Connecting Sustainable Development Goals 15 and 16: BioTrade Experiences in Colombia and Indonesia

Biodiversity is life’s foundation as it provides resources for basic human needs in terms of food, fuel, medicine, shelter, transportation, as well as environmental services such as protecting water sources. It is also important for businesses as natural raw materials enable the development of products and services, or are used for recreation or cultural activities, which also generate income for local communities.

Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests and non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for their livelihoods (Secretariat of the CBD, 2015a). Many households in Asia, derived as much as 50–80 per cent of their annual household income from NTFPs, namely from biodiversity resources (Secretariat of the CBD, 2014). In the Latin American region some 75 per cent of households depend directly on biodiversity to meet their basic needs for food and water as well as to preserve their culture (CAF, 2015).

Biodiversity is the natural capital base for a sustainable economy. Many developing countries rich in biological resources have the potential to capture the market and use such products as an engine for sustainable development. The conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use and trade of its derived products and services can provide countries valuable opportunities for economic development and improvement of livelihoods.

However, biodiversity is being lost at accelerating rates; “13 million hectares of forest being lost every year … and 52 per cent of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation” (United Nations, 2015a).

Livelihoods and naturalbased industries are connected through biodiversity. Biodiversity loss reduces the capacity of ecosystems to provide the essential services for human survival. If biodiversity is not responsibly managed and sustainably used it will not generate livelihoods and business opportunities, nor provide the basic needs and development opportunities much needed in rural areas. This is particularly relevant in post-conflict situations in developing countries, as two thirds of biodiversity hotspots and priority conservation areas around the world have been affected by conflict between 1950 and 2000 (Hanson et al, 2009).

Biodiversity, through its sustainable use and generation of derived tradeable products and services, can serve as a key foundation upon which conflictaffected communities and ex-combatants can derive economically feasible and environmentally friendly opportunities.

This is what UNCTAD, is promoting through its BioTrade Initiative. The Initiative fosters the development of biodiversity-based businesses, value chains and sectors under economic, social and environmental sustainability criteria.

This document aims to demonstrate how BioTrade is supporting countries to build sustainable and peaceful societies, thus illustrating the connection between the Sustainable Development Goals 15 (Life on land) and SDG16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions).

It starts by providing an overview of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the linkages between trade, biodiversity and peaceful, inclusive societies. Secondly, BioTrade is analysed, particularly its principles, approaches and methodologies and how these can support peacebuilding and postconflict processes. Afterwards, case studies from Colombia and Indonesia are presented. Finally, the document provides general and specific conclusions and recommendations for developing post-conflict BioTrade initiatives and programmes.