UNDP Portrays Latin America and Caribbean as a Biodiversity Superpower

UNDP2 December 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a report titled "Latin America and the Caribbean: A Biodiversity Superpower" during the Ibero-American Summits of Heads of State and Governments held in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

The report is part of a UNDP initiative to assess and communicate the economic contribution of biodiversity and ecosystems services to development and equity in the region. It aims to inform policy makers and businesses in the region about the economic risks and opportunities of undertaking productive activities on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The report is also a tool to assist governments and stakeholders to incorporate ecosystem services into economic planning, policy and investment at the sectoral level. It argues that ecosystem services can build resilience to climate change in the agriculture sector by protecting genetic resources, soil fertility, and water quality, as well as through the conservation of protected areas.

The report notes that six of the world's most biodiverse countries are located in Latin America and the Caribbean, namely Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela; and that South America alone accounts for more than 40% of the Earth's biodiversity. It describes the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services in economic growth and equity, with a focus on agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism, protected areas and hydrological services.

Among the recommendations provided by the report are: applying tax breaks to direct public and private investments to conserve ecosystems; raising awareness among policymakers, consumers and the rural poor; and investing in biodiversity and ecosystems services-based technologies, products and markets.

UNDP launched this initiative in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and with the financial support from the government of Spain. [UNDP Press Release] [Report Website]