For more information about CIEL's Biodiversity Program, contact Melissa Blue Sky.
Protecting the earth's biological resources involves legal as well as economic, political, and cultural elements, and must have an international dimension. Biodiversity is ultimately conserved or lost because of community and individual decisions about the use of land and resources, but those local decisions are routinely influenced by international law and policies.
All too often, current national and international policies facilitate destructive exploitation by national and international companies and governments, at the expense of local communities that depend on sustainable use of forests and fisheries for basic needs. Many elements of the national and international legal frameworks needed to ensure conservation and sustainable use do not yet exist. The elements that do exist are often poorly enforced. CIEL promotes reforms needed to improve this framework.
In the heart of the northwest Amazon lies Loreto, a vast region in northern Peru with some of the most remote, intact, carbon-rich, and biodiverse tracts of rainforest remaining in the world. However, Loreto now faces a wave of major development pressures, such as oil extraction, palm oil plantations, dams, transportation projects, logging and mining concessions, and other development could, individually and cumulatively, significantly impact biodiversity and the vitality of the region. The "Sustainable Loreto" project will support Loreto's regional government and people in responding to these development projects and threats.
The Biodiversity program is focused on strengthening international conservation law, specifically the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
CIEL’s marine conservation work has focused on strengthening the legal framework for fisheries protection, particularly the formation of regional fisheries organizations and effective enforcement of their requirements. CIEL has also worked to enhance protection of marine and coastal biodiversity under the Biodiversity Convention.
International trade policies have a significant impact on the earth's biodiversity and biological resources. They can undermine national and international conservation laws and policies. Trade liberalization can also increase exploitation of natural resources and exacerbate the associated negative impacts on biodiversity. CIEL seeks to reform trade rules so that they support rather than impede conservation and sustainable use.
Biodiversity and knowledge about it are valuable in part because of their "information content." As one of the main ways that our society decides who has the rights to control and benefit from information, intellectual property rights are relevant to the information content of biodiversity. CIEL addresses the implications of intellectual property through advocacy, research, and advice.
Integrating economic and environmental policy is essential to an effective strategy for biodiversity conservation. CIEL works to encourage policy reforms that remove incentives for destroying habitat while expanding the use of economic incentives for conservation.
CIEL provides information on biodiversity-related legal issues in response to requests from activists and environmental lawyers in other countries.
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