Save the Pandas and the People too

Diane Adams
Jun 26, 2013

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has posted a draft of their first ever Biodiversity Policy for public comment. It may not be surprising to some that this is USAID’s first Biodiversity Policy – biodiversity conservation and international development often seem to be at odds, but no more.

Save the lemurs and sea turtles… doesn't have to be at the expense of a major source of food and protein for rural poor. Preserve and protect this national park… should help rather than displace local villages when it is established.

Biodiversity conservation has had a storied past but has also come along way. Such a long way, that the objective of the new Policy is to Advance biodiversity conservation as an essential component of human development. And to do this, we need science to build an evidence base and change the dialogue between environment and human development – not just the environmental science majors but scientists across many disciplines from Agriculture to Zoonotics.

  • Peace and Conflict studies addressing the resilience of people affected by conflict could quantify the contribution of wild foods – plants, fish and animals – to surviving when livelihoods and markets are disrupted.
  • A marine scientist studying the increase in fish biomass within a marine protected area could extend their study to include the effects of the protected area on nutrition and income to the neighboring villages due to the improved fish stocks or tourism potential.
  • An epidemiologist combating malaria could investigate the effects of land use change on mosquito breeding and transmission.

USAID is currently pushing an evidence-based approach to improve its development programming across all of the sectors. The draft Biodiversity Policy emphasizes science and technology and building this evidence base. How could you modify part of your research or approach to incorporate biodiversity or international development and help to build the evidence to save our natural resources and improve the human condition worldwide?

Photo by Chris Gin downloaded from the Wikipedia Commons, under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic lisence.

Reviewed by Stephanie Byng.

Diane Adams


This blog does not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, its Council, Board of Directors, officers, or members. AAAS is not responsible for the accuracy of this material. AAAS has made this material available as a public service, but this does not constitute endorsement by the association.

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