National targets

Title Rationale Aichi targets
Objective 14 - Promote the commitment of cities, provinces and other local authorities in the implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy 2020

The stakeholders involved in the implementation of this objective are: the regional and local authorities (including the provinces and municipalities), the nature conservation agencies, actors involved in local Agenda 21 programmes and other local programmes and plans, professional federations active in the sector, the general public and any association working towards the same goal as the NBS.

Objective 14.1 - Encourage local authorities to develop and implement local biodiversity strategies and related action plans.

The commitment of cities, provinces and other local authorities is crucial to the achievement of the objectives of the National Biodiversity Strategy at all levels. Local action could be facilitated through the enhancement and dissemination of appropriate policy tools and guidelines, and the diffusion of best practices supporting the multifunctional use of natural spaces. In particular, biodiversity concerns should be integrated into existing local action plans, like the Local Agendas 21, communal plans for rural development, as well as in plans that are being developed. Capacity-building programmes and exchange platforms can provide appropriate technical assistance and/or guidance. Awareness-raising campaigns for local residents on the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and appropriate subsidies for local authorities should be put in place to stimulate and support local commitment to biodiversity. The importance of a bottom- up information flow is crucial as residents are good reporters of their environment. This can be promoted for example through the organization of events or above-mentioned exchange platforms to collect observations on specific themes related to biodiversity. Cities and local authorities are encouraged to monitor and report on their progress by means of standardized biodiversity indices, such as the city biodiversity index (CBI).

Biodiversity must keep or regain its place in the urban space as it performs important natural functions while contributing to physical and mental health, recreation, education and public awareness. To this end, it is important to better preserve and connect green spaces and open spaces around and within urbanized areas by developing a green infrastructure. Most importantly, their quality needs to be improved to facilitate their multifunctional use. Historically, we note that, despite heavy land use and dense urbanization, urban areas often host an important natural heritage for the same historical reasons that led to the human presence and economic development in this location. This is notably the case in the Brussels-Capital Region.

Objective 15 - Ensure the provision of adequate resources for biodiversity

Belgium has committed itself at international and European level to the implementation of the Convention on Biodiversity and its Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 (SP). This includes financial support both with regard to adequately financing our own national efforts as well as supporting developing countries to implement the CBD.

Objectives 15.1-15.4 of the updated NSB express this national and global engagement and need to be seen in light of CBD Article 20 (§1-4) as well as several subsequent COP decisions (COP9/11-COP10/2-COP11/4). Furthermore UNGA resolutions 65/161 and 67/212 also expressed political commitment to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. Finally, this was internalized at EU level through several Council Conclusions (in particular December 2010 and June 2011) and in the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

Resource mobilization under the CBD relates to increasing funding for biodiversity-related activities, both nationally and globally to reach the Aichi Targets in line with CBD Article 20. However, the overall picture must be kept in mind when addressing SNB Objective 15, since this is not just about ‘flows’ of funding but also about engaging the private sector, reducing costs, increasing sectoral integration, enhancing effectiveness of funding (both nationally & in developing countries), etc. Therefore many actions have already been taken by and remain still available to the relevant administrations and other actors to contribute to Objectives 15.1 – 15.4 in line with their own capacities and/or competences and are not limited to increasing net funding flows towards third countries.

The set of 4 objectives 15.1-15.4 covers a whole range of ways to mobilize biodiversity resources which are mutually supportive. Several of these are directly related to other SNB Objectives, in particular Objectives 5-11-12 and 13. Just like Aichi Target 20 will contribute to and also benefit from the proper implementation of the other Aichi Targets, this Objective 15 will both contribute to and benefit from progress under the other NSB Objectives, depending on how those are implemented.

To carry out the present National Biodiversity Strategy, there is a need to carry out further actions in key areas. Investments in coherent and integrated biodiversity activities should be substantially increased. Financing will be supported by Regional and Federal environmental administrations, other relevant administrations and funding bodies, including the private sector.

20. Financial resources from all sources increased
Objective 15.1 - By 2020 at the latest, the mobilization of financial resources for biodiversity from all sources (including possible innovative financial mechanisms) should increase substantially compared to the average annual biodiversity funding for

This objective covers both national and global financing for biodiversity and is based on Articles 20.1 – 20.4 of the CBD. It is close to the wording of Aichi Target 20 which was based on Article 20 and which is globally the politically most recognized commitment. The implementation of the Strategic Plan with its Aichi Targets is guiding all biodiversity efforts during the UN Decade, as decided by the United Nations General Assembly in resolutions 65/161 and 67/212. Target 20 was confirmed at EU level through the Council Conclusions of December 2010 (§9) and of June 2011 (§16) and also referred to the need to deliver on the CBD Strategy for Resource Mobilisation. The Strategic Plan and Aichi Targets became the basis for the EU Biodiversity Strategy and in particular Targets 1 (Act. 2 - financing Natura 2000) and 6 (Act. 18 - link to CBD COP-11) directly support Operational Objective 15.1.

