Sachs reading for Lecture 22

A summary of “Biodiversity Conservation and the Millennium Development Goals” by Sachs et al, required reading for Lecture 22, 12/02.

This piece is about the complex relationship between poverty and loss of biodiversity in the world. Sachs presents the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability (2 of the 8 goals) and proposes that they must be integrated. Dealing with them separately will be counterproductive. For example, trade liberalization as a means to combat poverty might lead to deforestation in a country like Brazil that is a large food exporter.

The authors propose several measures:

- “a new biodiversity target for the remaining MDG period (through 2015) and beyond” that states specific, achievable goals

- “interventions that can address both poverty reduction and environmental sustainability”, like better farming practices, use of marginal or abandoned farmland instead of deforestation, and financing structures to help developing countries prevent deforestation

- “establishment of a proposed Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” would help to bring scientists and policy-makers together to fight biodiversity loss just as the IPCC is doing for climate change

We must address poverty reduction and biodiversity in an integrated fashion in order “to achieve the MDGs while preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services.” The authors seem to strive for biodiversity to play a more prominent role in the soon-to-be-updated Millennium Development Goals.

“Biodiversity Conservation and the Millennium Development Goals”
Jeffrey D. Sachs, et al
Science 18 September 2009:
Vol. 325. no. 5947, pp. 1502 - 1503
DOI: 10.1126/science.1175035


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