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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

Getting Urban Infrastructure and Sustainable Water Resource Management Right

The Freshwater Conservation and Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) Integration Community of Practice meeting took place in Nairobi, Kenya on February 25, 2020. The meeting covered rapid urbanization, infrastructure development, and water conservation in Kenya. As Africa changes, it is essential that healthy ecosystems are included in development plans. There is a need to negotiate space for conservation as well. It helps to identify threats and solutions around access to water to eventually improve efficiency, collaboration, and impact. Water security is indispensable in sustainable growth as well as in development.

Our 2019 Annual Report

ABCG’s overarching goals of mainstreaming biodiversity in human well-being and development agendas, promoting good conservation practices, and strengthening the role of social and development institutions in biodiversity conservation and human well-being, are being pursued within the context of six thematic foci:

Integrating Gender and Vulnerable Populations in Natural Resource Management

Women play critical land and natural resource management roles. According to a 2017 ABCG One Health report ‘based on gender differentiated roles, women are primarily responsible for care work that occurs in the domain of the home, including cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly. Their high influence over water usage at the household level means they are most responsible for seeking and securing water resources. Women all over the world experience a far greater burden than male counterparts in terms of water collection, storage, and protection’.

October 2019 News Roundup

Our October News Digest is a roundup of news and events in the past quarter (July, August, September). Featured in the digest are updates on various activities that ABCG members have been involved in, including work on strengthening advocacy strategy planning in the Freshwater conservation (FW) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) integration activity. Included in the update is also news on a new toolkit published by IIED titled, Governance Assessment for Protected and Conserved Areas (GAPA). Methodology manual for GAPA facilitators.

Why is Advocacy Key to Natural Resource Management?

A good advocacy strategy is an important component of a project and key to its success. Advocacy can help foster the uptake of project recommendations leading to a change in practice or the lack of it. Advocacy is important in ensuring that proposed actions are taken up by stakeholders and in influencing decision making to support the development of appropriate policies.

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