National targets

Title Rationale Aichi targets
Objective 11.3 - Make best use of Belgian expertise to support implementation of the Convention in developing countries.

A stronger commitment of developing countries to the Convention will not only contribute to a more successful sustainable development at the global level, but will also allow them to meet the ultimate challenge posed by the 2020 Aichi targets.

Through its multilateral and bilateral activities with developing countries, Belgium will offer its expertise to support institutional and individual capacity-building for the development of effective policies towards the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including for the identification and monitoring of biodiversity and the development of appropriate science-based policy tools. Scientific and technical cooperation will be promoted, including by facilitating access to biodiversity data stored in Belgian repositories, by transferring relevant technologies, by promoting the further development and use of the CBD Clearing House Mechanism at national level and by supporting the development of ABS relevant legislation. Belgian actors are further encouraged to support this objective through adequate educational and public awareness programmes both in Belgium and in the developing country.

Enhancing and streamlining capacity-building for biodiversity management is a prerequisite for developing countries to improve their scientific capacity in key areas of the Convention, and thus to achieve a better implementation of the obligations imposed by the Convention. Belgium should make full use of its scientific expertise, in universities, institutes and NGOs, to assist developing countries, which are often rich in biodiversity but poor in resources, to make further progress in their implementation of the objectives of the Convention.

Objective 11.4 - Promote integration of biodiversity and biosafety into the development plans of partner countries.

The loss of biodiversity threatens the livelihood of the poorest people in the world, as they depend the most on biodiversity for their subsistence. It has previously been the case that there has been little interest in the integration of biodiversity screening mechanisms into partner countries’ own development plans. Such plans tend to set out broad goals and include projects and activities to improve the direct economic development of the country. However, in order to achieve lasting poverty reduction and sustainable development, the environmental dimension and biodiversity in particular should be fully taken into account in these plans. Therefore, Belgium (for example, through the EU or other multi-donor partnerships) will encourage partner countries to integrate biodiversity and biosafety into their Poverty Reduction Strategies and/or National Strategies for Sustainable Development, as well as in their Health programmes and any other of their development initiatives they undertake.

Direct budget support, whether general or sectoral, is an emerging trend in development cooperation. Attention will be focused on this new form of aid, so that policy dialogues leading to budget support decisions are used as opportunities to promote such integration.

Awareness of the concept of the ecological footprint should also be raised.

Objective 11.5 - Enhance international coordination and effective exchange of information between ex situ conservation centres (zoos, botanic gardens).

Gene banks, zoos, plant nurseries, botanic gardens, aquariums, etc. contribute to the ex situ conservation of wild plant and animal species of foreign origin by securing the long-term conservation of species outside their natural habitat (ex situ).

For species and varieties of crops and for domesticated animal races, ex situ conservation centres allow a broad genetic pool to be maintained to ensure the viability and the improvement of quality in the future. On the basis of scientific knowledge, ex situ conservation centres will be encouraged to keep species, varieties and domesticated animal races in a manner that guarantees their conservation. Due to the wide diversity of collections, there is a need to reinforce coordination between ex situ conservation centres, for instance through information-sharing and facilitated access to data of foreign origin for the countries of origin, in order to ensure long-term conservation and facilitated access to information and collections.

Objective 11.6 - Contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for biodiversity in partner countries, based on national priorities, in particular in support of the development of National Protected Area programmes, National Forest Programmes, in

Belgium, through its development cooperation policy, will promote and support participatory income-generating activities that are based on the sustainable use of biodiversity and that benefit local populations. In particular the role of farmers as actors for biodiversity protection through implementation of good farming practices and technologies should be encouraged and supported by Belgian development cooperation.

The Belgian DC will also support, on a sustainable way, other biodiversity-based income-generating activities or mechanisms with a potential of local benefits, such as ecotourism, community-managed hunting, fishing and gathering, and maintenance of ecosystem services with collective benefits.

Biosafety capacity building projects, aimed at helping in various ways developing countries to avoid potential negative impacts of GMOs on biodiversity and health, will also be undertaken by Belgian development cooperation policy.

Through policy dialogues with partner countries and other donors, Belgium will also seek to enhance the promotion of access rights, property rights and shared responsibility of indigenous and local communities on biodiversity assets. This policy dialogue will be carried out in accordance with existing international agreements and processes.

The creation of an enabling environment for biodiversity in partner countries needs to be based on their national priorities. However, with due regard for the global Aichi Targets, it is also important that key areas for biodiversity are supported. In particular protected areas, forests and the marine environment have been frequently highlighted as priorities by partner countries during bilateral and multilateral discussions.

Specific attention needs also to be given in development cooperation policy to the establishment of a worldwide representative network of protected areas. National Protected area programmes are the base for achieving numerous Aichi targets in a sustainable way. Protected areas have been in place for many decades; however, their management has not always been as optimal as it might in terms of stopping the loss of biodiversity by 2020. To ensure that the existing and additional to be created protected areas support the implementation of the CBD, Belgium will, based on demands of the partner countries and their national priorities, in its bilateral and multilateral efforts, actively promote the development of National Protected area programmes and the integration of different policy instruments to enhance coordination and coherence of policies aimed at the national protected areas and their biodiversity.

