone to show how biodiversity impacts livelihoods of the world’s poorest. In Sierra Leone, overfishing and pollution has drastically reduced the volume and diversity of fish stocks. The Bank engaged with communities to bring the marine ecosystem back from the brink. It helped improve surveillance and prosecution of illegal fishing, and provided training on sustainable fishing practices. Nutrition and livelihoods improved for local villages as a result.

The Bank’s support has also helped preserve 480,000 hectares of coastal zone in Guinea-Bissau for its resident marine life and an emerging tourism industry. By giving residents in Brazil’s Acre State resources to manage their forest resources sustainably, the Bank helped push deforestation rates down by 70% and raise real GDP by over 44%. A World Bank project that supported conservation and sustainable management of forests and rural areas in Honduras increased community incomes by over 300% and created over 8,000 jobs.

Source: The World Bank

Image Credit: Flickr via boretom

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