Belgium needs to ensure, adequate financing of biodiversity from all sources. Therefore it is important to investigate financing possibilities at national level such as the establishment of specific funds for biodiversity, the integration of biodiversity in sectoral budgets and programmes (in particular in Research and Development plans and programs), the establishment of partnerships with the finance and business sectors, etc. Other innovative financial mechanisms should be investigated, such as partnerships with the private sector.

In Flanders, a specific funds (Minafonds) has been established to deals with financial aspects of investments in the field of environment.

The federal level should investigate possibilities to use the Raw Material Funds for biodiversity.

Belgium will investigate and mobilise additional financial resources from all sources to effectively implement the NBS and to contribute to averting global biodiversity loss. In accordance with the CBD Strategy for Resource Mobilization, it should substantially increase from the levels of 2010. In CBD Decision XI/4, it is agreed to use the average annual biodiversity funding between 2006 and 2010 as a baseline.

The existing financial institutions will be strengthened and, the replication and scaling-up of successful financial mechanisms and instruments will be promoted (Resource Mobilization Strategy Goal 3). Enabling conditions will be established to encourage private sector involvement in supporting the Convention's three objectives, including the financial sector.

20. Financial resources from all sources increased
Objective 15.2 - Fully use existing EU financing instruments to promote biodiversity.

This objective supports Aichi Targets 2, 3 and 20. At EU level, again Targets 1 (Act. 2) and 6 (Act 18) are directly linked. The EU CCs of June 2011 (§13) stressed the need to mobilise additional resources from all possible sources and ensure adequate funding through, inter alia, the future EU financial framework, national sources and innovative financial mechanisms, as appropriate, for the effective implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, including predictable, adequate and regular financing for the Natura 2000 network.

This objective in itself contributes to Objectives 15.1 and 15.4 and at EU and national level, several initiatives are already ongoing. For example Belgium is already engaged in several efforts to use existing EU financial mechanisms to promote support for biodiversity (cf. EU Council Conclusions of December 2010 (§5, §13, §19) regarding rural development, CAP, CFP, etc.).

Co-financing opportunities through European financing programmes will be promoted, for instance through specific programmes of the forthcoming EU Multiannual Financial framework 2014-2020 including LIFE+, the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), the Cohesion Fund, the Structural Funds (the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund), and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Belgium will support financing biodiversity in European Financing Funds.

2. Biodiversity values integrated
Objective 15.3 - By 2015, contribute towards the doubling of the total biodiversity-related financial resource flows to developing countries and at least maintain this level until 2020, including through a country-driven prioritization of biodiversity w

The justification for this kind of target is in CBD Article 20, paragraphs 1 to 4. At COP-11 (Hyderabad, October 2012), the Parties decided to add this specific target to implement their commitments under CBD Article 20, the Resource Mobilization Strategy and Aichi Target 20 (COP-11/4, §7).

International flows of financial resources originate from several sources (see figure 7). Official development assistance (ODA) is one of these sources. ODA can be either bilateral (directly from a donor country to a recipient country) or multilateral (resources channelled through international financial institutions and the United Nations organization, funds and programmes). International financial flows can also include non-ODA public funding such as economic cooperation, through private companies and through international not-for-profit organizations. This can be both North-South and South-South cooperation.

Belgium will adopt a methodology and calculate its baseline of international financial flow to developing countries devoted to CBD implementation and biodiversity activities. The baseline will be the annual biodiversity funding for the years 2006–2010. This will contribute to the implementation of the provisions of the Monterrey Consensus on mobilizing international and domestic funding as related to biodiversity

A strategy to double this baseline will be developed and implemented by 2015 with the actors involved (the federal and regional authorities, the private sector, NGOs, foundations and academia). In the context of this process, the term “biodiversity activity” refers to all activities that have a positive impact on biodiversity regardless of whether they take the form of direct benefits or indirect benefits. A proposed categorization of biodiversity resources is provided for in the CBD reporting framework to assist Parties in accounting for the various types of information which should be considered.

In the context of this objective, Belgium will provide support to strengthen existing financial institutions and promote replication and scaling-up of successful financial mechanisms and instruments. This may take the form of enhanced efforts to mobilize co-financing and other modes of project financing for biological diversity or the promotion of biological diversity in debt relief and conversion initiatives, including debt-for-nature swaps. The development and implementation of economic incentives that are supportive of the Convention's three objectives at local and national level and consistent and in harmony with the other relevant international obligations could be considered.

20. Financial resources from all sources increased
Objective 15.4 - By 2020, support, as appropriate, developing countries to enhance institutional, national, administrative and managerial capacities, in order to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of international and national financial flows

This objective was already included in the CBD Resource Mobilisation Strategy COP9/11 (§6) and repeated in paragraph 14 of decision COP-11/4 in order to create the enabling environment to mobilize private and public-sector investments in biological diversity and its associated ecosystem services.

This objective is essential in terms of reaching the objectives to implement the CBD as not only the amount of funding but also its management and the absorption capacity of the recipient countries are key. In particular Operational Objectives 11.3 and 11.6 directly support Operational Objective 15.4.

