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 seminatural ecosystems.

The loss of biodiversity has negative effects on livelihoods, clean water supply, food security, and resilience to environmental disasters. It has consequences for 75 percent of the world's poor—some 870 million people—who live in rural areas and rely on ecosystems and the goods they produce to make a living.

The World Bank is one of the largest international financiers of biodiversity conservation, with a portfolio of 245 projects worth $1.058 billion in the 10 years from fiscal 2004 to 2013. These projects have been undertaken in 74 countries, with the majority in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The World Bank works with countries to put policies in place so that biodiversity is valued as a key driver of sustainable development. It helps countries improve their administration to better conserve and sustainably use their biodiversity. The Bank invests in those aspects of biodiversity and ecosystem services—such as watershed management and protected areas—that help countries achieve their development goals. The Bank also helps countries find ways to generate revenues from biodiversity-including through tourism payments for environmental services—that will cover the cost of managing their biodiversity and improve economies.

World Bank biodiversity projects include providing support for protected areas, institution building, integrating biodiversity conservation into production landscapes, designing sustainable financing schemes for conservation, promoting nature tourism, and fighting wildlife crime and the spread of invasive species.


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