Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2013, Claudia Lewis, Plan C Initiative, Carlos L. de la Rosa, Catalina Island Conservancy, "The Youth Guide to Biodiversity" 1st Edition (Chapter 12) Youth and United Nations Global Alliance. Reproduced with permission.
Chapter 12. Verbatim.
At the core of many biodiversity efforts are non-governmental organisations, or NGOs. An NGO is an organisation that is not part of a government; it exists for the purpose of advancing and promoting the common good, working in partnership with communities, governments and businesses to realise important goals that benefit all of society (see box: “The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership”).
These organisations can work at the local, national and/or international levels. Worldwide, there are hundreds of thousands of biodiversity-related NGOs at national and local level. Examples at the international level include the World Wide Fund for Nature, The Nature Conservancy and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (a list of these organisations is provided at the end of the chapter).
NGOs are part of what the World Bank calls “Civil Society Organisations” or CSOs, which also include trade unions, faith-based organisations, indigenous people movements, foundations and many others. NGOs and CSOs sometimes work independently but often collaborate with governments.
Civil society organisations help to conserve biodiversity in various ways. They:
1) Empower local communities
2) Stimulate public awareness and action
3) Shape policy
4) Develop new strategies for sustainable livelihoods
5) Test and disseminate new and improved technologies and techniques
6) Build partnerships and networks
Companies Can Also Play A Role In Biodiversity Conservation
© FAO /Ozan Ozan Kose
The private sector can also make an important contribution to the conservation of biodiversity, for example by reducing their impact through sustainable production and business practices or by directly supporting biodiversity initiatives.
Support can also be provided through public-private collaboration in which companies work with government institutions, international organisations, research centres or NGO s on biodiversity-related initiatives.
Companies, especially those in sectors such as food and beverages, are highly dependent on biodiversity and ecosystem services to develop their products and undertake their operations. Hence, these biodiversity-dependent industries should have an interest in maintaining their resource base.
Public opinion and consumer choices can also influence private sector actions by putting pressure on companies to improve their social and environmental credentials.