by Olivier Hasinger, Climate Change research associate at the Global Marine and Polar Programme 
 
© Pedro Cordero - UICN MesoaméricaLivelihoods depend on biological diversity for food security, fuel, health, provision of clean air and water. The majority of the 1.2 Billion people who suffer from malnutrition in the world are farmers, small breeders, fishermen and indigenous people who are poor and whose resources are part of the biological diversity within which they live.

How to Deliver Benefits to both Livelihoods and Nature? The lessons learned emphasize the importance of adopting integrated approaches following a community-based management strategy with financial support and transfer of knowledge from all relevant fields (International Institutions, Local NGOs, Private Sector, Researchers and Politics).

The Livelihoods Day at the CBD meeting aims to have an impact beyond the meetings in international conferences and urge the decision makers to adopt resolution and policies which will help international organizations and local NGOs to have tangible impacts on the ground. It aims as well to help all the relevant stakeholders find concrete solutions to implement sustainable carbon capture projects with community benefits.

The day focused on action through examples, best practices and learning from challenges. The purpose was to offer the opportunity to grassroots organizations and experts to share their achievements and best practices on large-scale restoration and agroforestry projects, participatory approach with local communities, carbon and biodiversity management, food security and livelihoods enhancement. The Livelihoods Day has provided a wide range of concrete examples and a platform of interactions and exchanges between COP participants from all relevant fields. Several initiatives, such as the Livelihoods Fund, the TEEB study and the Bonn Challenge have been showcased to explain how they are playing an important role in terms of results on the ground and concrete positive effects for both livelihoods and biodiversity conservation.

As outcomes of the Livelihoods Day, I would like to mention a few points, which have been raised by international experts and project developers and which hopefully will be taken into account by decision makers during the high level segment of the CBD COP 11, taking place next week. They are key success factors for the implementation of restoration and conservation projects aiming at providing biodiversity and community benefits as well as climate change mitigation effects. They are articulated around four key words:

Local Ownership: It is crucial that local communities take ownership of a project rather than forcing them to implement any particular project or to change their practices.

Local Needs: it is absolutely necessary to secure the primary needs of the community, including its basic survival needs such as food, water and sanitation. Stakeholders have to be committed to making sure that, from the start, the community has the benefit of what it produces. Once these basic needs of subsistence are fulfilled, the extra production from implemented projects could be additional revenues for community developments.

Ecosystem services: knowing the potential values of the ecosystems services: depending on the areas and the type of ecosystem: it is necessary to evaluate what are the keys ecosystem services which can create benefits for the local communities.

Value Chain: consultation and information sharing between all links in the value chain, including local stakeholders’ consultation.