Ecosystems benefit human well-being through the myriad services they provide, such as provisioning services (e.g. food, water, etc.), regulatory services (e.g. climate, water quality and erosion control), support services (e.g. land and its use for primary production) and even cultural services (e.g. tourism and recreation).
UN Environmet’s programme on ecosystems management is focused on highlighting the value of biological diversity and ecosystems for society and also the economic cost of their degradation and loss. The attention is on caring for and maintaining the planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity in order to satisfy both ecological and human needs of future generations.
Latin America and the Caribbean is the region with the greatest biological diversity on the planet and includes many of the so called mega-biodiverse in the world. Their economy is largely based on their rich biological diversity. However this biodiversity is increasing under threat as a result of human activity and of a series of interrelated factors such as: transformation and habitat fragmentation; over-exploitation or unsustainable use of land and water resources; unsustainable practices in land management; and demographic pressure and globalisation.
One of UN Environment’s priorities, as set out in the medium-term Strategy (2014-2017), is for countries to place this focus on ecosystems in order to improve human welfare as well as to promote sustainable development. To achieve this goal, the organization recommends the implementation of equitable policies founded on scientific information and traditional knowledge; policies that are, in essence, participatory and cross-sectoral and seek to protect and restore biological resources.