Biodiversity in EIA toolkit
Aim for conservation and 'no net loss' of biodiversity

Take the following approach to help achieve no net loss of biodiversity

  1. Avoid irreversible losses of biodiversity.
  2. Seek alternative solutions that minimize biodiversity losses.
  3. Use mitigation to restore biodiversity resources.
  4. Compensate for unavoidable loss by providing substitutes of at least similar biodiversity value.
  5. Seek opportunities for enhancement.

This helps achieve 'no net loss' by ensuring:

Take an ecosystem approach

The CBD advocates an "ecosystem approach" because people and biodiversity depend on healthily functioning ecosystems that have to be assessed in an integrated way, not constrained by artificial boundaries. The ecosystem approach is participatory and requires a long-term perspective based on a biodiversity-based study area and adaptive management to deal with the dynamic nature of ecosystems, uncertainty and the often unpredictable nature of ecosystem functions, behaviour and responses. Biodiversity concerns are not limited to protected areas. Elements of natural systems remain in even the most urbanized cities and play an often important role in the quality of life in those cities.

Seek Sustainable Use of Biodiversity Resources.

Use IA to identify, protect and promote sustainable use of biodiversity so that yields/harvests can be maintained over time.

Recognize the benefits of biodiversity in providing essential life support systems and ecosystem services such as water yield, water purification, breakdown of wastes, flood control, storm and coastal protection, soil formation and conservation, sedimentation processes, nutrient cycling, carbon storage, and climatic regulation as well as the costs of replacing these services. In a developing country context, this principle is likely to be a key priority: i.e., for biodiversity to be conserved and protected in this context, it is essential that it is linked to the issue of securing sustainable livelihoods for local people based on biodiversity resources.

Ensure Equitable Sharing.

Ensure traditional rights and uses of biodiversity are recognized in IA and the benefits from commercial use of biodiversity are shared fairly. Consider the needs of future as well as current generations (inter-generational needs): seek alternatives that do not trade in biodiversity "capital" to meet short term needs, where this could jeopardize the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Apply the Precautionary Principle.

Apply the precautionary principle in any situation where important biodiversity may be threatened and there is insufficient knowledge to either quantify risks or implement effective mitigation. Application of the precautionary principle requires that development consent should be delayed while steps are taken to ensure that best available information can be obtained through consultation with local stakeholders/experts and/or new information on biodiversity can be obtained/consolidated.

Take a Participatory Approach.

Consult widely to ensure that all stakeholders have been consulted and that important biodiversity values are taken into account. Valuation of biodiversity can only be done in negotiation with the different groups or individuals in society (stakeholders) who have an interest in biodiversity. Use traditional and indigenous knowledge wherever appropriate. Work carefully with indigenous communities to ensure that knowledge of biodiversity is not inappropriately exploited.