One hundred and one Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have now submitted new national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs), setting out their national contributions to the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, a set of 20 global targets to be achieved by 2020.
The Aichi Biodiversity Targets are part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, an overarching framework to protect biodiversity and enhance its benefits for people, approved by governments in 2010 and since recognised by the United Nations as setting the global framework for action on biodiversity.
“Reaching this milestone is an important achievement, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary. “In the lead up to the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13), being held this December in Cancun, Mexico, I encourage all countries that have yet to develop, revise or update their NBSAPs, to do so as soon as possible.”
In adopting the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity invited Parties to establish their own national targets, using the Strategic Plan as flexible framework, taking into account national needs and priorities, while also bearing in mind national contributions to the achievement of the global Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
The majority of NBSAPs include targets that reflect specific Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and many relate to targets on public awareness, pollution reduction, invasive alien species, protected areas, preventing extinction, access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources and sharing information and knowledge.
Several Parties have set targets surpassing the level of ambition set out in the Strategic Plan. For example:
- Dominica: Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 – “By 2020, at least 20% of terrestrial, inland water and 15% of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem service, are conserved through comprehensive ecologically representative and well connected systems of effectively managed, protected areas and other means, and integrated intothe wider land and seascape.”
- Finland: Aichi Biodiversity Target 5 – “By 2020, the loss of all natural habitats has been halted, and the degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats have been significantly reduced.”
- The Gambia: Aichi Biodiversity 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 50 per cent of degraded ecosystems.”
However, most of the national targets and/or commitments contained in the NBSAPs set lower levels of ambition than the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, or did not address all elements of the Target. For some Aichi Biodiversity Targets, such as those related to incentives, or the sustainable management of aquatic living resources, or reducing the pressures on ecosystems vulnerable to climate change and ecosystem services, many NBSAPs lacked associated national targets or commitments.
Analysis of national reports submitted by countries indicates that the majority of Parties have made progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets but at an insufficient rate to allow the targets to be met by the deadline unless additional actions are taken. The information in the national reports suggests that, for some Aichi Biodiversity Targets, about a third of Parties are on track to reach or exceed the level of ambition agreed globally. However, the progress is much lower for other targets. Overall, while progress is being made, it is at an insufficient rate, and additional efforts are required to achieve the ambition that Parties collectively agreed in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.
Issues related to the implementation of the Convention, and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets will be the subject of discussion at the upcoming thirteenth meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from 4 – 17 December, 2016.