TR15: Can Smart Villages help to stem biodiversity loss?

Technical report

Biodiversity is important at various levels, including the economic, social and environmental. It is critically important for rural communities through the provision of ecosystem services, including energy access, a link that is often overlooked. The concept of ‘Smart Villages’ is that
modern energy access in the form of sustainable renewable energy can contribute as a catalyst for development—education, health, food security, environment, productive enterprises, and participatory democracy—and for the alleviation of poverty. Seventy per cent of the poorest people live in rural areas and are farmers, of whom about half are women. One of the key ideas is that while biodiversity preservation and the alleviation of abject poverty are seen as two distinct objectives, smart villages can contribute to both since there is considerable overlap in practice. By an integrated approach, smart villages can help to stem biodiversity loss by the skilful adoption and integration of modern technologies that improve biomass utilisation, agricultural practices, and genetic conservation; priorities that are compatible with several of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Smart villages enable rural communities to take
an active role in preserving their environment instead of depleting natural capital for their day-to-day survival.

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