Part V: Implementation and follow-up of the Strategy
The Strategic and operational objectives of the updated Belgium's National Biodiversity Strategy are considered to be key elements to ensure a coherent implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and biodiversity-related conventions by Belgium until 2020.
The Strategy also identified 85 operational objectives; many of them are already included in Regional and/or Federal biodiversity plans and are being implemented or being prepared to be implemented. The mid-term state of play of the implementation of the Strategy (2006-2011) provided an overview of the actions taken so far to avert biodiversity loss and formulated recommendations to update the strategy. The necessary complementary measures to implement the operational objectives will be undertaken where necessary in a coordinated way by the Regional and Federal Governments and other relevant actors. Where necessary, a coherent legal framework will be adopted to allow for efficient and effective implementation of the strategic and operational objectives. There should be conformity between objectives, measures and allocated means.
The objectives formulated in the Strategy in 2006 and updated in 2013 should not merely be good intentions but rather considered to be a specific impetus towards the 2020 target of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services. As far as possible, decision makers will take concrete decisions that specify targets, measures, schedules, budget, responsible actors and possibly specific target groups in order to guarantee implementation. For specific issues, appropriate thematic and sectoral action plans will need to be designed or updated.
V.1 - Governance
When implementing the Strategy, specific attention will be paid 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 carrying out of Belgium’s National Biodiversity Strategy. Collaboration with stakeholders on concrete projects associated to priority objective of the strategy will also help to raise their interest.
It is crucial to ensure that Belgium’s National Biodiversity Strategy is taken into account and considered at the decision-making and environmental planning levels.
The progress made towards the 2020 target and the objectives of the Strategy need to be periodically assessed. Once the Strategy has been adopted, it is crucial to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made by the Federal, Regional and Community Governments for its implementation and to evaluate their effectiveness. Timetables will have to be drawn up for efficient and effective implementation of the complementary measures that have been identified.
V.2 - Monitoring and support mechanisms
SM1. By 2015, adopt, apply and publish indicators to measure progress against the strategic objectives of the NBS
Stakeholders: the federal and regional authorities, Steering Committee CBD and its experts and NGOs
The implementation of the strategy and progress towards the 2020 target will be monitored and assessed using indicators in order to provide guidance as to further actions needed. The Steering Committee Biodiversity Convention will develop the appropriate milestones and indicators for the follow-up of the implementation.
The EU Baseline on the state of biodiversity and ecosystems in Europe produced a country study for Belgium in 2010. In 2011, a mid-term state of play of the implementation of the NBS 2006-2016 was prepared. The EU Baseline for Belgium and the mid-term state of play of the NBS form the baseline for monitoring progress towards the 2020 targets.
Furthermore, Belgium will contribute to the efforts to develop biodiversity indicators at CBD and European level (CBD Headline indicators, SEBI-initiative). The SEBI indicators are used to report to the European Commission on the Member States’ common implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. The mid-term report of the EU strategy is expected in 2015.
These outcome indicators will be used for the future national reports to the CBD.
SM2. By 2015, implement the EU reporting tool for NBSs on the CHM website
Stakeholders: CHM National Focal Point, the federal and regional authorities, Steering Committee CBD
In 2013, the EU portable toolkit for the CHM developed a module for online integrated reporting on the Aichi Targets, the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the national biodiversity strategies. The Belgian CHM website will integrate this module into its website. This will facilitate the sharing of and access to information related to the Aichi Targets, the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the national strategy.
The information in the tool will be updated periodically based on the results of SM1. Belgium will be involved in further developing the tool, through a special working group of the EU, to ensure that the tool will allow implementation information between national and EU reporting cycles to be added.
SM3. By 2015, have a functional Clearing-House Mechanism in place for the Convention and its protocols, including a network of practitioners
Stakeholders: CHM, BCH and ABS-CH National Focal Points, the federal and regional authorities, Steering Committee CBD, CBD National Focal Point, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, universities, nature agencies, NGOs, the public and private sector.
Collectively those involved in implementing the NBS have a wealth of experience and have developed many useful good practice cases, tools and guidance. There is additional useful information beyond this community. The global CHM work programme asks for parties to develop a biodiversity knowledge network, including a database and network of practitioners, to bring together this knowledge and experience and to make it available through the clearing-house mechanism to facilitate and support enhanced implementation of the CBD, including its various programmes and the national biodiversity strategies and action plans. It also asks for a sustained national CHM so that in each Party, all have access to the information, expertise and experience required to implement the Convention. National clearing-house mechanism nodes should also be linked to the central clearing-house mechanism managed by the Secretariat of the Convention, and information exchange between these should be facilitated.
The national CHM should be adapted and be able to play the role it was mandated to perform by Strategic Plan 2011 – 2020 of the Convention. It should be actively used by the biodiversity community in Belgium to add and update information relevant to the follow-up of the implementation of the national strategy. Regional information on biodiversity and the implementation of the Convention should be linked to the national CHM, if available on a regional website, or posted to the national CHM website by the relevant region if no specific website is available.
The Belgian partnering role for the CHM should continue to assist national CHMs in developing countries and elsewhere to enlarge the community of users and its networks.
SM4. By 2015, functional Clearing-Houses for implementation and technology transfer are in place for the CBD and its Protocols (BCH, ABS-CH)
Stakeholders: CHM, ABS and BCH Focal Points, federal and regional authorities
The Convention on Biological Diversity asks the Parties to the Convention to establish a national Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) to enable both information exchange on biodiversity and scientific and technical cooperation. During COP-10 the mandate for the CHM was enlarged and it should also be a tool to follow up the implementation of the national strategies and action plans. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety establishes a Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) to assist Parties to implement with the implementation of the Protocol and to facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on, and experience with, genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit sharing (ABS) also requires the establishment of an ABS-CH.
Belgium should ensure that the different Clearing Houses are functional and fulfil their mandates under the Convention and its Protocols. As biodiversity in Belgium is mainly a regional competence, the Regions should also ensure that, if no regional Clearing Houses are established, the relevant information is added to the national Clearing-House or that references to relevant information sources are available.
Technology transfer has taken place since the entry into force of the Convention by different Belgian stakeholders at the request of partners in developing and other countries. The national CHM, in collaboration with the BCH and the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, will develop a special section on the website to highlight technology transfer activities related to biodiversity that have taken place. This can be used as an information source for interested parties in search of biodiversity technology. The Secretariat of the Convention has been asked to compile information on technology transfer and the needs of Parties to Decision XI/2 article 17. Belgium should ensure that the information on technology transfer by Belgian stakeholders is exchanged on a regular basis with the Secretariat. Demands for technology transfer by Parties will be posted on the CHM and to the stakeholders.
V.3 - Duration, reporting, evaluation and review
Initially, the duration of the first national Strategy was for 10 years, until 2016. The conclusions of the mid-term state of play of the strategy (2012) recommended that the text be updated. It was decided to align the objectives and duration of the strategy with the 2020 Aichi Targets and the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.
The implementation of the strategy will be monitored and assessed using strategic indicators (cf. Support Measure 1 above).
Evaluation will address environmental as well as socio economic impacts. Evaluation and reporting on progress made and obstacles for implementing the National Biodiversity Strategy will be made available on the CHM website and published every 4 years through the national reporting procedure for the CBD (every 4 years). This will allow for the Steering Committee “Biodiversity Convention” to review the effectiveness of the measures taken and identify priorities to guide further actions.
An independent review of the outcome of the NBS has been scheduled for the end of its extended validity, in 2020. It will address environmental as well as socio-economic impacts.