17 Oct 2012

Working together out of poverty

By David Thomas

This year’s United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty coincides with the Conference of Parties (COP11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Hyderabad, India. The themes of the two events are closely linked. The world’s poorest people are often those most directly dependent on the products and services that biodiversity provides, and declines in biodiversity hits the poor the hardest.

The theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, “Working together out of poverty”, is very close to BirdLife International’s guiding principle of “working together for birds and people”. BirdLife has long been aware of the links between the health of biodiversity and ecosystems and the well-being of the poor, and the opportunities conservation provides to lift people out of poverty and make the natural services they depend on more secure and resilient. “The links between biodiversity and livelihoods are experienced by millions of poor people at the local level. BirdLife is empowering local organisations to set and deliver the agenda for conservation and development” David Thomas, Head of Communities and Livelihoods. Among a number of publications that will be launched at CBD COP11 with BirdLife’s involvement, three in particular have a direct link with poverty eradication.

BirdLife Partners are working with communities at Important Birds Areas on projects that address all the dimensions of poverty, from securing access to natural resources and the means of livelihood, to ending seasonal food insecurity, and raising the status of women in the community; providing access to education, sanitation and clean water; gaining recognition for community groups, and giving them a voice in the decisions that affect them; and restoring degraded habitats to improve resilience. BirdLife’s Local Empowerment Programme is focused on leveraging local power and building the capacity and influence of the grassroots to address their development needs and conserve their natural heritage.