Key Advances of CbD 2.0

Rangers in Toson­hul­stai Nature Reserve scan the hori­zon look­ing for gazelle, East­ern Mon­go­lia. Pho­to by © Nick Hall

Peo­ple and nature are increas­ing­ly chal­lenged by larg­er human pop­u­la­tions, high­er con­sump­tion rates, larg­er-scale devel­op­ment projects, and dimin­ish­ing and degrad­ing nat­ur­al resources, all in a chang­ing cli­mate. We can help nature flour­ish by offer­ing a robust, sci­ence-based con­ser­va­tion approach that draws on exist­ing strengths, and embraces new dis­ci­plines from eco­nom­ics to anthro­pol­o­gy, and from demog­ra­phy to health.

Build­ing off of an adap­tive man­age­ment iter­a­tive process of test­ing assump­tions to learn, adapt and improve deci­sion mak­ing in the face of uncer­tain­ty, the Con­ser­va­tion by Design 2.0 con­ser­va­tion process has evolved to incor­po­rate four major advances. We believe that these advances will lead to bet­ter con­ser­va­tion strate­gies and bet­ter con­ser­va­tion out­comes, for both nature and peo­ple. These four advances are inter­re­lat­ed. Each one is described below.

Key Advance 1: People in Conservation

Conservation success is most sustainable when it is the result of systemic change within a socio-ecological system, whereby people recognize the benefits they receive from nature, how their decisions impact nature, and nature's ability to provide these benefits. In turn, through this understanding, people are compelled to act to conserve nature, creating or reinforcing an enduring virtuous cycle. To create this kind of change, the conservation and natural resource management communities must broaden their approaches to explicitly consider the benefits of conservation for people.

Key Advance 2: The Imperative for Systemic Change

Systemic change refers to creating, strengthening, or shifting the social, economic, political, and cultural systems that comprise and sustain a socio-ecological system. The future of nature and the future of human civilization are interdependent. However, the major systems commonly used to describe the forces affecting that common future — economic, political, and social — do not adequately reflect this interdependence. Strategies that successfully strengthen these human elements of a socio- ecological system should ensure enduring conservation outcomes at scale.

Key Advance 3: Integrating Spatial Planning with Strategy Development and Selection

If we are to achieve systemic change, we must integrate spatial planning with strategy development to learn what actions are needed where. We must harness new kinds of spatially explicit data, including social, economic, and political data, in addition to biodiversity data, to develop effective strategies that consider the many dimensions impacting conservation efforts. These ‘strategy and opportunity maps’ can show where investments in specific strategies will be most effective. They can also help us compare proposed strategies, including their costs and benefits.

Key Advance 4: Evidence Based Conservation

Accountability to evidence is a hallmark of “science-based” decisions and organizations. Explicit consideration of the quantity and quality of the evidence supporting expected conservation outcomes can lead to improved strategies, more focused and fewer monitoring demands, and better identification and management of risks. Conservation strategies aimed at achieving systemic change depend on influencing others to act, and evidence that is relevant and effectively communicated to key audiences can be a critical asset for generating that influence.

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