Feature Story

For Phub Zem Doya, living in the remote village of Singye in southwest Bhutan, water is a precious resource – one not to be taken for granted.

In her village, climate change has led many water sources to dry up, causing shortages particularly during the dry winter season. 

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Pakistan has less forest cover, only 5%, due to arid and semi-arid climatic conditions in most parts of the country. But despite poor forest cover, Pakistan is highly rich in both ecosystem and species biodiversity where such ecosystems are still intact.

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Located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, Hubei Province is rich in fresh water resources and is known as the province of a thousand lakes.

As its moniker suggests, Hubei boasts wetlands of 1.445 million hectares, accounting for 7.8 percent of China’s whole land.

A refuge and an ecological barrier

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The 1980's textile boom in Mauritius drove many women to work in textile factories. However, when the textile factories closed, women became unemployed and could no longer send their children to school.

"Women were still jobless, staying at home, suffering from domestic violence and having babies almost every year. So in 2006, after meeting with 20 women, all of them unemployed mothers, we decided to use their traditional knowledge about conservation to cultivate medicinal plants, conserve biodiversity and improve their livelihood." - Anooradah Pooran

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Brazil is at the top among the 18 megadiverse countries. It hosts between 15 and 20 per cent of the world’s biological diversity, with more than 120,000 species of invertebrates, about 9,000 vertebrates and more than 4,000 plant species. With this comes huge potential to boost economic growth and social inclusion, but also a huge responsibility.

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March 3rd is United Nations (UN) World Wildlife Day. This year’s theme “life below water: for people and planet” encourages people and institutions around the world to celebrate and raise awareness about ocean plant and animal species. On this occasion we are featuring a story on the GEF’s Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management project. The project was implemented by UNDP and brought multiple benefits for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and marine biodiversity in the Western and Central Pacific.

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In 1990, Edwin Duffus, a pig hunter, walked into the Hope Zoo in Kingston, Jamaica and handed over a large lizard his dog had retrieved while hunting in Hellshire Hills.

His day in the woods would change the destiny of an entire species — the lizard was a Jamaican iguana that since 1948 had been thought extinct.

Although the iguana didn’t survive its injuries — dogs are one of their biggest predators — Mr Duffus was able to tell the staff exactly where he’d found it, and a subsequent expedition discovered two nesting sites and a small family of iguanas.

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After Hurricane Isidore hit the west coast of Mexico in 2002 – at the time the second-most intense Atlantic hurricane to have ever struck there - local women got together to rectify the devastation, starting with a water committee.

Their work started as a recovery programme, and has since blossomed into a comprehensive project for resilient guardianship of the ecosystems that give life and livelihood.

Many hands make light work

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Wetlands are diverse and productive habitats – a vital source of biome health, sometimes thought of as the 'kidneys of the earth'. Just like a giant kidney that filters our blood to remove unwanted by-products and waste, wetlands have a unique ability to store, assimilate, and transform contaminants lost from the land before they reach waterways. Like a kidney, wetlands help to dilute and filter material that could otherwise harm our lakes, rivers and other waterways.

This fundamental function makes wetlands a sacred place, and a critical source of freshwater.

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There is so much innate beauty in Belize. The tiny country — just 22,970 square kilometres —has rich lush forests, and sweeping coral reefs which are home to a vast range of species.

Biodiversity is one of Belize’s many treasures, and one of the reasons people visit from all over the world.

However maintaining it is an on-going battle, one that UNDP and its local partners have been fighting for 25 years.

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