• Introduction

    Biodiversity and poverty coincide (Fisher & Christopher, 2007; Hernandez-Morcillo et al., 2010). Many countries and regions with high biodiversity and areas identified as ‘globally significant hotspots’ also have high levels of poverty. Great ape ranges coincide with some of the poorest countries of the world, and at the same time, their habitat are often protected through strictly controlled and enforced conservation areas that can intentionally or otherwise have negative impacts on the livelihoods of the already poor local communities, through restrictions on resource access (Sandbrook & Roe, 2010). Poverty as a threat to great ape conservation has already been described in the threat section, poverty reduction implies lifting people beyond a defined poverty line, transforming them from poor to non-poor. Other commonly used and associated terms are poverty alleviation and prevention. Poverty may be alleviated (e.g., when some of the symptoms of poverty are addressed but they are not transformed from poor to non-poor), or prevented (e.g., when people are prevented from falling into, or falling further into poverty) rather actually being reduced.

    The links between biodiversity, conservation and poverty reduction have been explored, debated and incorporated into key policy. At a high level meeting at the 2010 UN General Assembly it was noted that “preserving biodiversity is inseparable from the fight against poverty“ (UN General Assembly, 2010). The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), agreed in 1992, states that “economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries“ (CBD, 1993). Ten years after its inception CBD parties agreed “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth“ (CBD, 2010). This target was also integrated into the Millennium Development Goals in 2006. Poverty continues to be central to the new CBD plan (2011-2020) “to take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity.... to ensure that by 2020 ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide essential services, thereby securing the planets variety of life, and contributing to human well-being, and poverty eradication (CBD, 2010). The Kinshasa Declaration for Great Apes (GRASP, 2005) “encourages the provision of long-term ecologically sustainable direct and indirect economic benefits to local communities“ and to “developing ecologically sustainable local poverty-reduction strategies which recognise and integrate the needs of local communities sharing great ape habitats, while securing the lasting health of the environmental resources upon which they depend“.

  • How can poverty reduction help ape conservation?

  • 3. Are there also negative aspects of poverty reduction for great apes/challenges/issues?

  • How is poverty reduction implemented /applied in practice?

Compiled and edited 2011 by Kay H. Farmer
Reviewed by Hjalmar Kuehl, Josephine Head and Neba Funwi-Gabga

  • References