SwedBio is preparing to launch its new programme phase for the start of 2021. In the new programme phase, SwedBio will continue to advance its work for sustainable and equitable governance of biodiversity, building on its long-term legacy in key global biodiversity processes and collaborative relationships together with partners from local to global. Below is some information on how we have structured the new programme.

For the next programme phase, SwedBio has developed its theory of change that embraces the complex and dynamic nature of social-ecological systems and is adapted to the context in which SwedBio operates.

The new vision statement which all work steers towards has been developed:

“SwedBio envisions a world that is sustainably managed and where human rights are equitably fulfilled, with people being able to make sustainable choices for biodiversity rich and resilient futures while thriving in harmony with nature.

In the new theory of change, SwedBio will work with two main pathways that aim for change:

  1. Dialogue for knowledge and policy pathway
  2. Collaborative partner implementation pathway

All of the work that SwedBio does is done together with partners. In this programme phase, there are:

  • five themes,
  • six approaches, and
  • three cross-cutting principles that will help guide our work.


Climate Change
Contribute to equitable ecosystem governance and management that supports sustainable livelihoods as well as adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction related to climate change, through analysis and measures related to resilience and social-ecological systems.

SwedBio brings together different actors, including practitioners and experts, who work locally, nationally, regionally, and globally to understand and recognise the need for nature-based solutions, and in particular ecosystem-based approaches to climate change.

Nature-based solutions are important for all aspects of sustainable development and combine biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource management with a view to addressing many social and environmental challenges including climate change and its impacts. Nature-based solutions include ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and disaster risk reduction, which SwedBio highlights their importance through its partners and policy work.

In this theme, SwedBio contributes directly to a number of global policy fora, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Contribute to a transition to more diverse, equitable and sustainable agroecological food systems. These food systems should sustain and promote improved livelihoods, food security and human health.

This theme embraces activities where smallholder farmers reclaim their rights to resources and knowledge. In recent years, agroecology and regenerative farming systems have been highlighted as promising options for a more resilient food production. Diverse production systems, compared to single crop systems, enhance the availability of more nutritious foods and can better meet seasonal food needs. Hence, a specific focus will be on agricultural biodiversity in food systems, and the important role of diverse, farmer-led seed systems for food security and nutrition, sustainable and diverse diets, and health and well-being.

This theme also focuses on knowledge generation and exchange for developing localised agroecological approaches, and the important role of horizontal peer-to-peer learning networks. This could include connecting science and practice, as well as integrating resilience thinking, in the design of agroecological systems.

In addition, this theme sees food sovereignty and endogenous development as key for creating resilient food systems. Rights-based approaches to food security emerge from the recognition that poverty, social exclusion, and a lack of participation in decision-making processes are the main causes of food insecurity worldwide.

Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries
Contribute to more sustainable and equitable governance and management of social-ecological aquatic systems that uplifts small-scale fishers/farmers, fishworkers and people involved in the value chain. This is done through increasing their voices, participation and recognition of their tenure rights, by highlighting their local knowledge, values, cultures so that resilient sustainable livelihoods and food security is ensured.

Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) play a crucial role in food security and nutrition for many families, as well as an essential role in local economies, providing livelihood to many and enabling access to basic needs and services. However, SSF still lack recognition and decision-making power when it comes to ocean governance.

Furthermore, sustainable fisheries are both linked and dependent on biodiversity in the oceans and lakes. In developing countries, marine and coastal ecosystems are an important part of peoples’ food security, livelihoods, and human well-being.

This theme focuses on strengthening the recognition of SSF through supporting partner organisations in decision-making in policy arenas. SwedBio wishes to further strengthen the network-building of partners, and other relevant actors, in order to identify opportunities for synergies and collaboration.

Specifically, this theme works with the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SFF Guidelines) by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Urban Nature
Contribute to urban planning with ecosystem services and increased the understanding and use of relevant nature-based solutions – or integrated nature and culture-based solutions – in urban areas. Building capacity among local governments and other key actors for improved local implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, in cities across rapidly urbanizing Africa and Asia, is essential in this work.

SwedBio, in collaboration with partners, international experts and Stockholm Resilience Centre researchers, will continue to inform and support the development of the new biodiversity frameworks, specifically ones that focus on nature-based solutions for urban resilience. SwedBio will continue to contribute to the enabling and strengthening of multi-level governance, connecting local government and global actors.

In the 2021-2024 programme phase, this theme is working to integrate disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation in urban nature work, as well as continue experimenting with nature-based solutions (NBS). This is all done while developing implementation approaches and methodologies with our partners.

Two policy arenas that SwedBio and Urban Nature theme partners works with are the Local and Subnational Government roadmap for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework consultation and negotiation process, and the Conventional on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Biocultural Diversity
Alongside partners among Indigenous peoples and local community organisations, contribute to better governance and management of social- ecological systems and to the strengthening of biological and cultural diversity and the links between them. Increased respect and recognition for Indigenous and local knowledge, practices, values, cultures and the acknowledgement of associated rights related to biodiversity are critical parts of this.

