Part IV: The updated strategy to 2020
IV.1. Our ambition
This National Biodiversity Strategy (NBS) is aimed at ensuring a more effective and coherent implementation of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), while taking the commitments under the other biodiversity agreements into account. The three objectives of the CBD are: the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources, through, among other things, appropriate access to genetic resources, transfer of relevant technologies, and funding.
While revising the NBS it appeared important to frame its objectives into a vision for the future because we want to halt the decline of biodiversity for the benefit of present and future generations. To help communicate the aim of the SNB, a general objective achievable by 2020 is adopted.
Vision to 2050
By 2050, our Biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides - our natural capital - are valued, conserved, appropriately restored and wisely used for their intrinsic value and for their essential contribution to human well-being and economic prosperity, and so that catastrophic changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided.
General objective of the Strategy until 2020
The general objective of the Strategy is to contribute nationally and internationally to the achievement of the 2020 target of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up our contribution to averting global biodiversity loss.
To achieve the general objective, the current Belgian and EU legislative framework on biodiversity is fully implemented and enforced, pressures on biodiversity are reduced, ecosystems are restored, biological resources are used sustainably and benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources are shared in a fair and equitable manner, relevant technologies are transferred, adequate financial resources are provided, capacities are enhanced, biodiversity issues and values are mainstreamed, appropriate policies are effectively implemented, and decision-making is based on sound science and the precautionary approach.
Ensuring that, by 2020, ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide essential services will secure the planet’s variety of life, and contribute to human well-being and poverty eradication.
IV.2. Strategic and operational objectives
In order to achieve the general objective of this Strategy, strategic objectives and operational objectives have been identified.
Most of the 15 strategic objectives identified in Belgium’s National Biodiversity Strategy 2006-2016 remain unchanged as they encompass the necessary steps towards the 2020 Target. They aim to achieve the general objective of the Strategy and to contribute to its vision. Thus, their lifetime was extended until 2020 as approved by the Interministerial Conference for the Environment in March 2012. One additional strategic objective has been added to promote the commitment of the provinces, cities and other local authorities (objective 14). The one on promoting sustainable forest management in other countries has been merged with objectives 11 and 13.
The strategic objectives cover both biodiversity in Belgium and the impact of our activities in the rest of the world, including through international cooperation and our economic activities.They are listed in ascending order of their international dimension. All the strategic objectives are considered to have high priority. There is no link between the place of an objective and its importance/urgency with regard to another. Each body will have the power to determine the degree of priority given to the different strategic objectives identified in this document. Some specific issues (such as GMOs, biofuels, climate change, invasive alien species) are dealt with horizontally through the different objectives of the Strategy.
Eight operational objectives were added in 2013 while others were only slightly amended. The updated strategy spells out a range of 85 operational objectives. They will help the stakeholders and competent regional and federal authorities to take priority actions in terms of building a future of living in harmony with nature. All operational objectives have to be implemented by 2020 at the latest, unless otherwise stated.
Where necessary, implementation measures are taken in a coordinated way by the Regional and Federal Governments and other relevant actors. Examples of achievements between 2006 and the end of 2011 are available in the mid-term state of play of the implementation of the Strategy. When implementing the Strategy, the federal and regional authorities pay specific attention to stakeholders’ information, involvement and participation. This implies consultation and collaboration between the different stakeholders, which will increase the support for and thus give a boost to the implementation of the Strategy. Collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders on concrete projects associated with the objectives of the strategy also help raise their interest (e.g. legal framework on thematic issues, common Life+ project, common studies, common CEPA activities towards stakeholders and the public). We want to inspire stakeholder action at all levels.
A non-exhaustive list of the main stakeholders concerned by the implementation is mentioned for each strategic objective. The institutional actors for biodiversity in Belgium are presented in annexe 1.
Belgium’s National Biodiversity Strategy is not only the Belgian answer to the formal obligation under the CBD but it is also a necessary tool to confirm priority and voluntary themes and goals of and for Belgian policy-makers. It is most useful in terms of supporting the integration and the fine-tuning of the Regional and Federal action plans. It pays special attention to the need for the integration of the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into the different relevant sectors of society including social and economic sectors.
The updated Strategy reflects the new priorities for action that were identified as being the ones that will contribute best to the newly adopted EU Vision to 2050 and EU 2020 Target. It takes into account the new commitments made by Belgium in the field of biodiversity at international and EU level and the results of international processes such as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB reports on mainstreaming the Economics of Nature presented at the CBD COP-10) and the newly created Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
 The strategy 2006-2016 is available online http://www.biodiv.be/implementation/docs/stratactplan