IUCN-RBP is happy to announce the launch of its Programme Strategy (2002-2005) on 20th November in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The Strategy highlights the Programme's activities and future priorities. A PDF version of this will be available on line soon.

Several thousands of development planners and practitioners met at the Johannesburg in September 2002 to reaffirm their commitment to making humans happier and our planet resourceful. Coming after 20 years since the Stockholm Summit and 10 years after the Rio Summit, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) is yet another milestone in the thinking process to put sustainable development in practice. Even though little time was spent on what happened in the previous 20 years,plans were elaborated for the next 20 years with some road maps and targets.

One of the significant features of the discussion both at pre-WSSD as well as during WSSD meetings were the attention paid to cooperation at regional levels. Partnerships between public and private sectors were discussed with a view to enhance such cooperation.

Like any other global discussion forum, WSSD also identified a new acronym to forward its mandate – the WEHAB initiative. The five specific areas to support sustainable livelihoods, viz, Water and Sanitation, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity were the key elements identified that needs focus and support. Having agreed at the apex level of Heads of States, principles of WEHAB form the nucleus of thinking and action in the next decade with Millennium Declaration, Rio Conventions and other international agreements forming the satellites.

With such specificities, WEHAB obviously will be the guiding framework for action for several of us. However, developing implementable frameworks under each of the action areas remains a challenge.

IUCN- Regional Biodiversity Programme (RBP) would focus its attention on translating some of WEHAB ideas into action under Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity sectors. Initiatives through ongoing activities will be fine tuned to support the elements under WEHAB.

One of the significant opportunity (RBP) has is the possibility of addressing synergies under conventions and treaties through WEHAB. The programme is currently developing regional action on integrating principles of UNFCCC and CBD with an aim to provide basic groundwater at national level.


Established in 1996, the IUCN Regional Biodiversity Programme, Asia aims to help countries in the region effectively implement the provisions of Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) in addition to supporting national and regional initiatives on securing community and household livelihood securities.

The Programme is one of the significant regional initiatives working across 18 countries in Asia through a partnership approach to help build capacity and decision making at various levels.

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The Regional Biodiversity Programme, Asia is currently implementing projects in about 12 countries in Asia on a range of issues concerning conservation and development with a commitment to work in partnership to build capacity in the region. The programme is aiming for both strategic and sustainable presence in the region.

The programme's strategy for 2002-2005 emphasises the fact that creating an enabling environment is the prelude to successful development as well as implementation of policies and programmes.

Currently the programme is strengthening its funding base, human resources and strategic linkages with other regions and internationally.

Balakrishna Pisupati Ph.D.


Water and Sanitation
Water is critical not only for life, but also for sustainable development. Under the initiative agreed for in Johannesburg the following are the key action areas:

Action Area 1: Halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water

Action Area 2: Halve the proportion of people with sustainable access to improved

Action Area 3: Develop integrated water resources management (IWRM) framework,
including integrated coastal area and river basin management (ICRM), and prepare and
implement water management action plans at the country level. (Linkage with MDG 7 and Draft Plan of Implementation, para. 25)

Action Area 4: Accelerated water productivity gains in irrigated agricultural systems to contribute to food security, relieve environmental pressures and provide scope for water transfers to other important productive uses.

Action Area 5: safeguard human health, including reduction in mortality rate (associatedwith lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene), by improving the quality of drinking water.

Action Area 6: Strengthen disaster preparedness planning processes at the country level to protect the poor from the impact of water-related disasters (floods and droughts),particularly in low-lying countries and Small Island developing states.

Action Area 7: Mobilize financial resources to meet the investment needs in the water

Action Area 8: Strengthen institutional and technical capacities of developing countries in the implementation of IWRM, ICARM and water governance at the country level, including those dealing with the O&M of water schemes.

Action Area 9: Protect the quality of surface and groundwater as well as of the aquatic ecosystems and coastal zones.


Although energy is not a basic human need, it is critical for the fulfillment of all needs. Under the energy segment of WEHAB, the following action points along with indicative targets,examples of activities have been provided:

 Action Area 1: Reduce poverty by providing access to modern energy services in rural and peri-urban areas.

 Action Area 2: Improve health and reduce environmental impacts of traditional fuels and cooking devices.

Action Area 3: Improve access to affordable and diversified energy sources in Africa.

Action Area 4: Reduce poverty by providing access to modern energy services in rural
and peri-urban areas.

Action Area 5: Improve energy efficiency in all sectors using established practices on
standards and labeling techniques.

Action Area 6: Improve efficiency in power generation.

Action Area 7: Progressively increase contribution of renewable energy mix of all countries.

Action Area 8: Improve access to basic health care and education for poor people through the provision of renewable energy systems in primary health care centers and schools.

Action Area 9: Promote the use of renewable energy in vaccine and immunization

Action Area 10: Provide the use of renewable energy to facilitate access to safe drinking water.

Action Area 11: Increase the use of advanced fossil fuel technologies for energy generation.

Action Area 12: Promote the use of clean coal technologies (CCTs) in countries using

Action Area 13: Reduce atmospheric pollution from energy generating systems.

Action Area 14: Enhance productivity through advanced fossil fuel technologies.

Action Area 15: Improve air quality and public health through the introduction of cleaner vehicular fuels.

Action Area 16: Implement better transportation practices and systems in mega-cities.

Action Area 17: Promote new technologies for transport.

 Health and the Environment

Principle 7 of Rio declaration on Environment and Development states  “ Human beings are at the center of concern for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature”. Under WEHAB, this issue has been addressed under 6 | action areas:

Action Area 1: Reduce poverty and malnutrition.

Action Area 2: Improve access to affordable, efficient and effective health services and reduce infant, child and maternal mortality.

Action Area 3: Control or eradicate major diseases.

Action Area 4: Improve health and sustainable development planning.

Action Area 5: Address health and environment linkages.

Action Area 6: Improve capacities in risk management/disaster preparedness related to health.


Agriculture plays a central role in development and poverty eradication. With 70 per cent of poor and hungry coming from developing countries, agriculture always enjoyed a lead focus on discussions dealing with health, nutrition, energy and food securities. WEHAB aim to address issues of agriculture under 4 action areas:

Action Area 1: Increase agricultural productivity and sustain or enhance the natural resources base, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, contributing to efforts to eradicate poverty and ensure environmental sustainability

Action Area 2: Encourage knowledge generation and transfer through research, extension, education and communication.

Action Area 3: Establish innovative public-private partnerships to stimulate joint
s implementation of sustainable agriculture and natural resource conservation.

Action Area 4: Develop enabling policies and associated institutional reforms and regulatory frameworks, including improved infrastructure and access to markets, capital and financial services.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management

Biodiversity forms the basis of life. It not only supports ecosystem functions but also
contributes to local and regional economies significantly. Issues under these are addressed through 2 action areas under WEHAB initiative

Action Area 1: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes, as called for in MDG-7. For biodiversity, this means being integrated, as the living basis for sustainable development, into development programmes and economic sectors’plans, strategies and responsibilities.

Action Area 2:  reverse the loss of environmental resources, as called for in MDG-7. For biodiversity, this means halting the loss of biodiversity and restoring, if at all possible,biodiversity in degraded areas, as endorsed by the CBD COP-6.

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