The world's biodiversity is in trouble, with wildlife crime, the spread of invasive species, and loss of habitat reducing the number of species. The loss has economy-wide consequences, but biodiversity is especially important for the 870 million rural poor whose livelihoods and safety nets are inextricably linked to natural and semi-natural ecosystems.
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About the Danube Delta RegionThe Danube Delta is one of the continent’s most valuable habitats for specific delta wildlife and biodiversity. Established as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar site... Show More + in 1990, it is the Europe’s second largest delta, and the best preserved of European deltas.The most significant physical and ecological feature of the Danube Delta is its vast expanse of wetlands, including freshwater marsh, lakes and ponds, streams and channels. With an area of 3,446 km2, is the world’s largest wetland. Only 9% of the area is permanently above water.The Delta hosts extraordinary biodiversity and provides important environmental services. It is the home of over 1,200 varieties of plants, 300 species of birds, as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.There are 16 strictly protected areas in the delta where no economic activities are allowed, and areas for ecological rehabilitation and buffer zones between economical areas where tourist activities are permitted as long as the environment is protected.Dual Challenge in Developing the Danube DeltaA dual challenge for the sustainable development of the Danube Delta is the conservation of its ecological assets and improvement of the quality of life for its residents.The Danube Delta is the largest remaining natural delta in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It is also the only river that is entirely contained within a Biosphere Reserve. It is important to conserve all of its ecological assets.Danube Delta is perhaps one of the least inhabited regions of temperate Europe, with only about 10,000 people in one town (Sulina) and about 20 scattered villages. Life for the residents of the core Delta is challenging and access to essential social and economic services is limited.Acute isolation and harsh conditions of living, based mainly on subsistence characterize the Delta. Water transport is often the only option to reach and travel from destinations in the core Delta. The area has lower access to basic services, such as piped water and sewerage, than the neighboring rural areas.Health and education services are also constrained by inaccessibility and decreasing population. The ecological significance and economic and social challenges of this unique region of the Danube Delta makes it necessary to elaborate an integrated development strategy to guide the sustainable development of the region. Read More Show Less -
Washington, D.C. December 9, 2014 – The World Bank approved today a US$10.4 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), aimed at reducing deforestation and preserving biodiversity in clo... Show More +se to nine million hectares (almost the size of Hungary) in the Caqueta and Guaviare departments of Colombia’s Amazon region. Funding will be used for the Forest Conservation and Sustainability in the Heart of the Colombian Amazon Project, which seeks to improve governance and promote sustainable land-use practices.“The Project lays the ground for a type of land management system that uses a rural development point of view that values conservation and responds to the economic and productive needs of local inhabitants,” said Alberto Galan, Executive Director of Patrimonio Natural, the organization responsible for implementing the donation in coordination with the Ministry of the Environment. “As part of this project, we are in charge of making strategic investments drawing on multiple experiences at the service of more effective processes, based on multi-sectorial partnerships and a long term approach.”The project will benefit close to 3,500 indigenous people in seven indigenous reserves. It is estimated that close to 200 peasant families will also benefit from the implementation of agroforestry productive systems and the transfer of forest conservation techniques. The project proposes activities aimed at easing the pressure on deforestation and biodiversity while helping to generate opportunities for vulnerable communities in the area, including small-scale farmers and indigenous communities. The project will also have a positive impact on regional productive associations, local governments and environmental authorities.The importance of the Amazon rainforest is known globally: it is the world’s largest carbon sink, serving as a powerful climate regulator. It is one of the planet’s great biological reserves, home to millions of endemic species, purveyor of ecological services and refuge to several indigenous communities.“This project ratifies the World Bank’s commitment to the environment and the Colombian government. We support the Vision Amazonia initiative and we are confident that it will contribute to the preservation of biodiversity in Colombia’s Amazon region,” said Gerardo Corrochano, World Bank Director for Colombia and Mexico.Back in 2013, the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development presented Vision Amazonia, an initiative that seeks to establish partnerships between the country and the international community around development models for the reduction of carbon emissions in these rainforest areas. Moreover, at the United Nations Climate Change Summit Colombia ratified its pledge to reduce Amazon deforestation to zero by 2020. The project is the first one that falls under Vision Amazonia and is aligned with the activities and goals of the National Development Plan for the Protected Areas Program, which will contribute to the preservation and conservation of the existing network of protected areas and the interconnectivity between the Andes and the Amazon regions via the Macarena mountain range.Between 1990 and 2010, Colombia lost 6.2 million hectares of forest. Preliminary figures indicate that if this situation persists, by 2020 it will have lost 1.3 million hectares. The main cause is extensive livestock farming, followed by colonization.Project implementation will be supported by the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development; IDEAM; National Natural Parks, and the SINCHI Institute for Amazon Research and Natural Heritage. Show Less -