Structures for CBD implementation in the Brussels-Capital Region
The Brussels-Capital Region holds a distinct position due to its limited surface area (+/- 160 km2), the very high urbanisation level, the high population density (about 1 million inhabitants), the tight infrastructure network and the intense economic activity that takes place. Like the Walloon and Flemish Regions, the Brussels-Capital Region has competences in territorial matters, including the environment, water policy and nature conservation.
The Ministry of the Brussels-Capital Region is the main tool used by the Brussels Government to implement its policy. However, the bulk of biodiversity-related activities is carried out by a para-regional institution, Brussels Environment (formerly called the Brussels Institute for Management of the Environment, see below).
The Ministry comprises six separate administrations. One of the tasks of the Administration for Urban Planning and Housing is to care for the preservation of listed cultural and natural heritage within the Region, through its Direction of Monuments and Sites. For natural heritage, this includes a number of green spaces, which have acquired protection status as 'listed sites'. The Direction takes care of the conservation and restoration of the sites, trees, parks and gardens. It also has for mandate to carry out an inventory of remarkable trees over the regional territory, whether they are located within the public or private domain.
The Direction of Roads, of the Administration of Equipment and Transport, is in charge of the management and maintenance of the regional roadway network. It has established a programme for the inventory, monitoring and renovation of the trees and soils bordering the network. It has established a specific website on the issue of urban trees.
Brussels Environment (formerly the Brussels Institute for Management of the Environment) (BIME) is a para-regional institution with the status of a public interest agency. It serves as the environmental administration of the Brussels-Capital Region, and is answerable directly to the Minister of Environment of the Brussels-Capital Region. The BIME is conceived at the same time as an institution for research, planning, advice and information as well as an organisation for monitoring, control and permit delivery. It has competences in the areas of waste, air quality, noise, green spaces, water, soil and energy. Brussels Environment collects and analyses the environmental data, distributes the information, gives advice and draws up plans of action, defines the strategies, intervenes in the fieldwork, promotes the environmental awareness etc.
Within the BIME, the Division Green Spaces, manages the public green spaces (parks, forests, semi-natural areas and nature reserves), develops the blue and green network, and is responsible for the regions' biodiversity (inventory, monitoring, strategy, management, etc.).
The BIME is acting as Belgian Regional Focal Point for the Brussels-Capital Region to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A prominent role is played by the Environmental Council of the Brussels-Capital Region. Here, both the associative societies and the companies, the social partners and the scientific experts give advice on all environmental matters of regional competence. The Council either meets requests by the Government of the Region, or produces advices on its own initiative. For nature conservation matters, this Council consults the Brussels Higher Council for Nature Conservation.
The Brussels-Capital Region has a number of associations for the environment, which are members of the federations 'Inter-Environnement Bruxelles (IEB)' and 'Brusselse Raad voor het Leefmilieu (BRAL)'. BRAL is considered by the Regional and Federal Governments to be the official representative advocate of the active residents and residents' groups, and this is why BRAL is member of various official consultation bodies like the Environmental Council and the Regional Development Committee. A number of smaller associations focus their attention in particular on nature conservation in the Brussels area; they are often very site-specific or species-group specific.