Home » Biodiversity (CBD) » Level 3 » Question 11

Biodiversity A Global Outlook

11. Conclusion: What actions are needed?

  • 11.1 What actions are needed from the members of the Convention?
  • 11.2 What actions are needed from the International Community?
  • 11.3 What actions are needed from individuals and other stakeholders?

The source document for this Digest states:

Conclusions: Actions to achieve the 2010 target

Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 draws on the Convention’s set of global indicators and the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment to show that biodiversity is continuing to be lost, and that these losses may undermine achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 also reveals that, while much progress has been made developing policy and tools for implementing the Convention, national-level implementation to date has been limited. The magnitude of the challenge is confirmed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment’s finding that unprecedented action will be required to achieve the 2010 Biodiversity Target at the global, regional and national levels.

With 2010 fast approaching, Parties and all stakeholders need to take urgent action to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss. What is required is not only a firm commitment by Parties to act according to the priorities identified by the Convention and its Strategic Plan, but concrete activities for following through on these commitments. The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity need to become integral elements of planning, policy and practice for all economic and social sectors of society. There are many good reasons, as well as multiple opportunities, for mainstreaming biodiversity more widely.

Primary responsibility for action lies with Parties to the Convention themselves, but the international community can play an important supporting role, including through the Convention’s Conference of the Parties and its Secretariat. In addition, individuals singly and collectively can make a difference through their choices and activities as citizens, consumers and actors in their own right. Box 5.1 provides a checklist of key actions to be undertaken by these players for achieving the 2010 target, with further discussion provided in this concluding section.

Source & ©: CBD  Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 (2006),
Conclusions: Actions to Achieve the 2010 Target, p.73-74

11.1 What actions are needed from the members of the Convention?

The source document for this Digest states:

Action by Parties

Action by Parties should be guided by the priorities identified in the Strategic Plan for implementation of the Convention, and in particular, by the need to integrate biodiversity concerns across all relevant sectors. Five key actions can be identified:

First, all Parties should develop comprehensive national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) that include national targets for 2010, in line with their commitments under Article 6 of the Convention and with decisions of the Conference of the Parties. The integration of targets into NBSAPs should be part of an ongoing review process, by which these instruments are regularly updated to reflect the latest guidance from the Conference of the Parties and changing national circumstances. National targets should be clear, preferably quantifiable, and consistent with the framework adopted by the Conference of the Parties. Such targets will give focus and impetus to countries’ conservation and sustainable use efforts, and allow for an objective assessment of progress made under NBSAPs. Clear targets are also essential for engaging with citizens, providing not only a convincing means to communicate complicated messages, but also serving as a commitment to which governments can be held accountable, and around which stakeholders can develop concerted action.

Second, all Parties should ensure that their NBSAPs are implemented and do not merely remain as good ideas on paper. Putting NBSAPs into practice requires that appropriate policy be developed, legislative measures enacted, and practical activities implemented on the ground.

Third, all Parties should translate biodiversity related concerns outside the environment sector, mainstreaming biodiversity into national policies, programmes and strategies on trade, agriculture, forestry and fisheries and other relevant sectors. Biodiversity issues must also be mainstreamed into countries’ development planning, including through integration into Millennium Development Goal strategies and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. Increased interministerial dialogue, among other approaches, will be particularly crucial for integrating biodiversity across economic sectors, to enable governments to develop integrated plans, regulations and incentive measures. Concrete tools already exist under the Convention to assist Parties in factoring biodiversity concerns into national planning. The Ecosystem Approach, if applied systematically, should lead to integrated management of natural resources. Following available guidelines for incorporating biodiversity into environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment approaches can ensure that national development proceeds in an economically viable, socially just and environmentally sustainable manner. Establishing positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and removing negative incentives that encourage overexploitation and ecosystem degradation will further promote the consideration of biodiversity issues in relevant economic sectors. Also, creating markets for ecosystem services, where appropriate, will encourage producers and consumers to value biodiversity and plan for its sustainable use.

Fourth, Parties need to ensure that sufficient human, financial, technical and technological resources are available for implementation of their national biodiversity strategies and action plans. As discussed in Chapter 3, mobilizing financial resources will increasingly require Parties to integrate biodiversity concerns into development planning processes, with funds released as part of national strategies for poverty reduction and sustainable development. Securing financial and other resources, however, will in turn depend on increased public awareness of the importance of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and a consequent increase in the political attention given to these matters.

Finally, Parties should promote greater awareness of the importance of biodiversity, and of national actions taken under the Convention for its conservation and sustainable and equitable use. To this end, Parties should make all efforts to report comprehensively on progress towards the 2010 target in their fourth national reports. Not only will the report assist the Conference of the Parties to assess the state of implementation of the Convention and to refine guidance provided to Parties, but the report can also be adapted to serve as a public communication tool. Written reports, websites and other materials derived from the reporting process can alert the public to status and trends in biodiversity in their country, and encourage civic engagement in addressing identified threats.

Source & ©: CBD  Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 (2006),
Conclusions: Actions to Achieve the 2010 Target, p.74-75.

11.2 What actions are needed from the International Community?

The source document for this Digest states:

Action by the International Community

The Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity provides the primary forum for the international community to agree upon an agenda and necessary actions for addressing threats to biodiversity. This common understanding is arrived at through negotiations by States party to the Convention, but can also reflect the views of intergovernmental organizations (e.g., United Nations agencies) and of civil society (e.g., non-governmental organizations, local and indigenous community groups) involved in Convention processes. As such, decisions made at the Convention level can be informed by the best available knowledge and experience surrounding biodiversity issues, and contribute to setting standards for action at the national level.

