The Conference of the Parties
GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PLANT CONSERVATION
B. Rationale, scope and general principles
(i) A widely accessible working list of known plant species, as a step towards a complete world flora;
(ii) A preliminary assessment of the conservation status of all known plant species, at national, regional and international levels;
(iii) Development of models with protocols for plant conservation and sustainable use, based on research and practical experience;
(iv) At least 10 per cent of each of the world's ecological regions effectively conserved;
(v) Protection of 50 per cent of the most important areas for plant diversity assured;
(vi) At least 30 per cent of production lands managed consistent with the conservation of plant diversity;
(vii) 60 per cent of the world's threatened species conserved in situ;
(viii) 60 per cent of threatened plant species in accessible ex situ collections, preferably in the country of origin, and 10 per cent of them included in recovery and restoration programmes;
(ix) 70 per cent of the genetic diversity of crops and other major socio-economically valuable plant species conserved, and associated indigenous and local knowledge maintained;
(x) Management plans in place for at least 100 major alien species that threaten plants, plant communities and associated habitats and ecosystems;
(xi) No species of wild flora endangered by international trade;
(xii) 30 per cent of plant-based products derived from sources that are sustainably managed;
(xiii) The decline of plant resources, and associated indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices that support sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care, halted;
(xiv) The importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation incorporated into communication, educational and public-awareness programmes;
(xv) The number of trained people working with appropriate facilities in plant conservation increased, according to national needs, to achieve the targets of this Strategy;
(xvi) Networks for plant conservation activities established or strengthened at national, regional and international levels.
D. The Strategy as a framework
E. Further work required to develop and implement the Strategy
TERMS AND TECHNICAL RATIONALE FOR THE SIXTEEN TARGETS OF THE GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PLANT CONSERVATION
A. Understanding and documenting plant diversity
Target 1: A widely accessible working list of known plant species, as a step towards a complete world flora
A working list of known plant species is considered to be a fundamental requirement for plant conservation. The target is considered to be attainable by 2010, especially given that is to be a working rather than a definitive list, and it is limited to known organisms (currently about 270,000, which may increase by 10 - 20% by 2010). Some 900,000 scientific names are known for these 270,000 species. In effect the target will require the compilation and synthesis of existing knowledge, focusing on names and synonyms, and geographical distribution. Both national flora and compilations and international initiatives are important in this respect. The list could be made accessible through the World Wide Web, complemented by CD-ROM and printed versions. Further work on national and regional floras is necessary to lay the basis for the longer term aim of developing a complete world flora, including local and vernacular names.
Target 2: A preliminary assessment of the conservation status of all known plant species, at national, regional and international levels
Over 60,000 species have been evaluated for conservation status according to internationally accepted criteria, of which 34,000 are classified as globally threatened with extinction (IUCN, 1997). In addition, many countries have assessed the conservation status of their own floras. There are currently about 270,000 known species. Of those still to be evaluated, sufficient information for a full assessment is only available for a proportion. Thus, only a preliminary assessment will have been carried out on the remaining, "data-deficient" species. Subsequently, further fieldwork will be essential to enable more comprehensive assessments to be undertaken.
Target 3: Development of models with protocols for plant conservation and sustainable use, based on research and practical experience
Conservation biology research, and methodologies and practical techniques for conservation are fundamental to the conservation of plant diversity and the sustainable use of its components. These can be applied through the development and effective dissemination of relevant models and protocols for applying best practice, based on the results of existing and new research and practical experience of management. ‘Protocols' in this sense, can be understood as practical guidance on how to conduct plant conservation and sustainable use activities in particular settings. Key areas where the development of models with protocols is required include: the integration of in situ and ex situ conservation; maintenance of threatened plants within ecosystems; applying the ecosystem approach; balancing sustainable use with conservation; and methodologies for setting conservation priorities; and methodologies for monitoring conservation and sustainable use activities.
