and Expert Workshop ANNEX 3
the Ecosystem Approach to implement the CBD
A summary of
lessons and recommendations from three regional workshops
held in S. America, Africa and SE Asia, were designed
in response to decision V/6 (taken in May 2000) of
the fifth Conference of the Parties (COP5) of the
Convention on Biological Diversity. The workshops
aimed to catalyse and facilitate the practical implementation
of the Ecosystem Approach (EA) under the CBD.
The workshops aimed to use case studies and discussions
with key stakeholders in the region to provide lessons
for the practical implementation of the EA. Specifically,
the workshops aimed to:
awareness in the region by using case studies to illustrate
aspects of the EA under the CBD
• Examine perceived constraints in using the
approach with a variety of stakeholders
• Share experiences from the region of opportunities
for taking action under the EA
• Identify some key priority measures that are
needed to facilitate implementation of the EA in the
• Identify capacity building priorities (human
• Suggest when other approaches are more appropriate.
studies and participants
The workshop objectives were addressed in a series
of case studies and discussions in working groups
and plenary. A team of regional experts selected the
case studies with the aim of identifying activities
in a range of CBD thematic areas, at a range of scales
and with a diversity of stakeholders. In addition
to the National CBD Focal Points, participants in
the workshop represented a range of local, national,
regional and international organisations.
Misconceptions about the Ecosystem Approach –
these included (a) that it is the promotion of sustainable
use (b) the principal objective was conservation.
Presentations and discussions identified that the
most distinctive feature of the EA is that it is a
strategy and a process for reaching a balance between
nature conservation priorities, resource use and the
sharing of benefits.
Relevance of the Principles - Most case studies were
broadly illustrative of the EA, but very few case
studies found all Principles to be relevant. Workshop
results indicated that the major gap in case studies
was that many neglected Principles 3, 5 and 8 (relating
to ecological science or biogeochemical functioning,
not to livelihoods.)
Structural and institutional issues - The value of
existing structures (institutional and legal) should
be fully recognised when identifying the appropriate
scale(s) and mechanisms of management. Harmonisation
of policies, institutional mandates and laws to remove
inconsistencies and obstacles to the EA are probably
more feasible and therefore likely to have a more
rapid impact than far-reaching institutional changes.
Benefit sharing and incentives - The idea of benefit
sharing was not new but discussions illustrated that
equitable sharing under the Ecosystem Approach is
quite different. For example, benefit distribution
under the Ecosystem Approach would include a tourist
operator paying compensation to fishermen to stop
dynamite fishing. In addition, the sharing of costs
and benefits across scales is an important aspect
of the Ecosystem Approach.
Scale of implementation – Examples and discussions
demonstrated that the EA can be applied at any scale:
a single field, farm, ranch, rangeland, forest, coastal
zone, catchment, ecoregion, or even the planet.
The EA and other conservation strategies - how the
EA relates to other (more traditional) approaches
to conservation was a cause for concern. Is the Ecosystem
Approach saying that there should be a balance between
conservation, sustainable use and equitable sharing
of benefits at one or more of the local / provincial
/ national / regional / global scales? Or should each
protected area seek a balance between use, benefit
sharing and conservation? Participants agreed that
clear guidance needs to be developed to address these
Mainstreaming the EA - the EA is an holistic system
for the management and use biodiversity. This was
broadly welcomed but the steps needed to make the
system operational were not thought to be sufficiently
clear and further guidance is hoped for. The workshops
identified a number of specific steps that can be
8. Capacity building needs – many were identified.
In addition to specific needs for taxonomists and
other natural and social scientists it was felt that
the EA calls for managers that can, coordinate multidisciplinary
activities, provide vision, mobilise stakeholders
including communities and manage finances.
a set of responsibilities was identified for National
CBD Focal Points. It was widely felt that the task
of promoting the EA requires resources and capacity
that far exceed that of most Focal Point offices and
that a significant effort is needed to build the capacity
of these offices.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
All sectors of government should examine the meaning
and implications of the EA.
2. There is a
need to communicate the Ecosystem Approach widely
among the general population as well as conservation
and development practitioners.
should be through all appropriate means, including
simple illustrative materials, popular media, extension
groups and NGO umbrella groups.
4. There is a
need to convey to project level workers what are
the differences between the many holistic approaches
to conservation and development.
The capacity of National CBD Focal Points needs
to be significantly enhanced.
2. The absence
of means for valuing and marketing ecosystem goods
and services is an obstacle to the equitable distribution
of costs and benefits.
implementation guidelines need to be developed.
understanding of ecosystems needs to be developed
much further if management is to successfully balance
conservation and economic demands.
5. For actions
in support of the CBD to be successful they should
always address socio-economic priorities.
Existing technical information is often substantial.
Only a modest investment would be needed to collate
and synthesise it and make it available in an accessible
form to National CBD Focal Points and non-specialists.
2. Existing inter-ministerial
committees and similar structures should be built
on and used to integrate the EA across government
3. Full use should
be made of existing local decision-making structures
and indigenous knowledge.
Priority measures (institutional, policy, planning,
financial, scientific and legal)
The Ecosystem Approach needs to permeate thinking
and practice through appropriate harmonisation of
laws, policies and planning guidelines.
2. The scientific
basis for planning and decision-making under the
Ecosystem Approach needs to be enhanced.
and scientific knowledge needs to be collated, processed
and integrated so that the resulting knowledge base
can support the decision-making process relevant
to each identified problem.
building priorities: technical and human
A long-term perspective is needed for capacity building;
existing local-level institutions should be utilised
2. Priority actions
should include: building a base of relevant professionals
including landscape engineers, natural resource
economists, environmental economists etc
of the Ecosystem Approach into education curricula.
training for those people already operational in
6. When are
other approaches more suitable?
There is a need for a comparative assessment of
how other approaches compare to the EA. This should
include comparison with natural resource management
as well as conservation approaches.
and guidance is needed on how protected areas and
species-centred conservation strategies relate to
the Ecosystem Approach.