The Key Players in biodiversity conservation

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The Key Players

A range of key players have a role in managing biodiversity:

  • scientists and researchers
  • international organisations
  • national governments operating globally and internationally
  • local and regional governments
  • artists and poets
  • NGOs: International and local
  • Local communities including indigenous peoples, farmers, stakeholders
  • individuals
  • consumer and special interest groups, individuals as consumers
  • transnational and private enterprise

They can operate on a variety of scales, with local players being most closely involved because of their likely dependency on biodiversity for their wellbeing

However, many people argue that the global or international players wield the greatest power. Some groups are committed to conservation, while others rely on exploiting the resource, although not always for the same purposes. Conflicts are thus inevitable. 

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Global - Treaties

  • countries get together to develop wildlife conservation treaties - not 150 treaties
  • require an agreed no. of signatures before becoming an international law 
  • usually about funding conservation work, designating protected areas & regulating trade in endangered species 
  • 5 most influential treaties in effect today but agreed before the Convention on Biological Diversity was established in 1992 are:

1.) The Ramsar Convention to conserve wetlands was signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. 147 countries.

2.) The World Heritage Convention to designate and protect outstanding cultural and natural sights was signed in 1971. 180 countries. 

3.) The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Animals was signed in 1971. Has controlled trade in a range of species and their products. 166 countries. 

4.) The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals was signed in 1973. Prevents shooting of birds in passage. 90 countries.

5.) The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. 148 countries. 

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Global - TNCs (Top down)

  • TNCs can determine which goods and services are produced and how 
  • increasingly favouring freen strategies for reasons such as public image and long-term benefit
  • they are profiting direct investment for a range of climate 'proofing' and renewable energy projects as well as for traditional exploitation 
  • drive innovation and technology change by the process of technology transfer, sometimes with positive effects but more usually to the detriment of ecosystems 
  • they exploit and make money e.g. Starbucks, McDonald's - responsible for 2/3rds of Amazon rainforest destruction, Dove - Palm oil (pressure being put on them)

e.g.

  • SOCO: Oil exploitation - want to extract oil form Viginia National Park - massively biodiverse 
  • BP - oil spill - damaged a huge amount of biodiversity in the ecosystem surrounding the area it took place
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Global (top-down)

There is a range of international institutions that are significant players on a global scale:

  • UN agencies
  • the World Bank
  • the World Trade Organisation
  • bodies such as ITTO (the International Tropical Timber Organisation)
  • a cartel of tropical timber producers
  • consumer countries
  • UNESCO - International year of the forest
  • UN sustainable development 

This has developed mechanisms for forest conservation

  • some of their activities can be controversial - as many are top-down in nature - and they initially favoured large, short-term projects, rather than ones that met long term local needs in developing countries 
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Global - NGOs

  • Non-governmental organisations play a vital role in biodiversity conservaion
  • some like WWF and Greenpeace International, operate on a global scale: WWF operates in over 100 countries
  • its mission is to stop degredation of the planet's natural environment and build a future in which people live in harmony with nature
  • others are smaler, one-issue organisations such as FAN (a Bolivian conservation NGO), whose mission is to conserve biodiversity by protecting sustainable and equitable use of natura resources in easten Bolivia
  • NGOs rely on donations

NGOs vary their methods of action and do not always agree.

  • Greenpreace captures public attention by taking direct action on conservation issues such as illegal whaling
  • it achieves wide medi coverage and lobbies governments
  • not all conseravtionists faour the diret action of Greenpeace shps, which intercept Japanese whalers 
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National

  • on a national scale, governments play a vital role in the management of biodiversity, acting as both regulators and fascilitators
  • in terms of regulation, they establish and enforce laws to conserve genetic biodiversity, protect various areas and species and reuglate dmanaging activities such as usuing polluting agro-checials or relesing invasive species
  • manage natural resources, providing clean air, water or open space
  • fund preservation/conservation and development, often by system of taxes or subsidies
  • positive incentives to conserve are inreasingly used e.g. paying farmers to be stewards of the landscape and to farm in environmentally friendly ways 
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National

  • LDCs tend to care more about economic gain. St Lucia investing - wealthy
  • MDCs have more cash to spend to protect/conserve
  • governments can be corrupt especially in LDCs - may mea they have less money to spend on protection or infrastructure 
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Local

  • local communities have diverse values
  • indigenous peoples are often dependent on biodiversity for basic survival 
  • for any, lcal biodiversity has spiritual significance as well as practical value, and they have great knowkedge about local plants and their uses e.g. in traditional medicine
  • local communities of farmers or fishermen frequently have strong views about cnservation, as it conlficts with their subsistence
  • with ood management, however, local communities can form a vital force as conservation crusaders
  • there are numerous successful schemes where people manage their own local resources for ecotourim
  • in the UK, country ildlife trusts (examples of small-scale NGOs) have developed their own biodiversity plans to involve local people in conservation.
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Local

  • though the can damage the environment it has a small impact due to the fact they take little. Brazil, Masaai Mara (for self sufficiency etc)
  • need to make a living off the land 
  • want to be in charge or at least have some involement - it is going to affect them the most
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Individual

  • e.g. tourists
  • most diverse group of all, in their demands as consumers of food, fuel, water, shelter etc
  • in the develped world ethical consumerism has led to people choosing to buy environmentally friendly products e.g. dolphin friendly tuna
  • local food campaigns can challene the 'food mile' aspects of supermarket operations and consumers can inflence supermarket behaviour 
  • individuls also see ecosystems as places for spiritual renweal and recreation, and their behaviour has an enormous positive or negative impact
  • as fragile places such as the Galapagos or Antarctica begin to experience mass tourism, ecosystem management issues arise 
  • individuals such as divers, birdwatchers, fishermen or mountaineers may unite to form special interest groups 
  • their collective actions can cause degredation and damage in high-quality co-regions and hotspots
  • scientists and researchers work for a variety of nternational, natonal and non-governmental organisations
  • they pkay a vital role in monitoring the state of biodiversity and enhancing its quality 
  • some, however, are paid to find new products for pharmaceutical companies, which can lead to conflict wih indigenous peoples. 
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Individual

  • people may want to help but also may not be willing to pay high costs - consmers
  • depending on where they live they may want different things
  • they may form pressure groups
  • e.g. fairtrade products
  • ecotourism - more expensive - people may not be willing to pay the high prices
  • not all governments are in favour of conservation strategies - Chna, Liberia, Brazil
  • St Lucia, Tanzania - too remomte to damage environment, UK 
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CURRENT EXAMPLE

Infinito Gold (TNC), a Canadian mining company, just slapped Costa Rica with a $1bilion lawsuit because the nation decided to protect its rainforests rather than host an open-pit god mine.

Open-pit gold mining in Costa Rica would destroy 190 hectares of pristine forest - the rainforest hosues 5% of the world's species and has seen tremendous growth in the ecotourism industry

Over 75% of Costa Ricans oppose mining and have decided that they cannot take the risk to move forward with gold-mining in the country 

Costa Rica is not the first to be ued by Infinito Gold - in 2001, Infinito Gold locked Venezuela (evidently targetting South American countries) into a ten-year legal battle over a rejected mine. Fortunately, Infinito lost. 

Corporate profits shouldn't take precedence over the health of the people and the environment!

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