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Biodiplomacy Initiative
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Policy Research on Biodiversity Governance

In the last few decades, international biodiversity diplomacy (bio-diplomacy) has undergone deep changes in both its nature and scope. These changes have been characterized by an intensification and diversification of relevant constituents and actors, the increased complexity of relevant subject matter, and a broadening of the diplomatic agenda to include areas with a strong connection to science and technology policy, business, standard setting, and rule making.

Global challenges facing the international community today include the creation of safe and equitable mechanisms and institutions capable of providing effective guidance for the development and use of biotechnology, the links between climate change and biodiversity, traditional knowledge and adaptation to climate change and indigenous peoples.

A greater level of awareness among relevant actors is needed within this complicated environment regarding the scientific, governance, and ethical issues that now take up so much space across diplomatic agendas. 

Recent reports are beginning to emphasize the vital relationship between biological resources, well-functioning ecosystems, and economic development at multiple levels, particularly emphasizing the vulnerability of local communities.  Hence increasing attention is being placed at community and national biodiversity policy planning levels on human wellbeing, which implies an overall sense of welfare of people, and the socio-ecological interactions in bio-cultural environments.

Addressing the Challenges 

The  Biodiplomacy Programme engages in research relevant to international and national debates on the links between biological resources, climate change, traditional knowledge and sovereign and cultural rights.   Increasingly the programme is looking at biodiversity issues at the community level.

The areas of research and policy contribution include: 

New Projects - 2010-2012

  • Community Wellbeing Assessments 
  • Biodiversity Health and Traditional Knowledge
  • Rights Based Approaches
  • Trade-offs between Conservation and Development - Case of Land Use Change in Malaysia and  Indonesia
  • Landuse Options to Reduce Biofuel-Driven Biodiversity Loss

In addition to peer-reviewed journal articles, the research is presented in concise, policy relevant messages in the Institute's UNU-IAS Reports.  Biodiplomacy relevant reports can be accessed here. The team researchers also convene roundtable discussion sessions and seminars; write website  editorials and environmental commentaries; and host press briefings. These can be viewed here

View the pages: UNU-IAS and 2010 International Year of Biodiversity

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