Report: Mainstreaming, monitoring and measuring Biodiversity in Dutch Development Cooperation

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One of the current major challenges is the unprecedented pace of biodiversity loss. A letter sent by BHOS in early 2023 to the Dutch parliament raised the need to address unprecedented biodiversity loss which has detrimental impact on existing objectives of poverty reduction, improved food and nutrition security, water security, gender inclusion and human rights. This has made the mainstreaming of the biodiversity in overseas development assistance (ODA) increasingly important, thereby integrating environmental, social and economic concerns. 

This newly published report addresses the following key question: 

How can biodiversity be looked at in a meaningful way in interventions that aim to contribute at scale to food security, climate resilience and/or economic development?

In the report you will read more about the following: 

  • Biodiversity: outlines biodiversity as the variety of life on Earth, including all living organisms, as well as the ecological systems and processes that support them. These systems and processes are critical for maintaining resilience and ‘nature’s contribution to people. This contribution can be divided in regulating, material and non-material contributions. 
  • Drivers of biodiversity change: Biodiversity is driven, either directly or indirectly, by multiple interdependent drivers. These direct drivers are exploitation, land use change, pollution, invasive species and climate change. The indirect drivers are demographic, sociocultural, economic, technological innovation, institutions and governance, and conflict epidemics. 
  • Complex relations between biodiversity, food security and poverty reduction: The drivers that affect biodiversity (and its regulating, material and non material contribution) subsequently impact food & nutrition security and poverty reduction. Equally food & nutrition security and poverty reduction can impact the drivers of biodiversity. 
  • Operationalising biodiversity mainstreaming: To operationalise biodiversity mainstreaming in ODA has been challenging due to institutional complexities. There multiple pathways towards mainstreaming biodiversity at project and programme level, here ten principles are suggested, namely: adopting an integrated spatial approach, conducting biodiversity assessments, developing biodiversity sensitive project designs, incorporating biodiversity positive actions, engaging stakeholders, fostering partnerships, monitoring and evaluating biodiversity outcomes, promoting knowledge sharing and capacity development, building innovative financial models, and stimulating biodiversity friendly trade policies.

About this report

This study was carried out by Wageningen University & Research and was commissioned and financed by the Netherlands Food Partnership within the context of the Knowledge Base programme Biodiversity in a nature-inclusive society.


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Mariëlle Karssenberg

Knowledge Broker - Netherlands Food Partnership

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