Latest Highlights/News

15 local and indigenous communities from Africa, Asia, and Latin America have been announced as the winners of the Equator Prize 2017. The winning organizations showcase innovative solutions for tackling poverty, environment, and climate challenges, and they will be honored at a celebratory gala in New York on September 17, 2017.

This year's  winners show that investments in nature are an effective and efficient pathway to sustainable development, and they also demonstrate that partnerships are crucial to success – at the international, national, and local levels. If we want to achieve the SDGs, we need to think holistically and combine multiple development benefits. Equator Prize winners do just that in their communities. In Achim Steiner’s words, “Their dedication and commitment  shows  what is possible when communities come together to protect and sustainably manage nature for the benefit of all.”  

Please read more in the official announcement here and access the blog post reflecting on lessons learnt from the Equator Initiative’s selection process.
More information about this year's Equator Prize winners is available on the website of the Equator Initiative.

A global inception and Capacity Building Meeting was held in Kribi, Cameroon, from 13-15 June 2017.
The event marks the beginning of the implementation of a project funded by the German International Climate Initiative (IKI) and implemented by the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, through the Sub-Global Assessment Network, and the United Nations Development Programme's Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net). The project is looking at developing capacity for undertaking national ecosystem assessments using the IPBES methodology.
Participants from Cameroon, Colombia, Ethiopia and Viet Nam discussed the rational and process of undertaking national ecosystem assessments, tools and data for ecosystem assessments, and an initial scoping for assessments in each country.
Assessments will be undertaken over the next three years to be completed in 2020 and will include a national BES-Net Trialogue.


The deadline to submit abstracts for oral presentations, lightning talks, posters, and workshops for the 3rd Annual FLARE meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, Sept 29 - Oct 2, 2017, has been extended to Tuesday, June 20th! The meeting will cover a wide array of themes related to forests and livelihoods. We will build on past discussions and create new ones.

We are also very excited to announce that Dr. Peter Holmgren, Director-General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), will give a keynote presentation at the meeting.

In line with this extension, the abstract submission deadline for thematic reports around two of the FLARE meeting themes (Ethics of forest-livelihood policies, and Forests, livelihoods, and the SDGs) has also been extended to Tuesday, June 20th. These reports are commissioned and co-sponsored by Rights and Resources Initiative. Selected authors will be invited to Stockholm to present the findings of the report.

Notification of decisions will be sent by July 7th and registration will open July 8th. More information can be found in our call for abstracts for the event and the thematic reports, as well as on our webpage.

Please share this update widely!


The International Day for Biodiversity is celebrated on May 22 each year. This year's theme, Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism, centers around the important intersection of biologically diverse ecosystems and sustainable tourism.

In an effort to celebrate, support and educate, Wiley has put together a special collection of articles about biodiversity and tourism. These articles are free to read and download until June 30th. We hope you find these both interesting and informative. You can access the database here:

We invite you to share this collection with all who might enjoy!


Biodiversity provides the essential foundations for our very existence, livelihoods, and prosperity. It provides us with clean water, air, soil, food, medicine, and resources for jobs and growth. It underpins global tourism – one of the world’s fastest growing industries with tremendous potential for contributing to sustainable, inclusive, and equitable development. Biodiversity enriches our lives and culture with its many surprises and breathtaking wildlife, instilling in us a sense of wonder, excitement, peace and happiness. We, of course, are a part of biodiversity, too, sharing this finite and astonishingly beautiful planet with all other species, great and small. 

Poetry, like literature, philosophy, music, design and all the creative arts, is often inspired by nature - landscapes, wildlife, and the natural world we live in. Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry that also takes nature as its focus. It is based on a system of three lines and a set syllable pattern. The first and last lines of a haiku have five syllables and the middle line has seven syllables. This 5-7-5 pattern provides a simple structure around which moving images can be woven together to reflect a common respect, admiration and love for all living things on our shared planet. This simplicity of haiku helps convey the profound beauty of the world around us.

UNDP, in cooperation with GEF and CBD have prepared a collection of haikus to help celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, 2017, and this year’s theme of Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism. Download Inspired by nature: Celebrating biodiversity with Haikus here:

Here is a sample, written by Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Environment Facility:

Once in a lifetime
Let nature inspire us all
We’ll rise up and act


Blue Solutions and GRID-Arendal partnered with The Nature Conservancy and the Reef Resilience Network to run a five-day training on Integrating Ecosystem Services into Coral Reef Policy and Management on March 5-10, 2017. Experts, managers and practitioners from different countries and agencies gathered in Kona, Hawaii to learn how to evaluate ecosystem services and communicate the benefits they provide to people, in order to guide sound decision making and effective management. The workshop included a field trip to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and Kiholo Bay, where participants applied their new skills to assess and value the ecosystem services these places provide.

