Biodiversity in Brazil

© UNESCO/Dom João

Brazil is home to one of the richest biodiversities in the world (being a member of a group comprising 17 megadiverse countries). This way, the country is especially responsible for a change in concepts. Consequently, it recently started a consultation process to define public policies capable of implementing large-scale sustainable practices.

Establishing protection areas is one of the most effective instruments for conserving biodiversity. As a result, a great national effort has been exercised to create and consolidate the protected areas of the country.

To this end, the Brazilian government approved and has been implementing legal instruments practices. These are innovative frameworks as they offer the community the possibility to participate in decision-making and to apply financial mechanisms that make the system viable, as well as encouraging the conservation of natural environments. Today, the country has a little over 1,600 federal, state and private Conservation Units (CUs) that protect 16% of the continental territory and 0.5% of the marine area, which corresponds to 1,479,286 square kilometerss

Among the several challenges inherent to the consolidation of CUs in Brazil, particularly for those that comprise core zones of Brazilian biosphere reserves, the following challenges should be noted: creating and organising markets for products collected in a sustainable way; strengthening community-based productive chains, entrepreneurship in the area of ecological tourism, and incentives to encourage a low carbon economy. In addition, initiatives to make charges for environmental services, and a mechanism that generates income and encourages or compensates for environmental conservation, aim to develop CUs.

UNESCO contributes with the consolidation of the National System of Nature Conservation Units – particularly conserning the areas recognized as Biosphere Reserves and Natural World Heritage sites –, through technical cooperation and resource management to projects focused on these areas.

International Day for Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources" that has been ratified by 196 nations.

Given the importance of public education and awareness for the implementation of the Convention, the General Assembly proclaimed 22 May, the date of the adoption of its text, as the International Day for Biological Diversity by its Resolution 55/201 of 20 December 2000.

Biodiversity is life. It is also a key condition for resilient ecosystems, able to adapt to a changing environment and unexpected challenges. Biodiversity is as necessary for nature and humankind as cultural diversity, to build stronger, more resilient societies, equipped with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of today and tomorrow. We need to foster this culture of diversity in all its forms as a chance and a strength for all. It is a key condition to achieve the sustainable development goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

For more than 70 years, UNESCO has been working to foster scientific knowledge and cooperation on biodiversity and ecosystems, such as tropical forests, oceans, mountains. In recent years, the effect of human activities - magnified by population growth and global climate change -- has reduced deeply biodiversity in ecosystems around the world.

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