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Commodities and Biodiversity in the Andes, Mekong and East African Great Lakes Regions


Analyses and tools to help respond to future pressures on ecosystems


Read the project summary report on activities and impacts here

Outputs

Project summary report

Spatial visualisation tool

Potential future threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Andes, Mekong and East African Great Lakes Regions 

Status and trends reviews on Commodities and Biodiversity in the:
Watersheds of the Andes
Great Lakes of East and Central Africa
Greater Mekong and its Headwaters

Methods reviews on mapping biodiversity, ecosystem services and agricultural suitability, using land-use change models and developing future scenarios

Capacity Development Assessment Tool

Videos (watch 3,4,5,7, and 10)

Blogs from the scenarios development workshops in the Andes and Mekong regions, and from the scenarios-based policy reviews in the Andes, Great Lakes and Mekong regions.

Photos from the scenarios development workshop in the Andes region, and from the scenarios-based policy reviews in the Andes, Great Lakes and Mekong regions.

  • E-Learning course modules on mapping biodiversity, ecosystem services and agricultural suitability, using land-use change models and developing future scenarios

Two free webinars:

 

Can we help you?

The Challenge

Biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Great Lakes of East Central Africa, the Greater Mekong and its Headwaters, and the Watersheds of the Andes support millions of people and all sectors of the national economies. All three regions overlap with parts of the world’s major biodiversity hotspots. In all three regions, there is also a strong push for economic development, mainly based on natural resources, putting ecosystems increasingly under threat from commodity-driven transformation, whilst the capacity to address these growing pressures is lagging behind.

To prioritise and focus action and develop more robust and “future proof” policies, decision-makers need knowledge and tools to help them consider the effects of potential future human-induced landscape change on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Our solution & impact

The Commodities and Biodiversity project sought to explore pressures and potential impacts of future commodity-driven scenarios of change, taking into account plausible socio-economic trends and climate change, based on regional expert input. It also aimed to use such information to support the review and strengthening of agricultural development policy in the Great Lakes of East Central Africa; the Greater Mekong and its Headwaters; and the Watersheds of the Andes.

The project:

  • Collected information on the past trends and current situation regarding the pressures on biodiversity and ecosystem services in each of the three regions.
  • Conducted literature reviews on methods for different elements of spatial mapping and scenario development and made these available as technical reports and an e-learning course.
  • Adapted and developed regionally specific future scenarios using input from a wide range of stakeholders in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Scenarios focused on socio-economic changes such as markets, governance, broad economic developments, and infrastructure.
  • Developed a spatial framework that allows the evaluation of threats and potential impacts on biodiversity of future land-use changes under different socio-economic scenarios.
  • Conducted outreach and dissemination through workshops, collaboration and a web-based tool that allows easy exploration of the results for the analyses within each study region. Policy evaluation workshops reviewed the results and assessed the robustness of national policies in the face of future developments and uncertainty.

The workshops allowed participants from different sectors of government and civil society to think about possible futures together and use the scenarios and modelled impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services to inform national planning for adaptation to climate change or agricultural development.

As a result of the scenario building workshop held in Viet Nam in 2013, Cambodia’s Climate Change Priorities Action Plan for Agriculture 2014-2018 features scenario-guided priority-setting in the face of climate change, and a strong focus on climate-smart agriculture.

In Colombia, a workshop participant on the team drafting Colombia’s Implementation Plan for the National Adaptation Strategy for Climate Change planned to present recommendations to include the perspectives of environmental organizations participating in the workshop to the ministerial team drafting the Plan.

In the Greater Mekong region, the project team contributed to WWF’’s technical input into the Investing in Natural Capital for a Sustainable Future in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), a meeting document for 4th GMS Environment Ministers’ Meeting.

Finally, this project was designed to contribute to UNEP’s work on supporting “Ecosystems Management through the Landscape Approach” and is embedded as such in its Programme of Work for 2014-2017.

 

Expertise & Team

This work is led by Marieke Sassen who has experience in interdisciplinary research on conservation and development. Arnout van Soesbergen and Andy Arnell developed and implemented the spatial framework for assessing potential impacts of future land-use change on biodiversity.

Sarah Darrah, Yara Shennan-Farpón and Sarah Ivory provided support in scenario guided policy reviews and spatial mapping.

Marieke sassen

Marieke Sassen

Senior Programme Officer

Arnout van soesbergen

Arnout van Soesbergen

Programme Officer

Andy arnell crop

Andy Arnell

Programme Officer

Sarah ivory

Sarah Ivory

Programme Officer

Partners & Donors

This work was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. UNEP-WCMC worked with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Kassel University, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) and other partners, to develop and quantify socio-economic scenarios for each region, model scenario-driven land-use change and engage with national stakeholders and policy processes.

Additional funding by UN Environment supported development of the e-Learning modules.