Country Profiles

Andorra - Country Profile

Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

Located in the eastern Pyrenees, Andorra is a landlocked country comprised of rugged mountains which in recent decades has experienced a general loss of biodiversity on its valley floors due to urbanization. The affected area represents 1.8% of the national territory and is where 60% of the population lives. Biodiversity is maintained and/or increased due to a decrease in anthropogenic pressure on the natural environment in the rest of the country, equivalent to 98.2% of the territory.

An example of biodiversity loss is revealed through monitoring done on wetlands (1750 zones are inventoried in Andorra). Between 2008 and 2013, data revealed that 5 wetlands have been lost due to anthropogenic causes; 77 wetlands were seriously or very seriously impacted; while 1400 wetlands suffered no impact at all.

Andorra possesses a tertiary economy based largely on tourism. Eight million tourists arrive annually, mainly for winter skiing, however the number of tourists arriving in the summer to partake in mountain activities continues to grow.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The main threats to Andorran biodiversity at present are anthropization and urbanization, increasing pressure on the territory, mainly in the valleys. The country is not however threatened by natural resource overexploitation or pollution. In 2014, the quality of air and water consistently ranged from good to excellent.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

Andorra became a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity on 5 May 2015. The country’s first NBSAP is currently under development, with consideration being given to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets. The objectives of the NBSAP are: to take inventory and improve knowledge of national biodiversity and its trends; to manage biodiversity and guarantee ecosystem services; to promote biodiversity in national and local sectoral policies; to raise the awareness of the population; and to promote governance and cooperation among the country’s administrative divisions and at the global level. The country expects to finalize its NBSAP in 2016.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

Andorra has translated the Aichi Biodiversity Targets into Catalan, the country’s official language. The country also intends to establish a website for disseminating information on the CBD in the near future. The Sustainable Andorra Centre (“Centre Andorra Sostenible”) serves as a government tool for providing environmental education and raising public awareness of biodiversity and its sustainable use.

The National Landscape Strategy contains references for the management of wetlands and riverbank vegetation. The Water Purification Plan contains indicators for measuring the biological quality of rivers.

Support material on agriculture is available for better consideration of biodiversity in activities (particularly for pasture management).

Programs and actions have been developed to combat the country’s main invasive species, namely, the butterfly bush (Buddleia) and narrow-leaved ragwort (Séneçon du Cap).

Fourteen percent (14%) of the country is under protection, in the form of national parks inscribed on Ramsar’s list of priority wetlands, with the valley of Madriu-Perafita-Claror also having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the cultural landscape category.

At present, a recovery plan exists for the bearded vulture (Gypaète barbu) only, however study of other species, such as bats, is being carried out.

Several expert studies have been conducted on species of wild flora and fauna. In parallel, the Andorran Research Centre (CENMA) addresses the following biodiversity-related aspects: global change and climate change; biodiversity and ecology; natural hazards; natural resources; geology and geomorphology; meteorology and climatology. A part of the results of these studies is used to enhance natural resource management, such as pasture and agricultural management.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

Implementation of the NBSAP will be supported by the National Landscape Strategy (2011) and environment-friendly policy developed by the Department of Agriculture, among other strategic plans.

Andorra is a participant in the Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP) to the Pyrenees Climate Change Observatory (OPCC), studying the effects of climate change in the Pyrenees. In addition, a trilateral agreement was signed with Spain and France in 2006 to address issues related to bears and wolves in the Pyrenees; another trilateral agreement was signed with Spain and France in 2014 to reintroduce threatened and extinct wildlife populations in the Pyrenees. Andorra has also signed an agreement with Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain, on the exchange of data.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

A mechanism to comprehensively monitor biodiversity does not exist. However, about 100 of the country’s 1750 wetlands are monitored annually. An evaluation report should be finalized in the spring of 2016 and will be accompanied by a management plan defining the principle objectives and actions to be achieved by 2024, in accordance with the objectives of the Ramsar Convention.