Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, including Aichi Biodiversity Targets

Technical Rationale (provided in document COP/10/27/Add.1)

Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society

Target 1 - By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.

Technical Rationale: Increasing understanding, awareness and appreciation of the diverse values of biodiversity, are necessary to create the willingness to undertake the behavioural changes required to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. The key audiences for such communication, education and public awareness activities will vary between Parties, but generally could focus on national and local governments, business, non-governmental organizations and civil society groups, including in their role as producers and consumers of biodiversity-related goods. Public awareness could be measured through surveys of awareness and attitudes towards biodiversity, such as was done with the euroborometer conducted for the European region in 2007. Other indicators which could be used to monitor progress towards this target, including: the number of visits to protected areas, natural-history museums and botanical gardens; the number of school biodiversity education programmes or officially accredited teaching materials; participation in relevant activities; and the development and use of lists of recommended actions for citizens, the private sector, and other stakeholders. More >>

Target 2 - By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems.

Technical Rationale: Integrating the values of biodiversity into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes as well as into national accounting and reporting systems would make biodiversity a factor in the development agendas of countries and would help give biodiversity greater visibility amongst policy makers. The integration of biodiversity into national decision-making processes will enable Parties to appropriately assess the consequences of biodiversity loss, possible trade-offs and increase coordination among government ministries and levels of government. Various tools to integrate the values of biodiversity into national accounts, strategies and planning processes already exist and include the Convention’s work on economic, trade and incentive measures, the study on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), the United Nations System of Integrated Economic and Environmental Accounts (SEEA), spatial planning, systematic conservation planning, strategic environmental assessment, and payment for ecosystem services mechanisms. Possible indicators for this target include the number of countries with biophysical inventories of biodiversity and ecosystem services; the number of countries with national accounts reflecting the state of biodiversity and ecosystem services and if appropriate stocks and flows of natural capital; the number of countries with poverty reduction strategies and national development plans which incorporate biodiversity. Depending on national circumstances, such processes could be undertaken in a step wise or incremental manner by first including those values of biodiversity which are easiest to account for and then further developing or enhancing systems for integrating biodiversity values into decision making processes. More >>

Target 3 - By 2020, at the latest, incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimize or avoid negative impacts, and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied, consistent and in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations, taking into account national socio economic conditions.

Technical Rationale: Ending or reforming incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity is a critical and necessary step for implementing the Strategic Plan that would also generate broader net socio-economic benefits. Bearing in mind the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, this target would not imply a need for developing countries to remove subsidies that are necessary for poverty reduction programmes. Current negotiations under the Doha Trade Round aim to clarify and improve World Trade Organization (WTO) disciplines on fisheries and on trade-distorting agricultural subsidies. These negotiations have the potential to generate high synergies with this target and are therefore a key vehicle for achieving it. In addition, countries or regional groups may take their own initiatives to phase out and/or reform environmentally harmful subsidies. A more effective use of strategic environmental assessment could also be one mechanism to help develop and implement effective policies and actions towards this target. Estimates of the value of harmful subsidies, using criteria developed by WTO and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), would be an indicator. Baseline data is already published. In addition, the creation or further development of positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, provided that such incentives are in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations, could also help in the implementation of the Strategic Plan by providing financial or other incentives to encourage actors to undertake actions which would benefit biodiversity. More >>

Target 4 - By 2020, at the latest, Governments, business and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption and have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.

Technical Rationale: Bringing the use of natural resources within safe ecological limits is an integral part of the Strategic Plan. Reducing total demand and increasing resource use and energy efficiency contribute to the target which can be pursued through government regulations and/or incentives, education and research, and social and corporate responsibility. The target will be achieved through dialogue among sectors and stakeholders, supported by planning tools such as strategic environmental impact assessment and economic tools, such as incentive measures, that integrate biodiversity issues. Initially, process indicators, such as the establishment of plans with clear and measurable targets and the presence of strategic environmental impact assessment or similar assessment tools, would be the main indicators to monitor progress towards this goal. A further possible indicator is the number of companies (or their market share) with polices for biodiversity-friendly practices. One relevant outcome indicator is the ecological footprint (and related concepts) for which baseline data is available. More >>

Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use

Target 5 - By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.