The Conference of the Parties must continue its important work of reviewing progress in implementation of the Convention and of considering actions necessary for achieving the Convention’s objectives. Decisions of the Conference of the Parties arising from this monitoring process can inform national action and contribute to the review of progress towards the 2010 target. Accordingly, it is crucial that the Conference of the Parties has available to it accurate and up-to-date information on the state of implementation of the Convention in member countries. To this end, the Secretariat of the Convention will support an in-depth review of progress in implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans and of the provision of financial resources to Parties. As well, the Secretariat will systematically and comprehensively examine the third and subsequent national reports submitted by Parties, and improve the resulting synthesis of information and analysis provided to the Conference of Parties and directly to Parties.

Beyond improving guidance to member States, the Conference of the Parties needs to explore and establish concrete means to enhance implementation. Work to develop and promote tools for the valuation of biodiversity and the design of appropriate incentive measures would significantly enhance efforts to mainstream biodiversity and should be a priority. Enhanced implementation also rests on providing adequate resources and technical assistance to Parties in need, an issue that the Conference of the Parties urgently needs to address if the 2010 target is to be met. Implementation of the already established programme of work on technology transfer and cooperation will be one important step in this direction. Increased information exchange would significantly benefit implementation, and could be achieved through further developing the Convention’s Clearinghouse Mechanism and facilitating the development of clearing-house mechanisms at the national level. Additionally, the Secretariat could play an enhanced role in providing and facilitating technical support for national-level implementation, including through stronger partnerships with international agencies that already work on the ground.

Even as the Conference of the Parties shift s its focus to issues of implementation, a few key policy issues remain to be resolved, which will require agreement and concerted action by the international community. Chief among these is completing the elaboration of an international regime on access and benefit-sharing. Effectively addressing issues of sustainable and equitable use will further require that policy developed under the Convention is integrated with international policy instruments in the economic and trade sectors. Policy coherence is needed within the environmental sector as well, where multiple environmental agreements exist, each with overlapping objectives. While the Secretariat can contribute to facilitating policy coherence with other international agreements by developing a more systematic approach to cooperation with other conventions, organizations and sectors, the main onus is on Parties to highlight biodiversity-related concerns in other relevant international fora, including at meetings of the other agreements to which they are party.

Finally, meeting the objectives of the Convention requires concerted action from all nations of the world. To this end, the international community should endeavour to achieve universal membership to the Convention. No country can afford to adopt an observer status on matters as critical as sustaining life on Earth.

Source & ©: CBD  Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 (2006),
Conclusions: Actions to Achieve the 2010 Target, p.75-76.

11.3 What actions are needed from individuals and other stakeholders?

The source document for this Digest states:

Action by individuals and all stakeholders

Much of the political motivation to address biodiversity concerns arises from the priorities expressed by individuals through their electoral choices and in all aspects of their daily lives.

On the political level, individuals can promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable use by demanding action from government at all levels. Where politicians have made promises to the citizenry—through signing on to international agreements or through other national plans and legislation—individuals must strive to hold governments accountable to these commitments. This is especially important where no formal compliance measures exist to ensure that countries are meeting their international obligations. Also critical are actions at the municipal level, as these can produce direct and obvious results that convince others in the community of the need to become involved in environmental issues, while also sending a message to higher levels of government.

Box 5.1 Checklist of key actions for 2010

Individuals can combine their efforts to greater effect by becoming involved in community groups, non-governmental organizations, or other civil society organizations, through donations of their time, expertise and/or money. Non-governmental organizations and other civil society organizations already make major contributions to the implementation of the Convention. To harness further this energy, the Conference of the Parties is exploring options for a global partnership on biodiversity, which will rally together organizations that pledge to contribute to meeting the 2010 target.

Indigenous and local communities must continue to play an important role in the Convention. Through their traditional and oft en close dependence on biological resources, these communities have developed unique perspectives and valuable traditional knowledge that can help the global community to achieve conservation and sustainable development objectives. The establishment of a voluntary fund to enable greater participation of indigenous and local community representatives will serve to increase their presence at the Convention’s meetings. These voices must also be heard more oft en at the national level, a demand that citizens can make of policy-makers as part of efforts to increase participation in conservation and sustainable use planning processes.

Finally, in our everyday choices, we all have direct impacts on biodiversity and the state of our Planet’s ecosystems. What we eat, wear and buy, where we live, work and travel, are not neutral choices. Options for sustainable consumption are available and increasing (e.g., organic foods, cleaner technology), and many of us have the additional possibility of reducing waste in our daily consumption of resources. Corporations should also assume responsibility for the environmental impacts of their activities, including by choosing to buy from suppliers that adopt sustainable practices. The Convention is increasing efforts to engage the private sector in biodiversity issues through the “Business and the 2010 Biodiversity Challenge” initiative.

The challenges before us are great, but the cost of doing nothing is far greater. We all derive benefits from biodiversity, and we will all suffer from its loss. We do need to acknowledge, however, that this loss will not be borne equally. Failure to deal with the biodiversity crisis will most severely affect the poor of the developing world. Proof of the compassion and care of the global community for those less fortunate lies in ensuring that the basis for their livelihoods is conserved and used sustainably and that the benefits of this use are shared equitably. These are heavy commitments, requiring a basic rethinking of our economic and social practices and priorities, but they are by no means unreachable. Through cooperation and the contribution of all, the task will be lessened and our hopes for the future made real.

Source & ©: CBD  Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 (2006),
Conclusions: Actions to Achieve the 2010 Target, p.76-77

Biodiversity (CBD) foldout
Themes covered
Publications A-Z

Get involved!

This summary is free and ad-free, as is all of our content. You can help us remain free and independant as well as to develop new ways to communicate science by becoming a Patron!