Objectifs nationaux

Title Rationale Aichi targets
Objective 8.2 - Promote understanding of the importance of biodiversity and improve knowledge of Belgium’s biodiversity and ecosystem services.

It is necessary to encourage a greater understanding and appreciation of the value of biodiversity and its functions in ecosystems for human well-being at all levels of decision-making and among enterprises, the general public, etc. The public must understand how it impacts on nature and biodiversity and what it can do to limit this. Belgian household consumption and production patterns have a significant impact on the environment and on biodiversity. It is crucial to convince people of the necessity to evolve towards sustainable production, consumption, land use and mobility patterns.

There are plentiful proposals to help make of nature and biodiversity a citizen stake. Modern technologies and expanding access to electronic communication bring innovative possibilities for promoting and encouraging understanding of the importance of, and measures required for its conservation. Nevertheless, the importance of traditional communication systems must not be neglected (public media, local press, weekly TV and radio programmes on nature and biodiversity, thematic exhibitions, round-table discussions, etc.). Besides, the meaning of biodiversity, and the ecosystem services it provides, and the consequences of its decline should be communicated in terms that are tailored to the specific audience concerned.

NGOs, naturalist associations, youth organisations, educational institutions and museums, research institutions, government agencies and the media play a key role in raising public awareness and communicating the importance of local and global biodiversity protection. They should be encouraged by Federal, Regional or municipality bodies to ensure the continued availability of accurate and persuasive information about the benefits, costs and means of biodiversity protection. Specific yearly programmes and fairs organized by these organisations (such as the International Biodiversity Day on 22 May and events related to specific sites or species) should also be supported.

Several local participatory instruments aiming, among other things, at raising public awareness (for instance Communal Plans for Nature Development, River Contracts and Natural Parks) and local initiatives providing a public service on environmental information and awareness (for instance Nature Education Centres for visitors near the main natural reserves, CRIE) must be supported and developed further. The importance and the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as the richness of our natural patrimony, should be explained to all the citizens.

1. Awareness increased
Objective 8.3 - Raise awareness among, and provide thematic training courses for the sectors that impact directly or indirectly on biodiversity, including the private sector, using language tailored to the specific nature of the target sector.

Several sectors that have quite a considerable (direct or indirect) impact on biodiversity and which should integrate biodiversity consideration (conservation and sustainable use) into their practices must be the target audience for awareness-raising activities. Communication strategies and adapted training cycles must be set up to explain how the respective sectors can improve their practices to help meet the 2020 target of halting the loss of biodiversity. These sectors must be made to commit themselves to adopting and promoting good practice.

Specific communication strategies also must be developed to address the private sector as the activities of business and industry have major impacts on biodiversity. The private sector has the potential to make a significant contribution towards achieving the 2020 target by adopting and promoting good biodiversity practice, sharing relevant expertise and technologies with the public sector, and helping to mainstream biodiversity.

1. Awareness increased
Objective 9 - Strengthen the biodiversity-related regulatory framework and ensure the implementation of, compliance with and enforcement of biodiversity related legislations

Legislation is an important tool that can contribute to achieving the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components.

The regulatory framework needs to be clear and precise. It must be respected by everybody and adapted where necessary.

As many people will not comply with the law unless there are clear consequences for noncompliance, enforcement is essential to ensure compliance with existing legislations aiming at protecting biodiversity. Penalties have to be proportional, deterrent and effective.

Objective 9.1 - Ensure that the National Strategy is supported by effective legislation and improve its enforcement.

Belgium needs to review existing legislative framework with respect to the goals of this Strategy, and take the necessary steps to improve it where necessary.

Besides, authorities must make sure that the relevant legislation is duly implemented and enforced.

The “National Security Plan 2012-2015” (Federale Politie – Police Fédérale, 2012) aims at helping police forces address security issues on a global and integrated way and enhance the cohesion of their action. It identifies ten priority criminal areas for 2012-2015, which includes the environment, restricted to waste traffic.

Within the customs and excise administration (FPS Finances), emphasis is currently put on security in the broad sense, including several areas such as the protection of the fauna and flora (CITES). In this optic, a CITES target group has been established; its purpose is to analyse risks in this field. All enforcement actors related to CITES are united in the Belgian Enforcement Group which regularly interacts with the federal CITES team to ensure adequate enforcement of CITES in Belgium.

Belgium should make sure that biodiversity is included in priority security areas. In addition, the various aspects of biodiversity must be included in legal information processing tools, such as FEEDIS (Feeding Information System) or the national databank.

The staff responsible for checking compliance with biodiversity related regulations must be strengthened, both in term of capacity and organisation, in order to make the presence of these services more effective on the ground and to be able to effectively implement prosecution policy and execute penalties related to biodiversity offences.

A proactive approach and the use of specific investigation methods could also be developed since tracking offences related to biodiversity regulations proves to be very difficult.

As a result of the division of powers in Belgium, most biodiversity-related offences are recorded by the regional authorities while the prosecution policy falls within the scope of the Federal State. Therefore, cooperation and coordination at the national level among all the actors involved (including inspection services, administrations and customs services) need to be enhanced in order to ensure coherent and compatible measures and methodologies. International information exchange mechanisms also need to be optimised (Interpol, Europol, etc.).

Finally, given the complex nature of the issue, specific training need to be set up for the actors involved in combating biodiversity-related crime (police and control services, customs, etc.). In this respect, the needs relate in particular to improving legal as well as technical and scientific knowledge.

Objective 9.2 - Ensure full implementation and improve enforcement of biodiversity-related legislations, including the Birds and Habitats Directives, through inter alia training programmes for the relevant authorities, in particular judges, prosecutors,

As foreseen by the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 (Action 3c), Belgium will facilitate enforcement of the Birds and Habitats Directives by providing specific training programmes on Natura 2000 for judges and public prosecutors, and by developing better compliance promotion capacities.

4.1. Governments, business and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve, or have implemented, plans for sustainable production and consumption
Objective 9.3 - Ensure full compliance with and enforcement of the environmental liability regime (i.e. Directive 2004/35 CE on environmental liability) towards biodiversity offences.

Environmental liability aims at making the person or organization that caused the environmental damage (the polluter) pay for remedying the damage that he has caused (the "polluter pays" principle).

Directive 2004/35/CE of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 establish a framework of environmental liability based on the ‘polluter-pays' principle, to prevent and remedy environmental damage. The fundamental principle of this Directive is that an operator whose activity has caused environmental damages or imminent threat of such damage is to be held financially liable for preventing or remedying this damage. It is expected this regulation will induce operators to adopt measures and develop practices to minimize the risks of environmental damage so that their exposure to financial liabilities is reduced.

The Directive puts in place a comprehensive liability regime for damage to the environment. In particular, it introduces a comprehensive regime for damage to valuable elements of biodiversity - protected species and natural habitats, to water and land, and to services provided by these natural resources.

A permanent working group gathering regional and federal authorities has been established to ensure, to a certain extent and in respect of the share of competences between the different authorities, adequate and coherent implementation of the Directive.

National laws on liability for damage caused by activities that are hazardous to the environment will be thus different from the common civil liability regime as they will not concern the classical range of damages (human health or property) but will cover biodiversity and ecosystem services damage as well as land damage or water damage. This will encourage parties concerned to take more precautions towards biodiversity.

Nevertheless, one of the major difficulties when implementing the directive concerns the evaluation of damage caused to biodiversity and this has to be done taking account of the cost of restoration or the cost of alternative solutions if restoration is not possible.

This should be taken into account when transposing the EU directive into national legislations.

4. Sustainable production and consumption