Feature Story

Unrestricted exploitation of wildlife has led to the disappearance of numerous animal species at an alarming and increasing rate, impinging on earth's biological diversity and upsetting its ecological balance.

And we are standing on the precipice of losing one million more species.

Nature’s emergency is our emergency.

In Indonesia, the race is on to halt the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and stop the loss of globally significant biodiversity throughout East and South-East Asia.

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In 2016 the GEF Small Grants Programme, implemented by UNDP and funded by the Global Environment Facility, launched the global component of the Indigenous Peoples’ Fellowship Initiative. Four women who are working in biodiversity conservation were selected. The programme also has eight national-level fellows. Global and national fellows came together at this year’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at UNHQ to discuss the issues that indigenous people are fighting for.

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In the world before modern medicine it was up to the local shaman, monk or wise woman to treat injury and disease, often with remedies based on local medicinal plants.

Today, many of these time-worn cures remain popular around the globe, but in some countries, traditional healers have extended their arsenal to include not only nature’s gifts, but the products of human industry, amongst them an oily liquid, clear to yellow in colour with neither smell nor taste, that often spills or leaks from electrical equipment.

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Oceans cover 70% of our planet’s surface. Nearly 50% of the world’s population live in coastal areas and the need to protect marine environments transcends individual communities, ecosystems, or nations.

Strong partnerships are vital, to address the multiple problems that threaten healthy ocean life. 

A maritime bioinvasion

Global shipping is an industry that can make substantial contributions to maintaining ocean health.

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Xinjiang, China’s largest province, is a significant reservoir of biodiversity, with diverse landscapes and rich ecosystems. A vast region of deserts and mountains, Xinjiang sits at the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road trade route linking China and the Middle East, a legacy that can be seen as modernity and tradition merge. 

The Altai Mountains and wetlands are internationally recognised for their extraordinary landscapes, traditional cultures and livelihoods, and unique biodiversity.

As the rivers flow...

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When an entrepreneur designs, makes and markets handbags made of donkey skin, and they become hugely popular, that’s good for business and employment, right? But if the donkey leather is sourced from developing countries with weak environmental laws, what is the socio-economic and environmental impact?

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Challenge

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If ever an island justified the label “paradise” that tourist brochures liberally apply to destinations, it is Saint Lucia.

Shaped like a teardrop, this tiny Caribbean nation has everything. Crescent moon beaches of white sand. Jagged volcanic mountains jutting up from the azure waters. Eclectic biodiversity that manifests in a riot of colour, no more so than in the Saint Lucia Amazon, a spectacular parrot found only on the island.

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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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