Technical Rationale: Habitat loss, including degradation and fragmentation, is the most important factor driving biodiversity loss and while economic, demographic and social pressures are likely to mean continued habitat loss, particularly due to land-use change beyond 2020, the rate of change needs to be substantially reduced. While for some ecosystems it may be possible to bring the rate of habitat loss close to zero by 2020, for others a more realistic goal is to halve the rate of loss. Significantly reducing habitat degradation and fragmentation will also be required in order to ensure that those habitats which remain are capable of supporting biodiversity. The emphasis of this target should be on preventing the loss of high-biodiversity value habitats, such as primary forests and many wetlands, and of ecosystems where continued loss risks passing “tipping points” that could lead to large scale negative effects on human well-being. Reduction in the loss of natural habitats could be achieved through improvements in production efficiency and land-use planning, the use of degraded land for agricultural production, improved ecosystem connectivity and enhanced mechanisms for natural resource governance combined with recognition of the economic and social value of ecosystem services provided by natural habitats. Relevant indicators include trends in the extent of selected biomes, ecosystems, and habitats, trends in the abundance and distribution of selected species and the connectivity/fragmentation of ecosystems. Reasonably good data is available for some habitats, such as forests, while for other habitats improvements in data would be needed. In order to determine if the rate of habitat loss has been reduced there will be a need to establish a baseline against which to gauge progress towards this goal. More >>

Target 6 - By 2020 all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.

Technical Rationale: Overexploitation is the main pressure on marine ecosystems globally and the World Bank estimates that overexploitation of fish stocks represents a lost profitability of some $50 billion per year and puts at risk some 27 million jobs and the well-being of more than one billion people. Better management of harvested marine resources, such as through the increased use of ecosystem based approaches and the establishment of recovery plans for depleted species, is needed to reduce pressure on marine ecosystems and to ensure the sustainable use of marine resource stocks. Actions that build upon existing initiatives, such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing, could help to ensure this. Indicators to measure progress towards this target include the Marine Trophic Index, the proportion of products derived from sustainable sources and trends in abundance and distribution of selected species. Other possible indicators include the proportion of collapsed species, fisheries catch, catch per unit effort, and the proportion of stocks overexploited. Baseline information for several of these indicators is available from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. More >>

Target 7 - By 2020 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.

Technical Rationale: The increasing demand for food, fibre and fuel will lead to increasing losses of biodiversity and ecosystem services if management systems do not become increasingly sustainable with regard to biodiversity. Criteria for sustainable forest management have been adopted by the forest sector and there are many efforts by Governments, indigenous and local communities, NGOs and the private sector to promote good agricultural, aquaculture and forestry practices. The greater application of the ecosystem approach would also assist with the implementation of this target. While, as yet, there are no universally agreed sustainability criteria, given the diversity of production systems and environmental conditions, each sector and many initiatives have developed their own criteria which could be used pending the development of a more common approach. Similarly, the use of certification and labelling systems or standards could be promoted as part of this target. Relevant indicators for this target include the area of forest, agricultural and aquaculture ecosystems under sustainable management, the proportion of products derived from sustainable sources and trends in genetic diversity of domesticated animals, cultivated plants and fish species of major socioeconomic importance. Existing sustainability certification schemes could provide baseline information for some ecosystems and sectors. More >>

Target 8 - By 2020, pollution, including from excess nutrients, has been brought to levels that are not detrimental to ecosystem function and biodiversity.

