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 Why biodiversity is important for development?

Biodiversity is crucial for the production of food, fish, fuel, fibre and medicines, regulation of water, air and climate, soil fertility and human wellbeing.

These products and processes provided by natural ecosystems are especially important for the poor, as they depend largely on agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestry. Healthy ecosystems also help them generate income through ecotourism and the leisure industry

So preserving biodiversity is a key element in the drive to improve economic development and reduce poverty.

According to the millennium ecosystem assessment, two-thirds of the goods provided by healthy ecosystems are in decline, compromised by over-use and destruction of habitats.



EU action plan on biodiversity

In early 2007 the EU adopted a biodiversity action plan detailing action needed by the Commission and EU governments to preserve biodiversity both in the EU and in developing countries.



 Other EU action on biodiversity


the EU has made commitments under the:

Incorporating biodiversity into development programmes



The Commission also seeks to integrate biodiversity issues when working with individual developing countries and regions to formulate their development strategy (through its Country and Regional Strategy Papers, in which beneficiary countries and the Commission agree on areas and sectors which the Commission will support).


Environmental assessment of development projects

The EU screens its development programmes through strategic environmental assessments.

  • environmental impact assessments
  • a comprehensive environmental analysis (including recommendations on how to address environmental challenges in development programmes (country environmental profiles).

Additional funding

Funds to help developing countries halt the loss of biodiversity are also available under the EU’s environment and sustainable management of natural resources programme.


The 2006 EU biodiversity in development conference was organised by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and supported by the Commission and the governments of Belgium, Finland, France and Sweden.

Its main aim was to transform political commitments into concrete action by developing recommendations on how the Commission and EU governments can integrate biodiversity into development programs and policies.

The EU biodiversity conference conclusions identify four challenges:


  • helping developing countries integrate biodiversity issues into all their policies
  • improving governance to reduce poverty and ensure sustainable use of biodiversity
  • strengthening existing instruments and policy consistency
  • recognising biodiversity in overseas countries and territories.


EU-backed biodiversity conservation programmes

ECOFAC (Ecosystèmes Forestier de l'Afrique Centrale) - in Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, and São Tomé e Príncipe

RAPAC (Réseau des aires protégées d'Afrique Centrale)

GRASP (Great Apes Survival Project)

MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants).


Last update: 01/07/2014 | Top