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HTML Document Context and process of elaboration

Release date 11/04/2014

National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans are the principal instruments for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio, 1992)  at national level, including to support the mainstreaming of biodiversity into the planning and activities of all those sectors whose activities can have an impact (positive and negative) on biodiversity. Belgium’s National Biodiversity Strategy 2006-2016 (NBS) was adopted on 26 October 2006 by the Interministerial Conference for the Environment, which is composed of the competent ministers of the Federal Government, the three Regions of Belgium (Flanders, Brussels, Wallonia) and the three Communities (Flemish, French, German). It is still the unique national document on biodiversity policy that embraces the responsibilities of the different governments in Belgium in order to comply with the European and international commitments made by Belgium. It offers a framework in terms of  the policy to follow and the subsequent implementing actions to be developed.

The Steering Committee “Biodiversity Convention” initiated the process of updating the NBS in 2011 jointly with the Steering Committee "Nature". These committees gather the Regional and Federal competent authorities, scientists and environmental NGOs. They are established under the Belgian Coordination Committee for International Environment Policy under the auspices of the Interministerial Conference for the Environment.

In March 2012, the Interministerial Conference for the Environment decided to update Belgium’s National Biodiversity Strategy 2006-2016 before its end and to align its term with the 2020 target. This offers the possibility of adjusting the content of the strategy by taking on board the new international commitments made under the biodiversity-related agreements and at EU level, while considering the conclusions of the mid-term state of play of the implementation of the NBS up to 31/12/2011 and the recommendations formulated to update the NBS[1].

The pre-project of the updated strategy went through a public consultation process between 14 May and 12 July 2013 and was debated during a dialogue with the stakeholders organized at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences on 13 June 2013.

To respond to the commitments at global and European level, the update of the NBS focuses on the following issues:

A)  Tackling emerging risks and the impact of internal trade of live specimens

B) Protecting and restoring biodiversity and associated ecosystem services through protected areas – green infrastructure – no net loss. Identifying pathways of introduction of IAS

C) Phasing out perverse incentives and using guidelines on the integration of the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services in development strategies, planning processes and reporting systems included. Developing an approach to include these values in national accounting

D) Implementing the Nagoya Protocol

E)   Mapping ecosystem services in Belgium and assessing their values

F)   Ensuring the implementation and enforcement of biodiversity legislation

G) Involving provinces, cities and other local authorities

H) Boosting the mobilization of resources (through innovative mechanisms included) and enhancing capacities

Adopting a strategy is just the first step; achieving the aims of the NBS will be a big challenge. The active participation of not only the environment community but of all relevant stakeholders (Regional, Federal and local authorities, the Communities, the Provinces and the Municipalities, the biodiversity conservation actors, the business sector, scientific institutions, non-governmental organisations and society as a whole) in the coming decade will be crucial to the future of life on Earth and ensuring our well-being. The updated NBS should be mainstreamed into the planning and activities of all those sectors whose activities are dependent or can have an impact (positive and negative) on biodiversity and will be taken on board in the federal and regional action plans as they are revised[2].

Biodiversity 2020 – The Update of Belgium’s National Strategy has been adopted by the Interministerial Conference for the Environment on 13/11/2013 by:

  • Melchior Wathelet, Federal State Secretary for Environment, Energy and Mobility
  • Evelyne Huytebroeck, Environment Minister of the Brussels-Capital Region
  • Joke Schauvliege, Environment Minister of the Flemish Region
  • Philippe Henry, Environment Minister of the Walloon Region
  • Koen Geens, Federal Minister of Finance
  • Johan Vande Lanotte, Federal Minister of Economy, Consumer Affairs and the North Sea
  • Sabine Laruelle , Federal Minister for the Middle Classes, SMEs, the Self-Employed and Agriculture
  • Carlo Di Antonio , Minister for Public Works, Agriculture,  Rurality, a Nature, Forest and Heritage of the Walloon Region
  • Fadila Laanan , Minister for Culture, Audio-visuals, Health and Equal Opportunities of the French-speaking Community
  • Isabelle Weykmans , Minister for Culture, the Media and Tourism- of the German-speaking Community


* Terms followed by an asterisk are defined in the glossary


[1] Documents available on the Belgian Clearing-House Mechanisms at

[2] An overview of strategies and action plans for Biodiversity at federal and regional level is provided in Part II - Belgian political framework.

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