ABOUT THIS SECTOR
Biodiversity is the variety of all living organisms, their habitats and their interactions. Biodiversity and resilient ecosystems support livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, enable access to water and to health, are closely linked to governance and security, and contribute significantly to climate change mitigation and adaptation. For these reasons maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services is crucial to ensuring sustainable livelihoods and the world-wide reduction of poverty.
However, global biodiversity and ecosystem services are under threat due to land use changes, unsustainable use of natural resources, pollution and climate change. Scientists warn that the biodiversity crisis risks causing irreversible changes that will profoundly affect human society.
Around 70% of the world's poor live in rural areas and depend directly on biological diversity for their livelihoods. Moreover, abundant natural resources offer many countries huge potential for growth. However, growth is not sustainable if it damages the environment or depletes resources. Biodiversity and development are closely linked and mutually reinforcing: healthy ecosystems sustain development while development impacts on habitats. Seeing ecosystem conservation and restoration as an opportunity to generate growth, create jobs and reduce poverty through a green economy contributes to the EU's development agenda.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 reflects the EU’s commitment to the protection and sustainable management of biodiversity.
The Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development recently launched the new flagship initiative EU Biodiversity for Life (B4Life) which is designed to help the poorest countries protect ecosystems, combat wildlife crime and develop green economies. It takes the novel approach of emphasising the economic benefits of protecting biodiversity and ecosystems in the interest of sustaining livelihoods and reducing poverty.