Biodiversity in forests is the richest of all terrestrial ecosystems. Along with the protection of forest areas of high conservation value, Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) will play a crucial role in stopping the loss of biodiversity by 2020. There is an urgent need to enhance the conservation of forest biodiversity by improving forest management and planning practices that incorporate socio-economic and cultural values.

Many wood-producing countries need financial, technical and legislative assistance to prepare and implement national forest programmes for the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests, develop good governance practices, review and implement forest related regulations, tenure and planning systems, promote transparency, combat corruption and strengthen civil society involvement, to provide a basis for sustainable use of forest biodiversity.

National Forest Programmes (NFPs) for the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests are understood as country-led, broadly participative processes to formulate and implement policies and instruments that effectively promote the development of the sector in the context of broader policies and strategies for sustainable development. The goal of NFPs is to promote the conservation and sustainable use of forest resources to meet local, national and global needs, through fostering national and international partnerships to manage, protect and restore forest resources and land, for the benefit of present and future generations. The main objectives are to:

-    introduce intersectoral planning approaches involving all relevant partners, in order to resolve conflicts and generate effective policies and programmes to address problems;

-    raise awareness and mobilise commitments at all levels in order to address the issues related to sustainable forestry development;

-    increase the efficiency and effectiveness of both public and private actions for sustainable forestry development;

-    foster local, national, regional and international partnerships;

-    mobilise and organise national and (if necessary) international resources and catalyse action to implement programmes/plans in a coordinated manner;

-    plan and implement how forests and the forestry sector could contribute to national and global initiatives, for example the Environmental Action Plans and the actions agreed upon to implement the Forest Principles, Chapter 11 of Agenda 21, the Conventions on Biodiversity, on Climate Change and on Desertification.

In its bilateral and multilateral efforts, Belgium will actively promote the development of national forestry programmes and the integration of different policy instruments to enhance coordination and coherence of policies aimed at the promotion of sustainable forest management and the conservation and sustainable use of forest biological diversity.

Today, integrated coastal management (ICM), also known as integrated coastal zone management (ICZM), has become the preferred approach to sustainable development and resource use of coastal areas. Given the dependence of many developing countries on the marine environment for food security, supporting integrated coastal and marine programmes will largely benefit both the partner countries and biodiversity. It will be important to support the partner country to develop the necessary knowledge and capacity (including of the relevant institutions) in order to create the enabling environment to integrate concerns for marine and coastal biodiversity into the relevant sectoral plans.

In its bilateral and multilateral efforts, Belgium will, based on demands of the partner countries and their national priorities, actively promote the development of ICZM to support the partner countries in enhancing coordination and coherence of policies aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine biodiversity.

Objective 12 - Influence the international agenda within biodiversity-related conventions

The protection of biodiversity is a common task that cannot be tackled by one country. In the international and European forums where Belgium is represented, Belgium will actively emphasise the paramount role of biodiversity and promote international involvement.

Belgium can also enhance its contribution to the protection of global biodiversity through the promotion of better coherence and cooperation between biodiversity-related conventions. The promotion of synergies must not result in diluting the content of biodiversity-related conventions. On the contrary, it will ensure their mutual supportiveness while respecting their different characters. Strengthening of synergies and cooperation will make it possible to use the existing resources in a more efficient way and will make the pressures of implementation and reporting more manageable.

Objective 12.2 - Keep up our leading role in different international and EU forums to strengthen and ensure coherence, within the framework of the CBD Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets, between biodiversity related conventions.

When participating in international agreements, Belgium will continue its efforts to ensure the coherence of the provisions of biodiversity-related conventions in order to promote policy consistency, enhance synergies and increase the efficiency of implementing measures. In particular, Belgium will support the establishment of a global partnership on biodiversity in order to enhance implementation through improved cooperation between all the conventions, organisations and bodies, and continue to cooperate in the process of harmonisation and streamlining of reporting on biodiversity.

Objective 12.3 - Enhance synergies between CBD and the bodies of the Antarctic Treaty System and UNCLOS.

Biodiversity is a key issue in the Antarctic region. The Antarctic’s biodiversity is of unique value due to its relatively pristine state, with its high rate of endemic species with a highly adapted character. The Antarctic Treaty area is of particular interest due to the high level of scientific cooperation between countries.

Biodiversity in the high seas and Antarctica needs to be protected through the establishment of marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction, which should become key elements of a global representative network of MPAs [87]. Furthermore, climate change, increased tourism and unregulated bioprospection [88] activities in the marine and terrestrial parts of Antarctica are creating rising concern.

