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Global Health Linkages to Biodiversity Conservation
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS


There are strong linkages between biodiversity conservation and human health, the health of domestic animals, and ecosystem health. This working group provides methodological guidance to advance a vision that incorporates health outcomes into biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. It accomplishes this through the promotion of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) integration guidelines to reduce the impacts of infrastructure and pollution on freshwater ecosystems, and employing Population, Health and Environment (PHE) guidelines to identify and develop synergies between critical ecosystem services and human health and well-being. This contributes to making biodiversity conservation efforts more effective by highlighting the importance of biodiversity on human health and well-being, and making explicit linkages that can be developed through improved conservation planning.

Activities & Achievements

At the completion of its first year in the second programmatic phase, the PHE and WASH tasks groups have made great progress.

On the PHE side, the team is working to pilot a PHE integrated approach in two different geographical areas, Western Tanzania and Southeastern Cameroon, to integrate biodiversity with actions that contribute to improving global health.  The pilot projects are to be based on best practices identified from analyzing existing PHE integrated approaches. At the completion of its first year, team is in the process of compiling a literature review of best practices on nutrition and food security approaches, consulting with key informants on the same. In addition, TNC has started the Model Household Training-of-Trainers in western Tanzania in collaboration with Pathfinder Uganda and their team from the Uganda HOPE-LVP project.

Meanwhile, the WASH teams (Conservation South Africa, a part of Conservation International, and JGI in Uganda) have both been working diligently to conduct pilot projects to generate information on the impacts of infrastructure developments on watersheds and the impacts of freshwater conservation in meeting FW-WASH goals.

Specifically, JGI is conducting its work in the Albertine rift region of Hoima and Masindi Districts of Uganda- known for its biodiversity. JGI has been working to reach young people through education campaigns on water conservation and improved sanitation. In addition, the organization has improved infrastructure to increase access to potable water by renovating protected streams and constructing community rain harvest points in schools.

CI has been implementing WASH projects in the Mzimbuvu catchment of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. Conservation South Africa, under CI, is piloting FW-WASH integration tools by training community volunteers in water quality monitoring to promote awareness of how to protect water sources and improve sanitation practices. In addition, they have engaged local community members to protect freshwater springs and understand how livestock impacts their water sources- to improve water quality as well as human and ecosystem health.

Based on support of the 2014 workshop to create an integrated Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, ABCG is working to create a FW-WASH Community of Practice based in Africa as a part of its Phase II activities.

Click here to view the WASH Task Group Fact Sheet>

News & Related Resources

April 2019 Quarterly Digest

A compilation ABCG's recent news, publications, upcoming events and past event resources. 

How ABCG is Engaging the Community to Integrate Biodiversity with Global Health

Within the Lobeke National Park in Cameroon, malnutrition is a serious health threat visible especially in infants. Adequate biodiversity conservation associated with improved livelihood of women and availability of quality food for infants, is crucial.

The Convergence Factor: Lessons from Integrating Freshwater Conservation and WASH

Most of sub-Saharan Africa is under pressure from increasing population growth, urbanization, and consumption, as well as poorly-planned infrastructure development. All of these factors are negatively impacting the quality and availability of freshwater resources. In response to these threats to freshwater resources, the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG), supported by US Agency for International Development, pilot tested the integration of freshwater conservation and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) approaches in two African landscapes to improve both conservation and human health outcomes. ABCG has now published the lessons learned from this work in the report titled, The Convergence Factor: Lessons from Integrating Freshwater Conservation and Wash.

Lessons from ABCG's Global Health Linkages Working Group on Integrating Freshwater Conservation and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

On September 6, 2018, Colleen Sorto, Director for Development Partnerships at Conservation International and Peter Apell, Programs Director at the Jane Goodall Institute Uganda, presented the lessons learned from the implementation of ABCG's Global Health Linkages working group on the integration of freshwater conservation and WASH for improved health and conservation outcomes.

Supporting Families, Fisheries and Forests through Integrating Conservation, Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Poor access to health care, limited livelihood opportunities, and unsustainable use of natural resources are some of the pressing challenges in Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania that the Tuungane project is addressing.

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