The rural poor, who directly rely on ecosystem goods and services for their diet, health, and livelihoods, are disproportionately affected.
The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
concluded that the degradation of environmental services is a significant barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs
) – and that this impediment could grow significantly worse over the next 50 years. It also found that the harmful effects of environmental service degradation are often the principal drivers of poverty and social conflict.
By safeguarding biodiversity and natural habitats, protected areas have a key role to play in ensuring the continued supply of essential environmental goods and services. In this way, they can contribute towards poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Despite this, development strategies, policies, and programmes often neglect the importance of environmental protection for meeting long-term sustainable development goals.