Feature Story

For Quirsito ‘Bok’ Cajegas, a fisher in Davao Gulf, Philippines, staunch advocacy of marine conservation comes with the territory.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Before his reformation, Bok was a self-described illegal fisher. For 23 years, Bok employed illicit compressor fishing methods, and once opposed the establishment of a marine protected area (MPA) in Barangay Bato Sta Cruz, Davao del Sur.

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At the heart of the Coral Triangle – the global center of marine biodiversity – lies the small island developing state of Timor-Leste.

Indigenous legend holds that Timór Lorosa'e (‘East Rising Sun’) was created by a great crocodile, Lafaek Diak, that transformed itself into land so that its human friends could live there.

Imposing mountains – the spine of the mythological crocodile – dominate the center of the country. Ancient marine fossils litter their peaks.

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Remote mountainous regions of Nepal are harsh places in which to survive and make a living.

Economic, social, and environmental challenges include lack of market access, outmigration, dependency on imports and subsidies, women’s drudgery, malnutrition, unpredictable weather, pests, and diseases.

To tackle some of these challenges, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners are working with the local community to conserve biodiversity of crops, to boost food security and resilience.

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The Global Environment Facility is a founding donor of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), which was formed in 2000 to champion biodiversity by delivering the financial resources of global donors to build the capacity of civil society groups in biodiversity hotspots. These groups often work with limited resources to have impressive impacts to protect biodiversity on the ground. Despite the challenges of this time, many of these groups continue to work diligently to protect biodiversity.

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Endowed with picturesque beaches, rainforests, and coral reefs that attract tourists from around the world, São Tomé and Príncipe is a small island country, located in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western coast of Central Africa. Its small size, distance from large markets, and lack of diversity in its economic sectors mean the country faces a number of challenges.

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Maintaining healthy ecosystems are important to help protect against the spread of disease. A large mixture of species means that some act as ‘dead end’ hosts, preventing diseases from spreading. As countries plan their economic recovery for after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that the role biodiversity plays in underpinning the health of people and planet is taken into account. Here’s one example from North Macedonia.

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Particularly memorable meals and favorite dishes evoke happy moments, remind us of our childhood with their smells and flavors, or transport us to places we have never been before.

That happiness is the reason why Carmen Rodríguez gets up in the morning. A plate of colourful beans, cooked yellow yams, and a good coffee give her the energy to grow her crops in an isolated group of small mountains in the Caribbean region of Colombia known as Montes de María.

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