Those issues need to be addressed in a coherent and coordinated way within the CBD, UNCLOS and the bodies of the Antarctic Treaty System (Committee for Environmental Protection, Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources - CCAMLR), in particular regarding marine protected areas and ABS. Particular attention will also be devoted to human impacts on cetacean populations in the Antarctic region and to, in this regard, the work of the International Whaling Commission.

Objective 13 - Enhance Belgium’s efforts to integrate biodiversity concerns into relevant international organisations and programmes

Specific CBD issues are undoubtedly linked with discussions within other organisations and programmes such as FAO, UNDP, WTO, WHO, WIPO, ITTO, etc. whose mandates cover issues relevant to the implementation of the CBD. However, links between agreements directly relevant to biodiversity and the other relevant international organisations remain weak. It is therefore important to enhance synergies and coherence both at national and international level given the positive impacts that the protection of biodiversity can have on the implementation of several of those programmes.

An interesting tool to achieve this objective is the Green Diplomacy Network (GDN) [89], an initiative aimed at promoting the integration of environment into external relations of EU-25 through the creation of an informal network of experts as an information exchange mechanism between the designated environmental focal points of the Member State Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

Special efforts should for example ensure greater coherence and consistency between trade and economic agreements and the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This is of the utmost importance given the major impact that other institutions and programmes can have on the implementation of the CBD.

Objective 13.1 - Integrate biodiversity concerns into all international organisations and programmes that are relevant to biodiversity.

Belgium will continue and strengthen its participation in international and European conventions, agreements and programmes relevant to biodiversity, and will ensure that positions taken are in line with and supportive of the three objectives of the CBD. This will promote compatibility and mutual supportiveness between institutions and programmes. This implies improved coordination and sharing of information at national level to ensure that Belgian delegations to meetings of different but related bodies present consistent and mutually reinforcing positions.

Objective 13.2 - Support efforts of developing countries to combat illegal logging and associated illegal trade as well as their efforts to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management

A first step in contributing to SFM is to help developing countries restrict and impede illegal logging activities.

Illegal logging and its associated trade not only threaten biodiversity in timber-producing countries (through overexploitation, depletion of scarce natural resources, destruction of ecosystems, etc.) but also have serious economic and social consequences (loss of revenue for local governments, corruption, impoverishment of rural communities that depend on forest products, etc.).

In 2003, the EU adopted an Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT Action Plan) to combat illegal logging and associated illegal trade. On the one hand this plan emphasises governance reform and capacity-building in producer countries to control illegal logging and that primarily through the development of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA’s) between the EU and timber-producing countries. The final aim of these agreements is to set up a licensing scheme in partner countries in order to ensure that only legally produced timber (identified by means of licenses issued in those producer countries) is exported to the EU. The framework has been set up by means of the FLEGT Regulations [91].

Indonesia is the first country to have fully implemented its licensing scheme and has been issuing licenses for the export of timber and timber products to the EU since 15 November 2016. Belgium has set up a control system to check whether the licensing obligation is being complied with by importers, using the European Commission online management tool TRACES. Belgium will continuously evaluate the national control system, contribute to the evaluation at EU level, make adjustments where necessary and will proactively anticipate the arrival of additional producer countries issuing FLEGT licenses.

Belgium should continue to support this initiative on the ground by initiating projects in timber-producing countries to prepare for the establishment of voluntary partnership agreements, as has been the case in the DRC.

On the other hand the plan also underlines demand-side measures to reduce the consumption of illegal timber within the EU.
In this context, the EU adopted “Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market” in 2010. This Regulation, together with its Implementing Regulation [92], Delegated Act [93]and Guidelines [94], prohibits the placing on the EU market of illegal timber and timber products from any origin as of 3 March 2013.
Belgium will continue to focus on the appropriate enforcement of this Regulation and actively participate in its evaluation. In this context, additional staff were recruited in 2017.

Belgium will continue to focus on the development of public procurement policies to promote sustainable management of forests. Belgium, for example, concluded a sectoral agreement in 2011 to increase the share of primary timber products from sustainably managed forests on the Belgian market. That sectoral agreement will be renewed in 2019 and the scope will be extended to more secondary timber products such as paper and packaging, furniture, pallets, etc.

For CITES-listed wood, Belgium will work closely with the countries of origin to ensure that CITES permits are only issued when a clear non-detriment-finding has been carried out and the legality and sustainability of the tropical wood is proven. In case of seizures of large quantities of CITES-listed wood, and, where possible, the subsequent public sale of this timber, revenue will be invested in local projects to enhance local sustainable use of forests.

Agricultural production, one-third of which is internationally traded, is the main driver of deforestation in the world. Conversion of forest to agricultural land itself is responsible for an estimated 80 % of forest loss in tropical and subtropical regions. Therefor Belgium will support and actively contribute to upcoming initiatives on the elimination of deforestation from the production of agricultural commodities such as soy, cacao, palm oil and beef.

5. Habitat loss halved or reduced