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Malagasy President Expresses Interest in Biodiversity Offsets

The Ecosystem Marketplace catches up with the recently profiled BBOP program on the road in Madagascar.

The President of the Republic of Madagascar, Marc Ravalomanana, recently invited members of the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program to the Presidential Palace to discuss biodiversity offsets.

President Ravolomanana described the challenge of reconciling development with biodiversity conservation in Madagascar, and expressed his interest in biodiversity offsets as a tool for doing so.

The President discussed the potential of biodiversity offsets in Madagascar with BBOP Director Kerry ten Kate, of Forest Trends, Dr. Assheton Stewart Carter of Conservation International, who serves on the BBOP Secretariat, and Dr. Jon Ekstrom of Birdlife International, a member of BBOP's Advisory Committee.

The President explained that, as a businessman, he is looking for real action and practical sustainable development solutions, so he was enthusiastic about BBOP's approach of undertaking pilot biodiversity offset projects with companies.

After discussing mining projects in Madagascar, the President encouraged BBOP to collaborate with the government of Madagascar on a national workshop on biodiversity offsets with companies, government departments and conservation experts. He recommended that that regional as well as national government should be involved, as well as mining, agriculture and forestry companies, and other industry sectors whose management of land has a bearing on Madagascar's biodiversity. He outlined poverty and people's felling of trees as key threats to biodiversity conservation in Africa, stressing the importance of working with local communities.

"Madagascar is a jewel in biodiversity terms," said BBOP Director Kerry ten Kate, "and also faces considerable development pressures to meet its people's needs. We were honored to be invited to discuss biodiversity offsets with the President and the BBOP team stands ready to help Madagascar explore the issues."

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CI's Assheton Carter and members of the BBOP program with Malagasy President Marc Ravalomanana


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