The BioBiz Exchange initiative aims to empower civil society organisations (CSOs) to engage more effectively with businesses, and enable positive outcomes for the mitigation of impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem systems that people and communities reply upon.
The initiative offers CSOs a platform to collectively share knowledge and expertise, while accelerating their learning and capacity to advocate with business, government and financial institutions.
The ultimate goal is for companies to improve their business practices by avoiding potential impacts on biodiversity, reducing their environmental footprint and managing their operations in a more sustainable manner. In some cases, this could result in a net biodiversity gain.
First region for the BioBiz Exchange: West Africa
In the initial phase of this project, IUCN is focused on CSOs active in landscapes in West Africa. This experience will help create a framework and outputs that can be scaled up in other regions in Africa and beyond.
Funded by Agence Francaise du Developpment (AFD) as part of its work on "Entreprise, economie et finance," this initiative prioritises CSOs that are interested in engaging business in landscapes, where existing pressures from economic activities are affecting key ecosystem services and/or the integrity of nationally-identified Key Biodiversity Areas.
The BioBiz Exchange complements and strengthens existing projects within the IUCN portfolio by providing capacity building and training in other landscapes as well. For example, it works closely with the Shared Resources, Joint Solutions Programme (active in 16 countries and nine landscapes), and the SUSTAIN-Africa Initiative (currently operating in Mozambique and Tanzania).
How the BioBiz Exchange works
The BioBiz Exhange revolves around three main outputs:
- An active regional community of practice of individuals from CSOs is established and expanded to enable peer-exchange, reflection and collaborative learning and action planning, using a blend of in-person and virtual exchange opportunities.
- A consolidated and expanded knowledge base of experiences and lessons learned is generated through the systematic and rapid gathering, analysis and documentation of lessons learned for the “most significant change” in business practices within IUCN through the PANORAMA Solutions platform.
- A model for replication is developed based on feedback through monitoring and evaluation of implementation in other countries within Africa and beyond.
To mobilise knowledge through the network, the BioBiz Exchange will run targeted “calls for knowledge” on issues critical to CSOs operating in priority landscapes. The knowledge that emerges from these calls will be shared through relevant channels, including webinars, blog posts and case studies, as well as in monthly BioBiz newsletters in French and English.