B. Conserving plant diversity
Target 4: At least 10 per cent of each of the world's ecological regions effectively conserved
About 10% of the land surface is currently covered by protected areas. In general, forests and mountain areas are well represented in protected areas, while natural grasslands (such as prairies) and coastal and estuarine ecosystems, including mangroves, are poorly represented. The target would imply: (i) increasing the representation of different ecological regions in protected areas, and (ii) increasing the effectiveness of protected areas. Since some ecological regions will include protected areas covering more than 10% of their area, the qualifier "at least" is used. In some cases, ecosystems restoration and rehabilitation may be necessary. Effective conservation is understood to mean that the area is managed to achieve a favorable conservation status for plant species and communities. Various approaches are available for use in the identification of ecological regions, based on major vegetation types. Further targets may be agreed in the future.
Target 5: Protection of 50 per cent of the most important areas for plant diversity assured
The most important areas for plant diversity would be identified according to the criteria including endemism, species richness, and/or uniqueness of habitats, including relict ecosystems, also taking into account the provision of ecosystem services. They would be identified primarily at local and national levels. Protection would be assured through effective conservation measures, including protected areas. Experience from regional initiatives on important plant areas, as well as a similar approach on important bird areas suggests that 50% is a realistic target for 2010. In the longer term the protection of all important plant areas should be assured.
Target 6: At least 30 per cent of production lands managed consistent with the conservation of plant diversity
1. For the purpose of the target, production lands refer to lands where the primary purpose is agriculture (including horticulture), grazing, or wood production. Consistent with conservation of plant diversity implies that a number of objectives are integrated into the management of such production lands:
2. Increasingly, integrated production methods are being applied in agriculture, including integrated pest management, conservation agriculture, and on-farm management of plant genetic resources. Similarly, sustainable forest management practices are being more broadly applied. Against this background, and with the above understanding of the terms used, the target is considered feasible. Higher targets are appropriate for natural or semi-natural forests and grasslands.
Target 7: 60 per cent of the world's threatened species conserved in situ.
Conserved in situ is here understood to mean that populations of the species are effectively maintained in at least one protected area or through other in situ management measures. In some countries this figure has already been met, but it would require additional efforts in many countries. The target should be seen as a step towards the effective in situ conservation of all threatened species
Target 8: 60 per cent of threatened plant species in accessible ex situ collections, preferably in the country of origin, and 10 per cent of them included in recovery and restoration programmes
Currently, over 10,000 threatened species are maintained in living collections (botanic gardens, seed banks, and tissue culture collections), representing some 30% of known threatened species. It is considered that this could be increased to meet the proposed target by 2010, with additional resources, technology development and transfer, especially for species with recalcitrant seeds. Within this target it is suggested that priority be given to critically endangered species, for which a target of 90% should be attained. It is estimated that currently about 2% of threatened species are included in recovery and restoration programmes. Against this baseline, a target of 10% is recommended.
Target 9: 70 per cent of the genetic diversity of crops and other major socio-economically valuable plant species conserved, and associated indigenous and local knowledge maintained
Theory and practice demonstrate that, with an appropriate strategy, 70% of the genetic diversity of a crop can be contained in a relatively small sample (generally, less than one thousand accessions). For any one species, therefore, the target is readily attainable. For some 200-300 crops, it is expected that 70% of genetic diversity is already conserved ex situ in gene banks. Genetic diversity is also conserved through on farm management. By working with local communities, associated indigenous and local knowledge can also be maintained. Combining genebank, on farm, and other in situ approaches, the target could be reached for all crops in production, as well as major forage and tree species Other major socio-economically important species, such as medicinal plants, could be selected on a case-by-case basis, according to national priorities. Through the combined actions of countries, some 2,000 or 3,000 species could be covered in all.
Target 10: Management plans in place for at least 100 major alien species that threaten plants, plant communities and associated habitats and ecosystems
There is no agreed reliable estimate of the number of alien species that threaten indigenous plants, plant communities and associated habitats and ecosystems to such an extent that they may be considered as "major". It is recommended therefore that the target be established for an absolute number of such major invasive alien species. The wording "At least 100" is considered appropriate. The 100 invasive alien species would be selected on the basis of national priorities, also taking into account their significance at regional and global levels. For many alien species, it is expected that different management plans will be required in different countries in which they threaten plants, plant communities and associated habitats and ecosystems. This target would be considered as a first step towards developing management plans for all major alien species that threaten plants, plant communities and associated habitats and ecosystems.
