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Geographical indications (GIs) have been a neglected area in the various fora addressing biodiversity and intellectual property. This policy brief focuses on basic GI concepts and the overall conclusion of the overview of over 30 GI cases.
The document demonstrates the following observations:
The paper concludes that indications of source, basic labelling of generics and the possibility of registering GIs according to the specific value chain should be considered within GI implementation strategies. In addition, promoting innovative approaches to marketing with a geographical identity is required as well.
Final general recommendations are that:
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) committee on intellectual property and genetic resources (IGC) was created in 2000. This report argues that the IGC has an historic opportunity to contribute towards providing meaningful responses to concerns relating to biodiversity and intellectual property (IP).
In this regard, the study emphasises that:
The document figures that while a binding instrument is favourable, soft law solutions should not be ruled out provided they address concerns effectively. Furthermore, it points out these recommendations:
Reports on a project which sought to understand the dynamics of wildlife human interactions in India and Norway (in a sample of multiuse landscapes) and to develop mechanisms of coexistence suitable to the countries. The project focussed on species that regularly come into conflict with humans, but which reflect
the diversity of forms these conflicts can take.
The report makes numerous recommendations for further research and addresses a number of policy implications arising from the study. These address wildlife management policy at both state and national level and some consideration is also given to the implications for Convention on Biological Diversity. The authors challenge stakeholders and decision makers to assess and implement actions to achieve a better coexistence between humans and wildlife based on the report's findings.
Climate change is causing significant mass loss of glaciers in high mountains worldwide. This report calls for accelerating research, monitoring and modeling of glaciers, snow and their role in water supplies.
Although glacier systems are inherently complex overall trends indicate that globally glaciers are receding. This is likely to accelerate in the coming decades. Impacts of the shrinkage of mountain glaciers include changes in the flow characteristics of glacier-fed rivers, glacier lake outburst floods and changing flood severity and frequency. This will most likely increase human vulnerability in concerned areas, and have major impacts on food security.
Recommendations of this report are as follows:
With the current rate of biodiversity loss greater than the natural background rate of extinction, a critical question addressed by this technical paper is ‘how much might climate change (natural or human induced) enhance or inhibit these losses in biodiversity?
Key findings of the document include:
The document’s conclusion includes the following suggestions:
This article summarises research carried out in Namaqualand in South Africa that identifies the discrepancies between rhetoric and practices in conservation. The author points at an on-going conflict between conservation and redistribution of land, suggesting that powerful conservationists tend to win this competition.
The article underlines that apartheid resulted in Africans being dispossessed of land on a large scale and restricted to overcrowded reserves. Particularly, the resulting land dispossession in Namaqualand confined non-whites to mission stations, which acted as places of refuge. However, people continue to feel strongly about the loss of their ancestral land, and they are keen to increase their land base.The article reviews the story of Namaqua National Park that was established in 2002. The paper demonstrates how the expansion of the park outcompetes land reform in the area by the conservation fund being willing to pay far above the market price, which resulted in remaining landless neighbouring communities as they are.
Although land redistribution may be understood from a developmental point of view, the paper highlights the strong opposition from conservationists to this direction. In this respect, the article finds the following:
Wild foods including bushmeat have long been recognised as important famine foods underpinning coping strategies for poor people. Yet there is mounting pressure from conservation agencies to limit the extraction of wild resources, particularly bushmeat. This ODI policy brief outlines research on the links between poverty and wild food use in a poor community of Congolese farming households with an average income of less than one dollar per person per day.
This brief looks at the role corruption plays in structuring wildlife governance systems in Africa by comparing the differing governance structures which have elicited variant economic and ecological outcomes. Wildlife is an important economic asset in Africa worth billions of dollars annually. The biological diversity is a natural spectacle and priceless global heritage.
The author notes that Namibia is Africa’s best example of the role that institutional reforms play in increasing wildlife population and investment in wildlife-based enterprises. Local communities and private landholders have been involved in decision making about wildlife use on their lands what has in turn generated strong incentives for local investments in conservation. This attracts wildlife-based enterprises that contribute to local and national economic growth and encourages further investments in conservation in a sustainable and virtuous cycle.
In Tanzania however, reforms have made limited headway in the country and wildlife populations are declining as a result. Although reforms have been proposed and donors have extended support, governments are maintaining centralised wildlife governance arrangements, resisting the use of market-based mechanisms and thus creating opportunities for corruption.This has led to reduced benefits at the national level, by preventing market-based pricing of wildlife, and at the local level, through the failure to devolve greater rights over wildlife to local communities. These factors undermine incentives for conserving wildlife at all levels.
The brief presents the following lessons from the comparison between Namibia and Tanzania:
To attain better outcomes, the brief suggests the following strategic responses to the political challenges facing wildlife and natural resource governance reforms:
Orangutans survive only in the dwindling tropical rainforests of Borneo and northern Sumatra, being dependent on the forest for food and nesting sites. This document describes how orangutan populations are seriously affected when their forest is destroyed or logged, not least because they are often killed for meat or to protect newly planted crops. The authors have has used the latest satellite imagery and data from the Government of Indonesia to assess changes in the forests in one part of south-east Asia. The results indicate that illegal logging, fires and plantations of crops such as palm oil are now intruding extensively into Indonesia’s national parks which, for example, are the last safe-holds of the orangutan.