Technical Rationale: Pollution, including nutrient loading, is a major and increasing cause of biodiversity loss and ecosystem dysfunction, particularly in wetland, coastal, marine and dryland areas. Humans have already more than doubled the amount of “reactive nitrogen” in the biosphere, and business-as-usual trends would suggest a further increase of the same magnitude by 2050. The better control of sources of pollution, including efficiency in fertilizer use and the better management of animal wastes, coupled with the use of wetlands as natural water treatment plants where appropriate, can be used to bring nutrient levels below those that are critical for ecosystem functioning, without curtailing the application of fertilizer in areas where it is necessary to meet soil fertility and food security needs. Similarly, the development and application of national water quality guidelines could help to limit pollution and excess nutrients from entering freshwater and marine ecosystems. Relevant indicators include nitrogen deposition and water quality in freshwater ecosystems. Other possible indicators could be the ecological footprint and related concepts, total nutrient use, nutrient loading in freshwater and marine environments, and the incidence of hypoxic zones and algal blooms. Data which could provide baseline information already exists for several of these indicators, including the global aerial deposition of reactive nitrogen and the incidence of marine dead zones (an example of human-induced ecosystem failure). More >>

Target 9 - By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment.

Technical Rationale: Invasive alien species are a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystem services, and increasing trade and travel means that this threat is likely to increase unless additional action is taken. Pathways for the introduction of invasive alien species can be managed through improved border controls and quarantine, including through better coordination with national and regional bodies responsible for plant and animal health. Given the multiple pathways for invasive species introductions and that multiple alien species are already present in many countries it will be necessary to prioritise control and eradication efforts on those species and pathways which will have the greatest impact on biodiversity and/or which are the most resource effective to address. While well-developed and globally-applicable indicators are lacking, some basic methodologies do exist which can serve as a starting point for further monitoring or provide baseline information. Process indicators for this target could include the number of countries with national invasive species policies, strategies and action plans and the number of countries which have ratified international agreements and standards related to the prevention and control of invasive alien species. One outcome oriented indicator is trends in invasive alien species while other possible indicators could include the status of alien species invasion, and the Red List Index for impacts of invasive alien species. More >>

Target 10 - By 2015, the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimized, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning.

Technical Rationale: Given the ecological inertias related to climate change and ocean acidification, it is important to urgently reduce other anthropogenic pressures on vulnerable ecosystems such as coral reefs so as to give vulnerable ecosystems time to cope with the pressures caused by climate change. This can be accomplished by addressing those pressures which are most amenable to rapid positive changes and would include activities such as reducing pollution and overexploitation and harvesting practices which have negative consequences on ecosystems. Indicators for this target include the extent of biomes ecosystems and habitats (% live coral, and coral bleaching), Marine Trophic Index, the incidence of human-induced ecosystem failure, the health and well-being of communities who depend directly on local ecosystem goods and services, and the proportion of products derived from sustainable sources. More >>

Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity

Target 11 - By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

Technical Rationale: Currently, some 13 per cent of terrestrial areas and 5 per cent of coastal areas are protected, while very little of the open oceans are protected. Therefore reaching the proposed target implies a modest increase in terrestrial protected areas globally, with an increased focus on representativity and management effectiveness, together with major efforts to expand marine protected areas. Protected areas should be integrated into the wider land- and seascape, bearing in mind the importance of complementarity and spatial configuration. In doing so, the ecosystem approach should be applied taking into account ecological connectivity and the concept of ecological networks, including connectivity for migratory species. Protected areas should also be established and managed in close collaboration with, and through participatory and equitable processes that recognize and respect the rights of indigenous and local communities, and vulnerable populations. Other effective area-based conservation measures may also include restrictions on activities that impact on biodiversity, which would allow for the safeguarding of sites in areas beyond national jurisdiction in a manner consistent with the jurisdictional scope of the Convention as contained in Article 4. Relevant indicators to measure progress towards this target are sites of biodiversity significance covered by protected areas and the connectivity/fragmentation of ecosystems. Other possible indicators include the overlay of protected areas with ecoregions, and the governance and management effectiveness of protected areas. Good baseline information already exists from sources such as the World Database of Protected Areas the Alliance for Zero Extinction, and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. More >>

Target 12 - By 2020 the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained.

