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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

BfN Schriften 80 - The International Debate on the Ecosystem Approach: Critical Review, International Actors, Obstacles and Challenges

The Ecosystem Approach (EsA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an effort to codify
basic elements of holistic natural resources management with special emphasis on biodiversity.
Volkmar Hartje, Axel Klaphake and Rainer Schliep
Federal Agency for Nature Conservation
Year of publication


In 1995 during the CBD’s second Conference of Parties (COP), the EsA was introduced as a general principle for the first time and in 2000, the CBD’s fifth COP specified the approach by adopting twelve principles and
five operational guidelines in order to clarify the conceptual basis of the EsA and to provide a guide for
implementation. In line with the overall objectives of the CBD, the EsA demands an integrated strategy
for the management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in
an equitable way.

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