Connect: mainstreaming biodiversity information into the heart of government decision making

April 2016 to September 2020

Biodiversity and ecosystem services are essential components of a healthy economy. To achieve truly sustainable development, governments must integrate information about biodiversity and ecosystems services into their decision-making processes.

Cultivated fields and forests

Large areas of Ugandan forests are being converted to agriculture (Photo: Rod Waddington via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0)

Loss of biodiversity and impacts on ecosystem services have significant consequences across a range of sectors, including poverty reduction and development. In order to change this, government decision makers need to have access to information about biodiversity that helps them to understand the potential impacts of the decisions that they are taking.

At the same time, biodiversity data and information providers also need improved understanding of decision-making processes, and how information can be best provided so it can be most effectively used within those processes.

The Connect project aims to help governments to achieve sustainable development by improving the availability and usability of information about biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Focused on Ghana, Uganda and Mozambique, it is a multi-partner initiative coordinated by United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and funded by the Global Environment Facility. National partners come from relevant ministries, the scientific community, non-government organisations, civil society and local communities. Its key aims are to:

  • Clearly understand the demands for, and the barriers to using, information on biodiversity within government decision making, and clarify the format, timing and packaging of information required
  • Repackage and promote existing biodiversity data and information from a range of national and international sources, and
  • Strengthen the connection between government decision makers and providers of information and data on biodiversity and ecosystem, so that policy-relevant, spatially-explicit information can continue to be provided sustainably to meet ongoing national needs.

What is IIED doing?

IIED is supporting the national teams to understand the demands for biodiversity information, and the barriers to and opportunities for connecting government decision makers with providers of biodiversity information.

As part of this, we are providing tailored guidance on conducting political economy analysis and supporting the country teams to apply it and engage key stakeholders. We are also providing ongoing technical support in response to national team needs.

Based on cross-country learning, IIED is also leading the development of a general guide to political economy analysis that can be widely used by those who want to mainstream biodiversity information into government decision-making processes.

For more information about the project and all its news and outputs, visit the Connect website.