More about this guideline
Avoidance refers to measures taken to avoid creating impacts from the outset, such as careful spatial or temporal placement of a project to completely avoid impacting certain elements of biodiversity. Avoidance should always be the first and most significant priority of any organisation or company seeking to develop a project in a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) and is most effective when considered before project design. As globally important sites, operating within KBAs will significantly increase exposure and reputational risk to a company.
The financial, conservation, and reputational benefits associated with avoidance, when compared to other elements of the mitigation hierarchy, include:
There are three major types of avoidance that can be considered when applying the mitigation hierarchy to projects within KBAs (Hardner et.al. 2015). These include:
There are several IUCN resolutions relevant to avoidance:
RECOGNISING that the concept of areas being 'no-go', or off-limits, to environmentally damaging industrial-scale activities, including industrial-scale mining, oil and gas, and agriculture, and environmentally damaging infrastructure, such as dams, roads, and pipelines, is integral to conservation policy for protected areas and other sites of known importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services.
7. CALLS ON the business community to respect all categories of protected areas as 'no go' areas for environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development, to withdraw from those activities in these areas, and not to conduct future activities in protected areas;
8. URGES companies, public sector bodies, financial institutions (including development banks), relevant certification bodies and relevant industry groups not to conduct, invest in, or fund environmentally damaging industrial activities and infrastructure development within, or that negatively impact, protected areas or any areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services that are identified by governments as essential to achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and to make public commitments to this effect.
3. ENCOURAGES States, the private sector and international financial institutions to …. avoid loss and degradation of primary forests, including intact forest landscapes;
3. URGES Members, especially State and Government Agency Members, as well as the private sector, to … ensure that land-use planning for oil palm plantations is done to avoid areas of intact forest, Key Biodiversity Areas, High Carbon Stock forests, peatlands, World Heritage Sites, and territories and areas of indigenous peoples and local communities, in order to ensure maximum conservation of biodiversity, maintenance of ecological integrity, protection of livelihoods, and avoidance of conflict;
1. CALLS UPON the international community, aid and humanitarian agencies, all IUCN Members, and other organisations to recognise and promote the rights of communities to exercise self-determination in the formulation of policies and projects affecting their environment and security;
References and Resources
Hardner, J., Gullison, R.E., Anstee, S., and Meyer, M. (2015). Good practices for biodiversity inclusive impact assessment and management planning. Prepared for the Multilateral Financing Institutions Biodiversity Working Group. http://publications.iadb.org/handle/11319/7094