The Ecosystem Management Programme (EMP), in collaboration with the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), has worked closely with private businesses at local landscape levels in promoting and applying the Ecosystem Approach (EsA). In Latin America fisheries companies, the forest industry and agricultural companies have been actively engaged in applying the EsA at a multi-stakeholder level. This has led to improved benefit sharing and sustainable natural resource use. CEM is working with tourism business operators and resort development projects in the Archipelago of Panama, Bocas del Toro, to utilise the EsA principle in the sustainable development of the tourism industry. Reduction of development impacts on coastal ecosystems, enhancing local livelihoods and long term planning for sustainable development are key objectives in this initiative.

In Indonesian Papua and Congo, forest companies have been working with CEM/EMP to achieve sustainable forest management. Using the EsA, stakeholders have improved logging practices and landowner participation for social equity in the area.

EMP, together with United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), collaborated with Governments, NGO’s and the extractive industries in publishing guidelines on planning and management to minimize land degradation and desertification in arid and semi-arid zones from extractive industries operations. The Oil and Gas Producers Forum in Texas, Shell and British Petroleum contributed immensely to the publication, through their field experiences.

 Application of EsA demands engagement of all stakeholders in a landscape. Private business involvement is therefore critical in achieving sustainable management of the landscape as CEM continues to promote EsA. EMP also aims to enhance engagement with the private sector in areas of climate change, disaster risk reduction, dryland livelihoods and island conservation, at local, regional and global levels. With developing country Governments having limited resources and capacity, climate change implications affecting all sectors and growing interest from the private sector to be engaged in conservation dialogues, EMP and CEM look forward to forging new, long-term and innovative partnerships!