Implementation of the NBSAP
The UK has overall responsibility for the environment and biodiversity but to allow conservation approaches to be tailored to the different environments each country has developed national biodiversity strategies which underpin the ‘UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework’:
• England: Natural Environment White Paper
and the Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services
• Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy
and the State of the Environment Report for Northern Ireland
• Scotland: 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity
• Wales: Environment Strategy for Wales (2006–2026)
The UK high-level marine objectives
sets out how the UK can achieve its vision to have ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas’.
Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets
A suite of actions have been undertaken by the UK to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The priority actions are set out in the UK Biodiversity Framework and the country strategies listed above. Progress and outcomes are being assessed using UK and country-level indicators, and annual reports on the UK Biodiversity Framework’s implementation plan. Further details on actions taken to achieve the Aichi targets are outlined in the UK’s 5th National Report.
Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)
The UK has a number of mechanisms to support national implementation; one important driver for mainstreaming is legislation which places a ‘statutory duty’ on all public bodies to have regard to biodiversity conservation. Each country has listed priority habitats and species which are the subject of the duty. Additionally, spatial planning legislation and policies include safeguards for biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as requirements for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) on some developments.
Particular success has been achieved in mainstreaming biodiversity within agriculture policy
, with almost 34,000km2 of farmland under higher-level agri-environment schemes in 2012, as well as with forestry and planning policy. However, mainstreaming is a continuing challenge and further work is needed to integrate concern for biodiversity in other sectors. Key to this is the growing understanding of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services, particularly as a result of the work of TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity).
Monetary support for national implementation is increasing in the long term as demonstrated by the 2013 update of the UK Biodiversity Indicator
measuring expenditure on biodiversity in the UK and internationally. Between 2000-01 and 2012-13, public sector spending on UK biodiversity increased by 76% in real terms (to £471 million in 2012-13) and on international biodiversity by 74% (to £56 million in 2012-13).
The UK is funding and leading the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) research programme; providing, through the International Climate Fund (ICF), £3.87 billion to help the world’s poorest adapt to climate change, and to promote cleaner, greener growth. The UK is also supporting the implementation of ‘Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES)’ to establish environmental accounts in six to ten countries, develop guidelines for ecosystem accounting, and promote environmental accounting.
The UK is aiming to protect habitats and species in our seas by contributing to an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas. The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 provides the legal mechanism to protect and sustainably use the marine environment
, included within the act is the designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), a type of marine protected area. MCZs protect areas that are important to conserve the diversity of nationally rare, threatened and representative habitats and species. Designation of these zones takes social and economic factors into account, alongside the best available scientific evidence. There are now just under a quarter of English inshore waters within marine protected areas.
Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation
The UK recognises the importance of having an evidence based approach and as such has collected a great deal of information about its biodiversity. One key source based on this information is the UK set of Biodiversity Indicators; these provide an effective means of assessing and communicating progress on implementation.
The UK Biodiversity Indicators were reviewed in 2011, to ensure that they were based on robust data and to fit them to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity targets. Additionally, the UK Framework’s implementation plan will be subject to annual reports, to provide an update on progress on the 60 milestones identified.
UK Overseas Territories (OTs) & Crown Dependencies (CDs)
The UK OTs and CDs, host a diverse range of terrestrial and marine environments that together make a significant contribution to global biodiversity
. It is estimated that 94% of the UK’s biodiversity is found in the OTs, including many species of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.
There is an increasing awareness in the OTs and CDs of the importance of biodiversity and the vital ecosystem services it provides. Some of the UK OTs and CDs are in the process of developing a Biodiversity Strategy and/or National Biodiversity Action Plan. These combined with a number of other policies and strategies work to conserve the wildlife and habitats in the OTs and CDs. The international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has been extended to 4 OTs and 2 CDs, with others set to join shortly.
Full details of activities and progress are recorded within the individual UK OT and CD reports in Appendix 4 of the UK’s 5th National Report