New report examines Biodiversity Offsets Case Study from Madagascar

Amrei von Hase, Andrew Cooke, Aris­tide Andri­a­narim­isa, Riv­olala Andri­amparany, Vanessa Mass, Robin Mitchell and Kerry ten Kate Have pub­lished a new report on the BBOP Ambat­ovy min­ing case study in Mada­gas­car enti­tled “Work­ing Towards No Net Loss and Beyond. Ambat­ovy, Mada­gas­car — A Case Study (2014)”.

You can down­load it from the BBOP library (thanks Patrick for shar­ing this infor­ma­tion). The doc­u­ment is avail­able online. For more infor­ma­tion see the abstract and some of the authors’ con­clu­sions below.


Ambat­ovy joined the Busi­ness and Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Pro­gramme (BBOP) in 2006 as a pilot project. In 2009, Ambat­ovy, together with BBOP, pub­lished a case study on the company’s bio­di­ver­sity man­age­ment and off­set work up to that point (avail­able at les/doc_3118.pdf). The present doc­u­ment serves as an update on Ambatovy’s progress achieved since then and fol­low­ing a second-party eval­u­a­tion (pre-audit) against the BBOP Stan­dard on Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets (BBOP, 2012) and the Inter­na­tional Finance Corporation’s Per­for­mance Stan­dard 6 (IFC, 2012). For more detail and a his­tory of the company’s work in apply­ing the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy and bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting, it is use­ful also to refer back to the 2009 orig­i­nal case study.


In con­clu­sion: Expe­ri­ence has shown that off­set­ting of resid­ual bio­di­ver­sity impacts must be seen as an inte­gral part of the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy, involv­ing fi rst and fore­most the design and imple­men­ta­tion of rig­or­ous, defen­si­ble, and real­is­tic avoid­ance, min­imi­sa­tion, and restora­tion mea­sures. Fur­ther­more, putting in place an adap­tive man­age­ment approach to rec­on­cile the assump­tions upon which the mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures were based with empir­i­cal evi­dence of their results is essen­tial. These ele­ments of best prac­tice are fun­da­men­tal to the approach taken by Ambat­ovy in order to sup­port the company’s efforts to fulfi l its com­mit­ment to no net loss of bio­di­ver­sity in line with inter­na­tional stan­dards and evolv­ing best practice.

A num­ber of tech­ni­cal and prac­ti­cal chal­lenges are involved in work­ing towards the goal of no net loss. These have included aspects such as defi ning appro­pri­ate bio­di­ver­sity met­rics, col­lect­ing the data required for ana­lyz­ing and mon­i­tor­ing bio­di­ver­sity across a range of sites, and devel­op­ing and retain­ing the exper­tise required to sup­port this work. It is not easy, per­haps espe­cially in a sit­u­a­tion char­ac­terised by high lev­els of bio­di­ver­sity, to move beyond the most basic met­rics (such as habi­tat hectares) to include pri­or­ity species or to develop prac­ti­cal mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems to pro­vide inde­pen­dently ver­ifi able infor­ma­tion. Guid­ance from exter­nal spe­cial­ists has been essen­tial, yet the avail­able pool of skills in this area of exper­tise is still quite lim­ited. Fur­ther­more, the imple­men­ta­tion of effec­tive and last­ing bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion mea­sures is not a triv­ial task in a con­text such as pre­sented by Madagascar.

These chal­lenges should not, how­ever, be allowed to delay mea­sures to address the com­plex social and eco­nomic chal­lenges that need to be addressed to develop appro­pri­ate and ade­quate bio­di­ver­sity off­sets. The Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set Stan­dard, in par­tic­u­lar, is help­ful in high­light­ing the key prin­ci­ples and require­ments for mak­ing off­sets a defen­si­ble and last­ing com­po­nent of the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy. Over­all, the com­bi­na­tion of IFC per­for­mance stan­dards PS6 and PS1 and the Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set Stan­dard pro­vides a clear and coher­ent frame­work for achiev­ing no net loss or a net gain for bio­di­ver­sity and this has been indis­pens­able in guid­ing Ambatovy’s bio­di­ver­sity man­age­ment and con­ser­va­tion programme.

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