Technical Rationale: While reducing the threat of human-induced extinction requires action to address the direct and indirect drivers of change, imminent extinctions of known threatened species can in many cases be prevented by protecting the sites where such threatened species are located, by combating particular threats, and through ex situ conservation. Additional actions which directly focus on species include the implementation of species recovery and conservation programmes, and the re-introduction of species to habitats from which they have been extirpated. Similar actions can be used to improve the conservation status of species more broadly. One relevant indicator for this target is the change in status of threatened species. The IUCN Red List provides good baseline information for this target. More >>

Target 13 - By 2020, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.

Technical Rationale: The genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed or domesticated animals and of wild relatives is in decline as is the genetic diversity of other socio-economically and culturally valuable species. As such the genetic diversity which remains needs to be maintained and strategies need to be developed and implemented to minimize the current erosion of genetic diversity. While substantial progress has been made in safeguarding many varieties and breeds through ex situ storage in genebanks, less progress has been made in situ. In situ conservation, including through continued cultivation on farms, allow for ongoing adaptation to changing conditions (such as climate change) and agricultural practices. The programme of work on agricultural biodiversity as well as the Global Plan of Action for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the FAO Global Plan of Action for animal genetic resources and the International Initiative on Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition provide guidance on the types of actions which can be taken to reach this target. Indicators for this target are ex situ crop collections, and the genetic diversity of terrestrial domestic animals. Other indicators could include trends in the genetic diversity of cultivated plants, and fish species of major socio-economic importance and the number of genebank accessions. Assessments carried out by the Food and Agriculture Organization could provide baselines for this target. More >>

Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services

Target 14 - By 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded, taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable.

Technical Rationale: Some ecosystems, such as those that provide ecosystem services related to the provision of water, are particularly important in that they provide services that are essential for human wellbeing, in particular for the lives and livelihoods of women and indigenous and local communities, including the poor and vulnerable. Accordingly, priority should be given to safeguarding, or restoring such ecosystems, and to ensuring that people have adequate access to these services. Ecosystems which provide essential services and that contribute to local livelihoods should be identified through participatory processes at local, national and global levels and in accordance with Article 10 of the Convention. The resulting information should be integrated into development plans to ensure that these ecosystems receive the necessary protection and investments. Indicators for this target include the health and well-being of communities who depend directly on local ecosystem goods and services and biodiversity for food and medicine. Other possible indicators include the status and trends of land use in indigenous peoples’ territories and the status and trends in the practice of traditional occupations. More >>

Target 15 - By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification.

Technical Rationale: Restored landscapes and seascapes can improve resilience, including adaptive capacity of ecosystems and societies, contributing to climate change adaptation and generating additional benefits for people, in particular indigenous and local communities and the rural poor. The wider application of restoration efforts could contribute significantly to the achievement of the objectives of the Convention, and generate significant synergies with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). Appropriate incentive schemes (such as “REDD-plus”) could reduce, or even reverse, negative land-use changes and, with appropriate safeguards, including respect for local land and resource rights, could also deliver substantial co-benefits for biodiversity and local livelihoods. Relevant indicators include the extent of biomes, ecosystems and habitats. Other possible indicators could include the storage of carbon and other GHG (using UNFCCC inventories supplemented by scientific assessments) and assessments of vulnerability and adaptive capacity. More >>

Target 16 - By 2015, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization is in force and operational, consistent with national legislation.

Technical Rationale: The third objective of the Convention provides for “the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources…”. The tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization. Given that this protocol is a legally-binding regime, the initial target should be for its ratification and entry into force. An indicator of access and benefit sharing (ABS) is under development. Additional possible measures related to its operation could include the number of countries Party to the international regime, the number of countries with national ABS frameworks/legislation; the number of ABS agreements; the number of technical assistance programmes for strengthening national ABS programmes; and, potentially, the value of benefits shared. More >>

Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building

Target 17 - By 2015 each Party has developed, adopted as a policy instrument, and has commenced implementing an effective, participatory and updated national biodiversity strategy and action plan.

