Biodiversity and ecosystem services underpin economic growth, sustainable development, and human well-being. Yet ongoing losses in biodiversity continue, resulting in grave reductions to ecosystem goods and services, and this negatively impacts economic prosperity and environmental sustainability. Overexploitation of natural resources has widely disrupted the equilibrium within local and regional ecological systems, and Earth’s ecosystems are now being degraded. Politically, we have failed to invest in ecosystem health and sustainability even as human well-being in the coming decades will largely depend on the conservation and restoration of ecosystems to contribute to long-term sustainable development.
Agricultural Diversity and Agroecology
Recent agricultural development policies have begun to shift away from the promotion of a few staple crops toward practices that encourage crop diversity. The belief is that crop diversification is an effective strategy for addressing loss of biodiversity, rural poverty, and climate change. One solution is promoting a circular agriculture system that better coordinates the planting industry, the livestock industry, the waste disposal industry, and agricultural product services as connected links in a chain to build a unified whole.
Sustainable Use of Biodiversity
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 40% of the world's economy is based on the use of biological resources. The sustainable use of these resources is therefore critical not only for the protection of biological resources, but for the flourishing of the global economy. If we learn to apply lessons on sustainable use from agriculture and livestock management, forestry, fisheries, biofuels production, bioprospecting, and more, we can better restore and create healthy ecosystems that deliver long-term economic benefits to people while protecting biodiversity and ecosystems. As underlined in the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, sustainable use is also an effective tool to reduce local and regional poverty while achieving dignity of life for people everywhere.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Benefit Sharing
The traditional ecological knowledge of indigenous and local communities is embodied in the rich global diversity of cultural and social traditions. In promoting the integration of traditional ecological knowledge into sustainable montane development strategies, both biological and cultural diversity are better protected. By identifying and supporting innovative adaptation strategies, mountain peoples and communities have the chance to become more resilient in the face of global change, rather than being the passive victims of these changes. Indigenous mountain communities can better adapt to change as they become engaged in shaping their own destiny. In this way, they can contribute to the sustainable development of their local regions and become beacons of hope for many people across the global south.