Whether in the Terai lowlands of Nepal, the floodplains of the Caprivi in Namibia, or the Afromontane forests of Uganda, the issues that threaten species are often the same as, or closely related to, some of the root causes of poverty. These include the marginalization of rural communities, weak governance and political instability.
Power in the hands of the people
Sustainable environmental management that occurs hand-in-hand with development can create a real future for the world's poorest and most vulnerable people, and also halt species extinction. It is the rural poor who live in natural areas and use natural resources for their survival. To truly attain sustainable development, it is these rural people who must be the able to conserve and manage the natural resource base.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
MDGs (UN, 2000) are the guiding framework for development assistance and commit the international community to halving poverty by 2015.
However, though environmental sustainability is recognized as essential to development, and biodiversity conservation efforts are acknowledged (EC/DFID/IUCN, 2001) for their role in meeting human needs, the reality is that biodiversity conservation and management are still marginalized in development frameworks and funding.
Species conservation programmes helping deliver environmental sustainability
This is particularly true for species conservation, which has suffered from the misconception that it has little to do with people and their development priorities. The reality is the converse: species conservation can and does deliver on, inter alia, poverty reduction and livelihood improvement.