You’re viewing a version of this story optimized for slow connections. To see the full story click here.

Parks for Development

How completely our lives and futures depend on nature’s priceless web.

Story by UNDP in Asia & the Pacific May 26th, 2014

A UNDP-GEF Photo Exhibit

The ecosystems we live within and the biodiversity that enriches them form the web of life on which every human being depends. This vibrant and amazing shared home has endured and evolved for millennia. But the seven billion humans alive today are collectively exploiting the Earth’s resources at increasing intensity and its biodiversity is being lost at unprecedented rates.

This series of photos present the multiple contributions of protected areas to human wellbeing and sustainable development. It also presents successes from the protected area projects financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Protected areas also have a role to play in addressing many 21st century challenges—by securing livelihoods, mitigating climate change and promoting resilience.

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_1.jpg

As humanity develops this planet rapidly, we can easily forget how completely our lives and future depend on nature’s priceless web. Protected areas not only conserve biodiversity, they also secure the wellbeing of humanity itself. More than 2,500 marine and terrestrial protected areas and indigenous and community conservation areas—covering 353 million hectares in 102 countries—have benefited from GEF-financed UNDP-supported investments in governance, management effectiveness and livelihood generation.

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_2.jpg

But to fulfil their potential protected areas need to be effectively governed and managed, and sustainably financed. UNDP with financing from the GEF supports countries to expand and strengthen protected area networks. UNDP’s strategy, following UNDP’s Biodiversity and Ecosystems Global Framework 2012-2020, is to unlock the potential of terrestrial and marine protected area systems so they are effectively managed and sustainably financed, and contribute to sustainable development. Better managed, better connected, better governed and better financed protected areas will benefit us all and can be engines for local and national development.

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_3.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_4.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_5.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_6.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_7.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_8.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_9.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_10.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_11.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_12.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_13.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_14.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_15.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_16.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_17.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_18.jpg

What are these photos about? (Optional)

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_19.jpg

Coming to the end of our story, as the evidence in this exhibit demonstrates, protected areas not only protect biodiversity, they support sustainable development both within and beyond their borders. Protecting the biodiversity and ecosystems that constitute our shared home is fundamental to secure livelihoods and to meet country development priorities, including food and water security and resilience against shocks and the impacts of climate change. Only by protecting our biodiversity and ecosystems will humanity be able to thrive and prosper in the future. In this way, the work of countries to protect their natural wealth—as presented in this exhibit—is essentially about people. The threats, the problems, the hope and the solutions; all come back to the same source. Us.

UNDP_Parks_for_Development.pdf_20.jpg