New BirdLife report investigates poverty for those living within Important Bird Areas
A new report by BirdLife International has underlined further the importance of people and their livelihoods in working toward the long-term conservation of birds and their habitats.
The report -Livelihoods and the environment at Important Bird Areas: Listening to local voices- can be downloaded directly from this page– click here
‘Livelihoods and the environment at Important Bird Areas: Listening to local voices’, is the result of a number of ‘Participatory Poverty Assessments’ carried out by BirdLife Partners in fourteen nations across the Americas, Africa and Asia.
The report presents the findings of these assessments, giving new information on the lives of local people at Important Bird Areas (IBAs), their perceptions and experiences of poverty and the role of the environment in people’s lives.
“The poor are often hidden from view. Without knowing who they are and how they depend on the environment we’re effectively limiting their involvement in decision-making.” said David Thomas, Head of Site Action Unit at BirdLife International and author of Listening to local voices. “This report has helped us to identify the marginalised groups and to understand their dependence on resources within IBAs. This knowledge is immensely important for the BirdLife Partnership; we can’t guarantee long-term wildlife conservation without incorporating the needs of people.”
Many of the world’s most impoverished countries are also those that contain the majority of the world’s Globally Threatened Birds.
“This makes attention to people’s needs all the more important.” said Dr Thomas “To make IBA strategies workable, so that local communities are not further impoverished, conservation approaches must be relevant to a climate where poverty reduction, and meeting basic needs, is high on the list of priorities for local people and their governments.”
Important Bird Areas are an important part of BirdLife International’s work. The IBA programme applies a set of internationally agreed criteria to identify sites of global importance for birds and biodiversity conservation.
“The poor are often hidden from view. Without knowing who they are and how they depend on the environment we’re effectively limiting their involvement in decision-making.” said Head of Site Action Unit at BirdLife International and —Dr David Thomas, Head of Site Action Unit, BirdLife International
At many IBAs, people form Local Conservation Groups - organised, independent groups of voluntary individuals who work in partnership with relevant stakeholders, to promote conservation and sustainable development at IBAs and other key biodiversity sites.
“Linking local people and conservation is not a new concept, but this report emphasises its importance.” highlights Dr Thomas. “At many IBAs, support to the development of sustainable livelihoods is forming a successful and integrated part of the conservation approach. Good examples are ongoing ecotourism initiatives in Bolivia, fruit-farming initiatives in Burundi and sustainable farming practices using non-timber forest products in Ghana.”
The report, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, draws together a number of key lessons learnt from the study, highlighting the multidimensional aspect of poverty and the need for more focus on the strong links between the poor and the environment.
Other findings are more specific to Important Bird Areas: “The results indicate that environmental resources of IBAs can help reduce the vulnerability of communities, opening the door for linking conservation to poverty reduction.” states Dr. Thomas.
Enhanced measures to influence policy processes also feature heavily among the conclusions; “Many decisions are made nationally or are affected by global processes, and engaging effectively at other levels will be necessary for local efforts to achieve their potential.” the report concludes.
Supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Development Cooperation