Biodiversity challenges are not unique for any single country. Governments, authorities, universities and other training institutions benefit when they share their knowledge not just within their country but across the region. Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus (IBiS) fosters this regional exchange in the South Caucasus.
Our efforts are already showings signs of success. Exchange and dialogue are taking place between decision makers and experts in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia on urgent environmental issues of cross-border significance, such as the sustainable management of ecosystem services, and establishing biosphere reserves in the region.
One of the projects we initiated is an online platform to further facilitate dialogue between actors in the region. The platform is developed together with the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus.
INTEGRATING ECOSYSTEM SERVICES INTO DEVELOPMENT PLANNING
Ecosystem services refer to the benefits and goods offered by our natural surroundings. They can provide an enormous economic benefit, and the ecosystem’s degradation is a clear threat to human development. That is why we incorporate ecosystem services into development planning and have been training actors in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to do so.
The training takes place at a supranational level, but one aspect of it has a particularly regional focus. A group of people from the three countries in the South Caucasus came together in Georgia for a training of trainers. They now conduct trainings for academic institutions and public agencies in their home countries on how to integrate the ecosystem services approach into development planning.
SHARING KNOWLEDGE ACROSS BORDERS
In the process, they also created a network of continued learning processes that crosses national borders. The training participants will share their knowledge and experience of how to integrate the concept of ecosystem services into academic curricula or into various development planning processes.