Nations, under the guidance of the International Committee on Biodiversity (ICB), should develop policies that reflect the solutions presented in the website. This page describes the steps countries should take to successfully increase and maintain biodiversity.
NOTE: Many of the following stages are separately designated for More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs) and Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs), a UN designation.
The goal initially is for each country to establish a qualitative understanding of its native ecosystems and to determine the statuses of pollution, sustainability, and biodiversity education on a regional basis. These assessments should be conducted either by the environmental division of a country’s government, or by a government-contracted NGO. Studies fall under the areas of hotspot preservation, pollution, sustainable industry practices (agriculture/ranching, mining, logging, fishing, etc), education, and research and development. The assessments should analyze the current state of biodiversity-friendly practices, the extent to which areas are preserved, whether existing regulations and policies are succeeding in decreasing biodiversity loss, and the state of public awareness about individual practices. Completion of the assessments should occur on a priority basis in the order listed above. We propose that all assessments should be completed in no more than 5 years.
Based on the analysis of the status quo from Stage 1, countries will formulate policies that incorporate the recommended solutions associated with each policy issue. The goal of this stage is to determine which of the solutions presented on this website or in other research would best complement the specific region it is addressing, based on parameters such as access to a marine/freshwater environment, number of hotspots, percent of land currently devoted to preservation, and economic development. The formation of policies should occur in the same order as the assessments. Additionally, policy formation should include goals for every 5 years that are quantifiable by the specific metrics we present in the solutions.
Implementation must occur as soon as Stage 1 and 2 are complete for a given issue area. Different policies can either help prevent biodiversity from continuing to decline in the short run or help restore biodiversity in the long run. As such, the priority of some policies is greater than others. The order below describes the order the policies should be implemented in:
The goal of this program is to take immediate action on the biodiversity crisis through the implementation of hotspot preservation programs. This process includes the initial identification of hotspots within the country and land surveys to determine which of the suggested solutions would be most applicable (based upon hotspot type and level of status quo preservation).
Pollution- National level pollution control policies are critical to the mitigation of habitat contamination. Immediate action to be taken under this policy issue is the development of cap-and-trade systems for toxic organic compound emissions, dangerous agrochemicals, and atmospheric pollutants, like sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and aerosols. The fixed standard should gradually be lowered. Less dangerous chemicals should be subjected to taxation systems determined by their ecotoxicities. Nations and NGOs should develop initiatives to clean up strongly-polluted sites through bioremediation and other irreversible degradation treatment options. Additionally, all nations must enact and enforce strict regulations requiring the use of air scrubbers on all industrial facilities that release atmospheric pollutants. We propose multilateral treaties, to be coordinated by the ICB, that pledge dedicated efforts to reduce atmospheric pollution.
Sustainable Industry Practices- The purpose of this policy area is to continue man-made industries in a sustainable, biodiversity-friendly way. Its goal is to minimize negative effects on biodiversity while retaining productivity and improving efficiency. MEDC governments should institute policies that require fishing, mining, or logging permit requests to adhere to certain standards developed by the governmental department or NGO before being approved.
Education and public awareness programs are the keys to the success of all other policies. These programs will vary greatly based upon the specific culture of a region. In MEDCs, biodiversity education should be implemented in schools. Governments should require that curriculum contains information on biodiversity, including what it is and why it is important. Schools should participate in biodiversity awareness week (the week of May 22nd) by providing mini-lessons throughout the week about different aspects of biodiversity. In Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs), biodiversity education should be designed to teach both children and adults about the importance of biodiversity and ways that they can help protect it by introducing better, more economically favorable practices.
Alternative Livelihood Programs- The development of alternative livelihood programs is crucial to public awareness, especially in LEDCs. Many current remedies for unsustainable industry practices or plans to preserve hotspot areas fail in implementation because the inhabitants of the area considered are deprived of their livelihoods. Therefore, if programs are being implemented to, for example, preserve a certain forest area from logging, the government must find a way to provide training and employment to those who have lost their jobs. This could be accomplished by creating tourist guide or park ranger positions for the protected area. Even if the government itself does not have the ability to provide employment, it can enter into a contract with the private sector to create job opportunities in a specific industry or company.
Every program/policy must also develop a system to evaluate progress using the specific metrics outlined in each solution. Part of the funds allocated to each program must go toward “state of the program” evaluations that utilize the specific metrics and goals that were made during stage 2. Such evaluations should be made every 5 years.
Often, environmentally harmful subsidies such as those in place for fishing and agricultural industries, simply prolong the biodiversity crisis by providing incentives to continue a harmful practice. We advocate that countries look into their subsidies, particularly for unsustainable industries, and either remove them or re-route funding towards environmentally sustainable endeavors in the industry.
Innovative incentives are essential to implementation. Models can be found in many programs; for example, food-for-work programs support the value of work while providing aid in the form of food. A similar program could be set up which provides a form of aid to individuals in LEDCs whose only occupation is a biodiversity-harming job (e.g. logging) for adopting more sustainable practices. Additionally, the IBC can provide counsel in this area in order to coordinate national programs.