The diverse social, cultural and environmental knowledge of Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) contribute extensively to sustainability across large parts of the globe. The scope and content of Indigenous and local knowledge brings insights of great relevance for ecosystem governance.

This theme will link partners, including local actors with Indigenous and local knowledge, to global policy fora. Largely working with the Multiple Evidence Based (MEB) approach, the Biocultural Diversity theme aims to facilitate transformational change related to biodiversity policy. This theme also works to strengthen the voices of IPLC. Furthermore, the Biocultural Diversity themes works with participatory methods, such as dialogues and walking workshops, as a way to collaborate across different knowledge systems.

This theme is working in a number of policy arenas, including the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the Conventional on Biological Diversity (CBD), such as the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.


Dialogues and learning
SwedBio has developed methods for multi-actor dialogues as a way to create more inclusive biodiversity knowledge and policy. These methods engage with diverse actors, from local to global, to craft solutions for policy and methods development processes. Two of these methods are the Multiple Evidence Base approach and the Multi-Actor Dialogue Seminars methodology.

The Multiple Evidence Base approach is a method for connecting diverse knowledge systems based on equity, transparency and usefulness for all actors involved. This approach views Indigenous, local and scientific knowledge systems as generating different manifestations of knowledge. When combined these knowledge systems can generate new insights and innovations for sustainable governance of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

SwedBio developed Multi-Actor Dialogue Seminars as a methodology to contribute to transformative social learning and conflict resolution in international policy settings. In formal international negotiations about environment and development topics, there is limited scope for transformative social learning, as the format for negotiations might prevent negotiators from truly listening to each other.

For successful collaborations across cultures, the attitudes framing the exchange are essential. Some primary principles are respect for diversity, trust, reciprocity and equal sharing. Collaborators should consider how they manage expectations to ensure, for example, that they are realistic and attainable, and timeframes – for example, by planning for necessary financial and human resources, time required to engage with relevant actors, and adapting to changing circumstances. Managing information in the knowledge process is also key, including process documentation and safeguarding sensitive or restricted information.

Furthermore, SwedBio ensures that Indigenous Peoples and Local communities (IPLC) rights, including the Right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), are respected. SwedBio also has a Human-Rights Based Approach policy (see policy section), that both SwedBio and partners are expected to follow.

Values and governance
In order to achieve the urgently needed transformations, societal values and behaviours such as production and consumption patterns, human population trends, trade, technological innovations and local through global governance, which are the indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, have to be addressed. This is why SwedBio has a strong emphasis on values and governance as the base in all its themes actions.

Communication and training
Communication is key for creating a more sustainable future as well as reaching SwedBio’s programme objectives. SwedBio is positioned as a programme with expertise around the topics of biodiversity and ecosystem governance and management, and sustainable and equitable development. The programme is also known to connect the local, regional, and global – from collaborations with local organisations with on-the- ground efforts, to bringing local voices to international policy negotiations. As an expert organisation that connects across geographical scales, communication is essential for facilitating key partnerships and disseminating knowledge.

Art and culture
Most SwedBio partners with field based work, use cultural expressions as embedded in local communities’ cultures. SwedBio seeks to help make this work more visible in order to acknowledge the power of these expressions, and also inspire other partners and actors to integrate it into their work.

Assessments and indicators
Method development, dissemination and implementation of social-ecological systems related assessments and indicators have always been important approaches for SwedBio and partners. Examples include the follow up of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the developments under IPBES and adherent assessments, content support to the Sub Global Assessment network, Community- Based Monitoring and Information Systems, and resilience assessments. This also relates to scenario analysis and modelling and tools such as eco-cultural mapping.

An Adaptive Approach
As stated in SwedBio’s Theory of Change (ToC) we are applying an adaptive approach:

“We apply an adaptive approach to seize synergies and embrace complexity by thoughtfully choosing the most context appropriate next step available. We are guided by social-ecological perspectives on gender equality, conflict and human rights.”

SwedBio vision

The overarching aim of applying the adaptive approach
is to thoughtfully and strongly navigate towards vision. Adaptability here refers to remaining open to emerging issues, locating opportunities and mitigating risks. The adaptive approach is used as a base for our risk reduction strategy. Without an adaptive approach, SwedBio would not be able to navigate the complex spaces the programme is operating in. It allows us to change our operations based on the results of our learning, analyses and evolving understanding of the context. It is based on a continuous learning process which informs action.


In the coming programme phase, SwedBio has developed three principles that will help guide our work. SwedBio will continue its work focusing on gender and development, and also the humans rights based approach. SwedBio will also focus more on conflict in this programme phase.


Human rights based approach

Conflict policy