The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines biodiversity as “the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.”

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) and analyses produced by TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) were among the first studies that demonstrated that biodiversity underpins the ecosystem goods and services that are required for the survival of human societies and for the future of all life on the planet.1 As such, biodiversity generates considerable socio-economic value through the provision of goods such as food, water, and materials, and services such as climate regulation, pollination, disaster protection, and nutrient cycling.

This changed way of looking at biodiversity as an “asset” that makes critical contributions to sustainable development has since influenced approaches to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use which are now reflected in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, 2011-2020, and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets as well as the GEF-6 biodiversity focal area strategy. This evolution in thinking was reaffirmed at the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the CBD (CBD/COP 13) with the adoption of the “Cancun Declaration on Mainstreaming the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity for Well-being”, that recognizes that the management of this asset requires full engagement of all government ministries, and most critically, from the agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism sectors.