The report shows how in the past five years more than 90 per cent of over 40 parks have now been impacted putting at risk national and regional attempts to meet the 2010 biodiversity target. The driving forces are not impoverished farmers, but what appears to be well-organised companies with heavy machinery and strong international links to the global markets. The report describes the Indonesian government’s new initiative focusing on new and specially trained ranger units to win back the national parks. It is starting to show some promising results with illegal logging halted in two parks in 2006. But the authorities need more assistance. National parks represent a common heritage and their protection and enforcement is essential in international conservation. It is recommended that Indonesia and countries involved in processes such as FLEG consider the following actions:
Conservation work in conflict zones and across international borders has impacts on more than just wildlife populations and their habitats. It can also have a profound effect on the peace and conflict dynamics in a region. This report details how while the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) in the Virunga-Bwindi region in Rwanda implements activities with the primary objective of conserving mountain gorilla populations and habitat, anecdotal evidence suggests that these activities have also improved communication and dialogue among different authorities in the region. This has thereby fostered relationships and cooperation that are fundamental to peacebuilding. Conversely, decades of experience have shown that conservation interventions can cause tensions and contribute to conflict. This is especially portentous in conflict zones, where any external intervention can unintentionally fuel tensions and conflict by sending the ‘wrong’ message or entrenching perceived inequities.
This document provides a systematic understanding of how IGCP conservation and development activities affect peace and conflict dynamics in the Great Lakes region. The emergent and adaptive research process outlined here resulted in three case studies on the links between conservation, peace and conflict, as well as lessons on the methodology itself. The authors find that the peace impacts were mostly associated with the fostering of communication and cooperation at different levels, which provide a basis for trust-building and construction of shared identities around conservation issues. The conflict impacts were related to the potential for inadvertently emphasizing politically sensitive differences among groups, trade-offs between peacebuilding at different levels or between conservation and peace/conflict interests, and perceived inequities. Additional points raised include:
Lebanon does not currently have baseline data on which to formulate climate adaptation and mitigation measures. This paper aims to prompt dialogue on the anticipated impact of climate change on the country, acting as a preliminary literature review and consulting experts to identify key species in Lebanon which may be impacted by it.
Each section of the report focuses different flora and fauna as well as the environments they inhabit and points out key impacts of climate change. In addition, the experts consulted suggest a number of species to be used for monitoring purposes.
The author calls on policy-makers, civil society, academia and the private sector to address the following issues:
Tibetan grasslands constitute one of the most important grazing ecosystems in the world and encompass the source areas of many major Asian rivers. While a variety of government policies have been applied in recent years to protect the ecology and biodiversity of China’s grasslands, there is growing concern that national and global economic considerations have overshadowed emerging conservation agendas. This article critically reviews several key policies affecting pastoralists, with special attention given to the Sanjiangyuan region of Qinghai Province.
The document finds that since 2000, when the Western Development Strategy began, China and the world have come to recognize the global importance of the Tibetan plateau region, both as a “water tower” and as a geographic region with a unique natural and cultural heritage. In practice, however, emphasis has been primarily on conservation matters, including the establishment in 2003 of the second largest nature reserve in the world. In many instances, the socio-cultural impact has been dramatic, demanding much of local people including change/loss of livelihoods and breakdown of community ties.
Specific impacts noted include:
Despite some benefits of these policies, the author argues that the speed and apparent resolve with which such sociocultural and development transitions are being introduced in grassland areas raise the important question whether there is any other way by which so-called “sustainable development” (and biodiversity conservation) can come effectively to the Tibetan grasslands before all alternative doors are closed.
The article proposes a contrasting and more people-centered approach to conservation and development, drawing on nearly 10 years’ experience of active collaboration with local communities, NGOs, and government authorities in the headwaters of the Yangtze River. Citing the success of the Yangtze River Headwaters Sustainable Development Project - a collaborative development project of Plateau Perspectives, the Upper Yangtze Organization, and the Government of Zhiduo County - it argues that a model for combining conservation and development through genuine community participation could usefully be applied more widely in China’s grasslands, and possibly more generally throughout western China.
Use of neglected and underutilised species (NUS) can play an important role in improving food security, conserving biodiversity and generating income and employment. Value chain development (VCD) can be a useful tool for realising these prospects, by linking supply capacities to market opportunities. This publication, commissioned by the Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species (GFU), presents guidelines and good practices for value chain development of neglected and underutilised species.
Specifically, the report:
The guidelines draw upon lessons learnt and good practices described in eight case studies implemented by the GFU and its partners, other literature on NUS and VCD, and the experience of the author in horticultural marketing and VCD. The case studies assess approaches and results of VCD for various NUS in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America.
