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Biological Diversity, Development, and Poverty Alleviation

The International Day for Biological Diversity highlights the need to manage ecosystems to fight poverty.

May 22 is the International Day for Biological Diversity, part of an entire year of celebration. This year’s theme, “Biodiversity, Development, and Poverty Alleviation,” highlights the critical roles that biodiversity and ecosystems play in human livelihoods around the world. With new species (and new threats) discovered every day, now is a critical time to protect the vast array of life on Earth for nature’s, and for people’s sake.

Through our work, WRI aims to reduce poverty and encourage effective ecosystem stewardship. In our Ecosystem Services for Development project, we help developing countries and multilateral development banks (MDBs) understand the interactions between ecosystem services, people, and poverty.

Below are some useful resources:


World Resources 2005 – The Wealth of the Poor: Managing Ecosystems to Fight Poverty


World Resources 2008 – Roots of Resilience: Growing the Wealth of the Poor


Banking on Nature’s Assets: How Multilateral Development Banks Can Strengthen Development by Using Ecosystem Services


Mapping: WRI has helped Kenya and Uganda develop maps that will allow them to reduce poverty through better management of the countries’ ecosystems:

Nature’s Benefits in Kenya: An Atlas of Ecosystems and Human Well-Being


Mapping a Better Future: How Spatial Analysis Can Benefit Wetlands and Reduce Poverty in Uganda


Mapping a Healthier Future: How Spatial Analysis Can Guide Pro-Poor Water and Sanitation Planning in Uganda



Shattering Glass Walls at the Multilateral Development Banks by Janet Ranganathan: Investing in ecosystem services will help MDBs improve the livelihoods of the poor.

Promoting Development, Protecting Environment by Janet Ranganathan: MDBs can and should integrate nature’s ecosystem services into their planning and decisions.

Growing the Wealth of the World’s Poor by Jonathan Lash: The food crises of the present will seem as nothing to those of the future unless the world brings some urgency and intelligence to managing the planet’s nature-based assets.


Visit our sister site Earthtrends for a wealth of statistics on current environmental, social, and economic trends in more than 150 countries.

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