Local Solutions to Preserve Biodiversity

A number of the world’s species are threatened and the UN has a new plan to save them. Like many international agreements this one is complex. It is a 10-year “strategic plan” that asks nearly 200 countries to meet 20 goals by 2030. To work, it will require both national and local implementation and funding. As my colleague Karol Boudreaux explains in a Reuters OpEd:

This is yet another highly complex and inefficient process to address a very important problem.

There is an alternative. It is called the “community-based natural resource management” or CBNRM model. Karol writes:

CBNRM is a bottom-up approach that gives local communities, who are the ones to bear the costs of preserving and conserving resources, legal rights to manage those resources and benefit from their use. In economic terms, CBNRM gives local people incentives to preserve rather than poach or overuse the forests, wildlife or fisheries they control.

In Namibia, where this strategy has been particularly successful, aerial surveys and road counts “show that populations of wildlife on conservancy land have rebounded and poaching is virtually non-existent.”

There are lessons here for state and local policy: local, bottom-up solutions are often far-more effective than complex, top-down decrees. Read Karol’s full piece here.