The case studies highlight the narrow the gap between success (e.g. income generation, biodiversity conservation) and failure (e.g. market distortion, crowding-out of species), and hence the importance of sound and professional VCD facilitation. While providing detailed guidelines, the author emphasises that NUS-VCD is not about just solving problems, but about choosing the right approaches able to unlock the potential of NUS, which remains still largely untapped.
Climate change will profoundly affect agriculture and food security worldwide and will particularly impact smallholder farmers in poor countries. Based on a short review of recent scientific literature, this document argues that the most effective strategy to adapt agriculture to climate change is to increase biodiversity.
Key points include:
In contrast, the document argues that there is no evidence that genetically engineered (GE) plants can ever play any role to increase food security in a changing climate. It stresses that GE plants:
The authors emphasise that the same conclusion is reflected in the recent IAASTD report, which considered GE crops to be irrelevant to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to eradicating hunger. They also note that, by reducing agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions and by using farming techniques that increase soil carbon, bio-diverse farming can also contribute to mitigating climate change.
The document concludes by recommending that policy makers follow the IAASTD’s recommendations and invest more in agricultural R&D that is geared towards modern, effective, bio-diverse farming.
The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) is the primary ministerial level forum for environment and development issues in Africa. It has helped launch various environmental initiatives at the regional level, and these have greatly influenced environmental policy in Africa. This institutional history report looks at AMCEN in the broader context of decision making for environment and development in Africa over the period 2006–2008.
The report focuses on how Africa’s intergovernmental bodies and Africa’s development partners are supporting sustainable development in Africa. It provides a historical overview of AMCEN, including its many milestone decisions and programmmes, as well as an overview of NEPAD. It also provides an overview of key meetings, decisions and declarations on environment and development as they relate to the key AMCEN priorities of:
The report ends with an overview of the International Institute for Sustainable Development's (IISD) African Regional Coverage Project which aims to give African meetings and activities a higher exposure to the international community, reversing the information flow and giving African policy-makers a voice in their own priority setting.
This paper reflects on experiences from research and interventions in the Sahel on management of renewable natural resources - soils, water, forests, and biodiversity - for the purpose of food and income generation. It focuses on local governance institutions in relation to natural resource entitlements, use and decision-making on management in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
The study explores the range of existing local governance institutions that is best managed at this level for each resource type, prevailing local institutions for governing natural resources and trends. Particular attention is paid to the influence of customary institutions, project interventions, and democratic decentralisation.
It is argued that development agencies can play a role in strengthening local governance institutions for sustainable natural resource management by:
The paper concludes that effective local governance institutions for natural resource management contribute to sustainability, local economic development, and conflict prevention. The need for such institutions is increasing, given the growing pressure on, and competition over, land and natural resources. The authors argue that policies in support of natural resource management benefit from pooling knowledge and research, joint strategy development and division of labour amongst development partners. Ultimately, they argue, such policies will be judged on the extent to which these strengthen local capacities to manage and use natural resources in a sustainably way and enhance justice in natural resource governance.
Humans have always depended upon natural ecosystems to supply a range of services useful for their survival and well-being. However, with widespread urbanisation, modernisation, and globalisation, along with the primacy of capitalist economic models, the obvious reliance of humans on ecosystems has become diluted for many, and difficult to maintain for others. This report presents the findings of a situation analysis, covering the arid and semi-arid lands of southern Africa. The authors discuss evidence of the links between ecosystem services and human well-being, and especially the opportunities for poverty alleviation through the provision and management of ecosystem services.
Focusing specifically on Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe the document highlights how across all these selected countries, a broad gradient of decreasing aridity is evident at a sub-continental scale from the west coasts of Namibia and South Africa to the east coast of Mozambique. A summary list is established of all ecosystem services and their categorisation as provisioning, supporting, regulating or cultural.
Areas considered in this study include:
The authors conclude that investments in managing and securing ecosystem services alone will not eradicate poverty. It needs to be part, but a significant part, of broader poverty alleviation initiatives. They also note that there is inadequate consideration of poverty alleviation issues by ecosystem management agencies, and there is practically no consideration of ecosystem resources and impacts by social welfare or economic development agencies (other than tourism projects). A number of other conclusions and recommendations are outlined.
Sahelian rural populations’ needs are sourced from on-farm indigenous tree species. However, access, use and management of indigenous tree species within their territories are restricted by forestry laws. This has built suspicion and discontent between foresters and natural resource users. Natural resource users argue that they own the trees on their farms; in contrast, the state claims to own protected indigenous trees on farms as stipulated in the forestry laws. These mismatches have served to increase deforestation despite stringent penalties and use of permits and licenses.
This brief argues that there is a need to move beyond these forestry laws to find new sustainable solutions. It is asserted that to deal with the mismatches between foresters and natural resource users, Sahelian governments should work with rural communities and other stakeholders to amend their forestry laws to:
It is noted that, in countries where natural resource users and by-laws have been recognised and integrated in conventional law, there is improved access, use and management of indigenous tree species.