Implementation of the Convention
Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target
The adoption of the 2010 target has sparked an intensified effort to further specify how to integrate biodiversity into land use planning and sectoral activities. Among the activities that have been initiated since the adoption of the target, the following should be highlighted. (1) A national guidance on the development of regional landscape strategies is being produced. Seven Swedish counties are conducting pilot projects exploring how such strategies can contribute to sustainable use of natural resources based on a holistic landscape perspective. (2) A national program for the conservation of genetic variation in wild plants and animals is being developed. (3) A national strategy and action plan for handling alien species and genotypes is being produced. (4) Sectoral agencies are producing sector specific definitions of sustainable use. (5) A national guidance on the implementation of the ecosystem approach is being produced. (6) Efforts to produce and implement species action plans have been intensified. (7) The environmental monitoring scheme is being complemented by activities aimed at monitoring the trends in biodiversity towards and beyond the 2010 target.
Awareness of invasive alien species as a threat to biological diversity in Sweden is increasing. In response to CBD COP VI/23 decision, Sweden has reviewed its legislature and administrative routines as regarding invasive alien species and is developing a national strategy and action plan for invasive alien species. Sweden has, together with Denmark and the Nordic Council of Ministers, been the driving force behind the development of the NOBANIS portal: www.nobanis.org. NOBANIS has facilitated regional cooperation and exchange of information among the 11 participating Nordic and Baltic countries. Sweden has also initiated the AquAliens research program, which studies the ecological and socio-economic effects of alien species in the aquatic environment.
Initiatives in Protected Areas
Since the early 1990s, site protection has been greatly extended, especially for protection of valuable forest areas. Examples of threatened forest and mires that were recently protected include Fulufjället National Park, Söderåsen National Park, Granlandet nature reserve and Tervavuoma nature reserve. In 2002 the Government decided on a new nature conservation policy to increase protection of aquatic environments. In compliance with that decision, rivers and streams with high nature conservation value have since been given higher priority for site protection. Furthermore the Environmental Protection Agency and regional county boards are working out a proposal for a new transboundary marine national park in the Koster-archipelago together with Norwegian authorities. Also, in the implementation of the Natura 2000 Network of protected areas, several marine and inland water sites were designated. The largest nature reserve in Europe, Vindelfjällen, is proposed as a national park.
Initiatives in Access and Benefit Sharing
Sweden has facilitated access to its genetic resources according to a decision made by the government in 2003. By recommendation of the Nordic Council of Ministers, the government decided that access to all plant genetic material of Swedish origin in Nordic Gene Bank (NGB) is free, and that the administration of them should be shared by all the Nordic countries. This material shall also be included in any multilateral system for access and benefit-sharing (e.g. in ITPGRFA). There are no restrictions covering the access to wild genetic resources. Private collections are however private property.
Sweden has, in cooperation with the other Nordic countries within the Nordic Council of Ministers, adopted a number of strategies regarding ABS including: A Nordic approach to Access and Rights to Genetic resources; Nordic Ministerial Declaration on Access and Rights to Genetic Resources 2003; and A strategy for genetic resources for fisheries, agriculture, forestry and food 2005-2008.
Sweden has so far not taken any initiatives to regulate the access to genetic resources. Sweden has implemented the European Union Directive 98/44/EG on legal protection of biotechnological inventions. Sweden is party to the UPOV 1991 Convention, the European Patent Convention, and member of WIPO. The current Swedish Patent legislation requires that the origin of the genetic resources used in an invention shall be disclosed in patent applications. If the origin is unknown it should be indicated. The failure to provide this information does not affect the handling of the patent application by the authorities or the rights conferred by a patent. The requirement does not, however, have any material effects on e.g. the validity of granted patents.
The botanic gardens in Europe have during the last year further developed their Access and Benefit Sharing system IPEN, which will be implemented in Sweden next year. The system has been recognised in CBD circles as a “best practice” example, for handling plant exchange in a pragmatic way that is yet fully in accordance with the letter and spirit of the CBD.
The Swedish international development cooperation agency (Sida) has adopted a policy that requires the establishment of a material transfer agreement (MTA) for financing research cooperation activities involving genetic materials. Sida financially supports three regional gene bank programs (Southern and Eastern Africa, and the Balkans) that include aspects related to ABS. Sida has also initiated the Swedish International Biodiversity program (SwedBio), based at the Swedish Biodiversity Centre, to allow for a more pro-active and strategic work in addressing biodiversity within Swedish development cooperation. SwedBio provides supports to e.g. ABS-related work of primarily non-governmental organizations. .
Initiatives for Article 8(j)
The Swedish Biodiversity Centre conducted wide consultations with representatives of indigenous peoples and local communities in order to assess the Swedish implementation of this article of the Convention. The results suggest that there is a need for a new national network to deal with the documentation, preservation and use of traditional knowledge. The government has therefore recently announced that an Action Program on Traditional Knowledge for Biodiversity will be elaborated. The Swedish Biodiversity Centre is currently compiling a three-volume treatise on the traditional use of biological resources in Sweden, to be completed in 2007.
The Swedish government has a policy to involve representatives of the indigenous Sami people in international negotiations concerning the CBD, WIPO, and the ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council. In the parts of Sweden where the Sami people traditionally manage their reindeer herds, a local participation approach is used in forest management. This approach is important because on the one hand forestry often negatively affects grazing conditions, but on the other hand the reindeer may damage young forest stands. Other conflicts, which have been ongoing for 50-100 years, relate to hunting, fishing, agriculture and erosion of the sensitive high mountain vegetation.