In its bilateral and multilateral interactions with partner countries, Belgium will provide support, inter alia:

-    to strengthen institutional capacities for effective resource mobilization and utilization, including strengthening the capacities of the relevant ministries and agencies to make a case for including biodiversity and its associated ecosystem services in discussions with donors and relevant financial institutions;

-    to strengthen the capacity for the integration of biodiversity issues and associated ecosystem services into national and sectoral planning, and promote budgetary allocations for biological diversity and its associated ecosystem services in national and relevant sectoral budgets.

-   to strive to increase official development assistance associated with biological diversity, where biodiversity is identified as a priority by developing country Parties in poverty reduction strategies, national development strategies, United Nations development assistance frameworks and other development assistance strategies and in accordance with priorities identified in national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

20. Financial resources from all sources increased
Objective 2 - Investigate and monitor the effects of threatening processes and activities and their causes

The major processes that constitute a threat to, or are likely to have significant adverse impacts on, biodiversity are identified in part I.4. These processes and the activities impacting directly on biodiversity must be further investigated and their effects monitored through sampling and other techniques. Their causes must be identified and monitored on a regular basis (see also operational objective 7.3).

Objective 2.1 - Investigate and monitor the effects and causes of activities and processes, including new and emerging risks, that threaten components of biodiversity in Belgium

Identifying new and emerging risks as early as possible is a precondition for early action.

Much can be done to avert loss of biodiversity if adequate information on potential threats is available. It is necessary to further investigate the impact on biodiversity of human activities and of threats arising from natural causes, as well as relations between those processes and activities in order to take the most appropriate measures to minimise their impacts. Particular attention must be paid to the potential risks to biodiversity posed by the development and use of new technologies, their processes and products. For instance, attention should be paid to the potentially negative impacts of nanotechnologies on biodiversity, to the use of GMOs in agriculture, forestry and fishery - detailed in Objective 4 - as well as other GMOs developed as bioindicators or bioremediators, GM cattle, domestic animals, decorative plants, or GM microorganisms and viruses used as pest regulators in agriculture, etc.). Among their potential negative impacts: the spread of invasive alien species, the threat to non-target organisms by GMOs producing specific pesticides, unforeseen interactions with biodiversity, or the ecosystem disequilibrium caused by the large-scale diffusion of such organisms. The development of new, not yet marketed genetic transformation techniques, like synthetic biology, should be carefully accompanied by, a. o., thorough EIA procedures and the elaboration and implementation of adequate regulations by the community involved in biodiversity preservation. The biodiversity research community has a role to play in identifying emerging issues and delivering relevant biodiversity policy information.

When considering the various potential impacts of these emerging risks, attention should be paid not only to impacts on specific components of biodiversity but also to community structures and global ecosystem functions and services and to the links between biodiversity and health, in particular to risks to health.

10. Pressures on vulnerable ecosystems reduced
Objective 2.2 - Investigate and monitor the effects of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem services

As highlighted in Part I, some effects of climate change on biodiversity are already obvious. They are likely to increase further because of the projected rise in temperature. Climate change constitutes a direct threat to biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services as it disrupts ecological relations, unbalancing ecosystem functioning; it increases the impact of invasive alien species, causes disturbance to the lifecycle of some species and migration or disappearance of others, and can affect specific ecosystem services such as water regulation, nutrient cycling, food provision. Populations of Northern species tend to move northwards or disappear altogether (e.g. plant species), not having been able to adapt to climate change. Terrestrial ecosystems are mainly affected in terms of plant phenology and distribution of plant and animal species, with specialist species being most at risk.

Even if society substantially reduces its emissions of greenhouse gases over the coming decades, the climate system is projected to continue to change in centuries to come. We therefore have to prepare for and adapt to the consequences of some inevitable climate change, in addition to mitigation measures.

To prevent or limit severe damage to the environment, society and economies, adaptation strategies for affected systems must be developed at national, regional and local level. In 2010, Belgium adopted its national climate adaptation strategy. It has 3 objectives:

·         to improve the coherence between existing adaptation activities in Belgium (assessing the impacts of climate change, vulnerability to climate change and adaptation measures already implemented);

·         to improve communication at national, European and international levels;

·         to initiate a process to develop a national action plan.

The Strategy summarizes the expected impacts of climate change in Belgium in several areas including biodiversity and gives an overview of the adaptation measures that have already been made in these areas as well as two cross-cutting areas: research and international cooperation. This strategy has initiated the process of developing a National Adaptation Plan. In this context, the different levels of government (Federal Government, Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels-Capital) have carried out studies in order to prepare future Federal/Regional adaptation plans that will provide the baseline for the national adaptation plan.

Regional studies have led to the development of regional climate projections and to provide information on sectoral vulnerability to future climate conditions.

The Flemish Region has published in 2013 the regional plan for adaptation to climate change (Het Vlaams Klimaatbeleidsplan 2013-2020). The Walloon Region adopted in 2007 the Walloon Plan ‘Air-Climate’. Brussels-Capital Region approved in September 2013 the proposal of pre-project for the regional plan air-climate-energy.

10. Pressures on vulnerable ecosystems reduced