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Ecosystems, Climate Change and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Scaling Up Local Solutions

This working paper sets out a framework to scale up locally-driven solutions to ecosystem decline, climate change and poverty.

Key Findings

Executive Summary

This Working Paper has been jointly produced by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the high-level event on Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Climate Change: Scaling Up Local Solutions to Achieve the MDGs, in support of the UN MDG Review Summit (September 2010).

Ecosystem decline and climate change together are altering the rules of development, bringing a new urgency to the MDG agenda. Because ecosystem services typically account for a substantial portion of the incomes of the rural poor, current trends in ecosystem decline threaten the very basis of their household economies. Climate change will place additional stresses on ecosystems and further intensify the challenges facing the rural poor, undermining efforts to accelerate and sustain progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Framework for Action

An action framework to scale up local ecosystem-based initiatives should include five key elements.

  • Forging an enabling policy environment that provides the poor with secure resource rights, market access and fair regulations, and a voice in local and national decision-making.
  • Building local capacity and providing support services, to ensure that local groups have the skills and support they need to sustainably manage local ecosystems and run successful enterprises.
  • Ensuring equitable access to finance, from both traditional sources and from emerging sources of environmental and climate finance, so that local groups have sufficient investment and operating capital to carry out their plans.
  • Facilitating learning and knowledge sharing, in order to share best practices, speed up the innovation cycle, and to inform policymakers and policy processes.
  • Adopting a programmatic approach to scaling up that goes beyond a project-by-project focus to adopt a comprehensive and coordinated effort among government, NGOs, international development agencies, and the private sector to foster the enabling conditions for scaling.

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