Read more about this exciting training and Blue Solutions' Training Portfolio.


The Community of Practice on Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA) invites you to participate in their regional contest on Demonstrating evidence of Ecosystem-based Adaptation: Cases in Latin America and the Caribbean.

UN Environment REGATTA and Practical Action are interested in documenting good examples of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) in Latin America and the Caribbean, where implementing EbA technologies and practices contribute to adaptation to climate change. The objective of this contest is to document and disseminate successful stories on the implementation of EbA technologies and practices. Ten case studies will be selected to be included in the publication of the book: "Evidence on Ecosystem-Based Adaptation: Cases in Latin America and the Caribbean."

Send your case study by 20th of April 2017. Click here for more details on the regional contest and application process, and for any questions please contact Dr. Lili Ilieva:


The BMUB-IKI funded global project "Mainstreaming EbA," implemented by GIZ, is currently carrying out a short (10 question) online survey seeking to collect information about applied methods for assessing and measuring EbA benefits (social, environmental, economic) delivered by ecosystem services, especially on storm damage protection, flood protection, drought control, control of landslides, waterflow regulation and water storage. The aim is to identify best practices and lessons learned that can serve to enhance future work to strengthen the ability of decision-makers to mainstream EbA into policy and planning processes.

GIZ is hoping to learn about studies which:

  • Assess, evaluate or measure the benefits and impacts of ecosystem based adaptation (EbA);
  • Compare or contrast EbA benefits and impacts with those of ‘grey’ adaptation infrastructure; and/or
  • Assess, evaluate or measure ecosystem services which relate to climate adaptation (e.g. watershed protection, drought mitigation, flood control, coastal protection, disaster-risk reduction, etc.).

These could be any type of study, for example: technical investigations, project planning or appraisal processes, advocacy or awareness campaigns, training and capacity building exercises, case studies or academic research. They might have been carried out by projects, international organisations, government agencies, NGOs, research institutes, universities, consultants or the private sector.

Results will be compiled as a publicly available sourcebook of EbA-relevant valuation methods but also feed into a toolbox of EbA-relevant methods being set up in coordination with the IIED/IUCN/UNEP-WCMC implemented project "Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA): Strengthening the evidence and informing policy."

Click here to participate in the survey.


The IPBES Expert Group on Scenarios and Models is conducting a survey to identify a variety of policy and management options that can promote biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people and human well-being. Respondents' input will be used both for a short term activity to improve existing scenarios and models for the global assessment and the fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook and for long-term activities for developing a new generation of IPBES scenarios in support of the work of IPBES and decision-makers at all levels. Click here to participate in the survey.


GBIF invites the submission of concept notes for project funding from sub-Saharan Africa through Biodiversity Information for Development (BID), a programme funded by the European Union. The deadline for submissions is 9 April 2017 at midnight CET/23:00 UTC/GMT.

The total potential funding assigned to this call is €400,000, and applicants successful in this round will receive invitations to submit full proposals in May 2017.

This call, like those that preceded it, seeks to support projects from sub-Saharan Africa that:

  • Mobilize biodiversity data relating to protected areas, threatened species, and invasive alien species
  • Use and extend best practices for digitizing natural history collections and mobilizing other biodiversity data
  • Apply biodiversity data in support of decision-making and research
  • Develop lasting national, regional or thematic networks to support ongoing data sharing and reuse

The call offers support for two grant types:

  • National grants that establish or strengthen national biodiversity information facilities and to increase the biodiversity data available about the country to respond to national priorities. Up to €40,000 will be made available per national grant.
  • Small grants that mobilize biodiversity data relevant for biodiversity conservation priorities, with a maximum funding of €20,000.

Application process and timeline:

  • A panel of international experts with experience in the region will evaluate applications through a competitive two-stage process.
  • Applicants must submit initial concept notes using the provided template by 9 April 2017.
  • Based on the panels’ recommendations, GBIF will invite a select group of applicants to prepare full proposals, expected to be due in July 2017.
  • Following the panel’s final review and selection, funded projects will start in October 2017. GBIF expects to announce these projects publicly by November 2017.

More information available online here.