C. Using plant diversity sustainably
Target 11: No species of wild flora endangered by international trade
The proposed formulation of the target is more precise since it focuses on those species that are actually threatened by international trade. So formulated, the target is attainable and is complementary to target 12. Species of wild flora endangered by international trade include but are not limited to species listed on CITES appendix 1. The target is consistent with the main purpose of the CITES Strategic Plan (to 2005): "No species of wild flora subject to unsustainable exploitation because of international trade".
Target 12: 30 per cent of plant-based products derived from sources that are sustainably managed
1. Plant-based products include food products, timber, paper and other wood-based products, other fibre products, and ornamental, medicinal and other plants for direct use.
2. Sources that are sustainably managed are understood to include:
3. In both cases, sustainable management should be understood to integrate social and environmental considerations, such as the fair and equitable sharing of benefits and the participation of indigenous and local communities.
4. Indicators for progress might include:
5. Certified organic foods and timber currently account for about 2% of production globally. For several product categories, examples exist of 10-20% of products meeting intermediate standards. Against this baseline, the target is considered to be attainable. It would be applied to each category of plant-based products, understanding that for some categories it will be more difficult to reach and more difficult to monitor progress. Implementation would require a combination of product-specific and sector-wide approaches, consistent with the Convention's programme of work on agricultural biodiversity.
Target 13: The decline of plant resources, and associated indigenous and local knowledge innovations and practices, that support sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care, halted.
Plant diversity underpins livelihoods, food security and health care. This target is consistent with one of the widely agreed international development targets, namely to "ensure that current trends in the loss of environmental resources are effectively reversed at both global and national levels by 2015". It is recommended feasible to halt the decline by 2010 and subsequently to reverse the decline. Relevant plant resources and methods to address their decline are largely site specific and thus implementation must be locally driven. The scope of the target is understood to encompass plant resources and associated ethnobotanical knowledge. Measures to address the decline in associated indigenous and local knowledge should be implemented consistent with the Convention's programme of work on Article 8(j) and related provisions.
D. Promoting education and awareness about plant diversity
Target 14: The importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation incorporated into communication, education and public awareness programmes.
Communication, education and the raising of public awareness about the importance of plant diversity are crucial for the achievement of all the targets of the strategy. This target is understood to refer to both informal and formal education at all levels, including primary, secondary and tertiary education. Key target audiences include not only children and other students, but also policy-makers and the public in general. Consideration should be given to developing specific indicators to monitor progress towards achievement of the overall target. It may be helpful to develop indicators for specific target audiences. Given the strategic importance of education about plant conservation, this issue should be included not only in environmental curricula, but should also be included in broader areas of mainstream education policy.
E. Building capacity for the conservation of plant diversity
Target 15: The number of trained people working with appropriate facilities in plant conservation increased, according to national needs, to achieve the targets of this Strategy.
The achievement of the targets included in the Strategy will require very considerable capacity-building, particularly to address the need for conservation practitioners trained in a range of disciplines, with access to adequate facilities. In addition to training programmes, the achievement of this target will require long-term commitment to maintaining infrastructure. "Appropriate facilities" are understood to include adequate technological, institutional and financial resources. Capacity-building should be based on national needs assessments. It is likely that the number of trained people working in plant conservation world-wide will need to double by 2010. Given the current geographical disparity between biodiversity and expertise, this is likely to involve considerably more than a doubling of capacity in many developing countries, small island developing States and countries with economies in transition. Increased capacity should be understood to include not only in-service training, but also the training of additional staff and other stakeholders, particularly at the community level.
Target 16: Networks for plant conservation activities established or strengthened at national, regional and international levels
Networks can enhance communication and provide a mechanism to exchange information, know-how and technology. Networks will provide an important component in the coordination of effort among many stakeholders for the achievement of all the targets of the strategy. They will also help to avoid duplication of effort and to optimise the efficient allocation of resources. Effective networks provide a means to develop common approaches to plant conservation problems, to share policies and priorities and to help disseminate the implementation of all such policies at different levels. They can also help to strengthen links between different sectors relevant to conservation, e.g. the botanical, environmental, agricultural, forest and educational sectors. Networks provide an essential link between on-the-ground conservation action and coordination, monitoring and policy development at all levels. This target is understood to include the broadening of participation in existing networks, as well as the establishment, where necessary, of new networks.