Technical Rationale: National biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) are the key instrument for translating the Convention and decisions of the Conference of the Parties into national action. For this reason it will be essential that Parties have developed, adopted as a policy instrument and commenced implementing an updated NBSAP which is in line with the goals and targets set out in this Strategic Plan by 2015. Participatory stakeholder involvement throughout the design, planning and implementation of an NBSAP is fundamental in ensuring that the plans will be effective. An NBSAP should not be static but a living planning document that allows individual Parties to identify their needs, priorities and opportunities for biodiversity in light of their broader national goals and to revise the plan accordingly. The target for 2020 implies that NBSAPs are used as effective tools for mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society. Indicators to measure progress towards this goal could include the number of countries with revised NBSAPs, the number of stakeholders who participate in the revision and updating process of NBSAPs, and national assessments of NBSAP implementation. More >>

Target 18 - By 2020, the traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and their customary use of biological resources, are respected, subject to national legislation and relevant international obligations, and fully integrated and reflected in the implementation of the Convention with the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, at all relevant levels.

Technical Rationale: In line with Article 8(j) of the Convention, traditional knowledge, innovations and practices should be respected, protected, maintained and promoted, and used in local ecosystem management, drawing upon experiences of customary use, with the approval of relevant communities. Likewise, in line with Article 10(c), customary use of biological resources that is compatible with conservation and sustainable use should be protected and encouraged. The guidance developed as part of the Convention’s cross cutting issue on traditional knowledge, innovations and practices provides advice on how this target can be implemented. Indicators include the status and trends of linguistic diversity and numbers of speakers of indigenous languages. Other indicators for the status of indigenous and traditional knowledge, for example the status and trends of land use in indigenous peoples, territories and the status and trends in the practice of traditional occupations are under development. More >>

Target 19 - By 2020, knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity, its values, functioning, status and trends, and the consequences of its loss, are improved, widely shared and transferred, and applied.

Technical Rationale: Each country needs access to information to identify threats to biodiversity and determine priorities for conservation and sustainable use. Action taken to reach this target will also benefit the other targets of the Strategic Plan by encouraging new research, the development of new technologies and improved monitoring. For knowledge that is already available, access could be improved through the further development of the clearing-house mechanism at national and global levels. Further efforts are also needed, at multiple scales, to improve biodiversity-related knowledge and reduce uncertainties around the relationship between biodiversity change, ecosystem services and impacts on human well-being. With regards to the sharing of technologies related to biodiversity, this should be consistent with Article 16 of the Convention. An indicator for technology transfer is under development. Possible process indicators include the number of countries with national clearing-house mechanisms; visitors to national CHM websites; extent of data coverage for global biodiversity indicators and measures; and the use biodiversity-related information in the fifth and sixth national reports. More >>

Target 20 - By 2020, at the latest, the mobilization of financial resources for effectively implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 from all sources, and in accordance with the consolidated and agreed process in the Strategy for Resource Mobilization, should increase substantially from the current levels. This target will be subject to changes contingent to resource needs assessments to be developed and reported by Parties.

Technical Rationale: The capacity for implementing the Convention in terms of trained staff and financial resources is limited in most countries, especially in developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition. The capacity which currently exists in countries must be further built upon so that it can be substantially increased from current levels, and in line with the process laid out in the Strategy for Resource Mobilization, in order to meet the challenges of implementing this Strategic Plan. This target should be seen as a common commitment by donors and recipient countries to take action as appropriate to both increase development cooperation funds available for biodiversity relevant activities, consistent with the Paris Declaration, and also to give appropriate priority in the use of those funds. The increase in capacity included as part of this target should be conducted bearing in mind the provisions of Article 20 of the Convention and on the resources needs assessment to be conducted and reported on by Parties during the eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in 2012. Official development assistance provided in support of the Convention is one indicator for this target. Additional indicators could include the resources provided to developing countries which are dispersed through mechanisms other than Official Development Assistance. Another possible indicator includes the number of officials and experts qualified on biodiversity-related matters. The global monitoring reports of the Convention’s resource mobilization strategy will help monitor progress towards this target. Data related to official development assistance is already available and could serve as a baseline for gauging progress towards this goal. More >>