Communication, Education & Public Awareness

Awareness increased

Quick guide to the Aichi Biodiversity Target 1

Target 1: By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.

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Addressing the direct and underlying drivers of biodiversity loss will ultimately require behavioral change by individuals, organizations and governments. Understanding, awareness and appreciation of the diverse values of biodiversity, underpin the willingness of individuals to make the necessary changes and actions and to create the “political will” for governments to act. Given this, actions taken towards this target will greatly facilitate the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the fulfillment of the other 19 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, particularly Target 2.

Explanation of the Target

Meeting the target requires that:

People are aware of the values of biodiversity – Biodiversity is not widely understood and as a result its economic, social and environmental importance is often poorly recognized. The values of biodiversity, should be interpreted in the broadest sense, including environmental, cultural, economic and intrinsic values.

People are aware of the actions they can take to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity – While a better understanding of the values of biodiversity is important in building the motivation for action, its is not enough. Individuals also need to be aware of the types of actions they themselves can take in order to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. Different segments of society can take different actions depending on the types of activities they have control or influence over. Such information can help to empower individuals to take action.

The target applies to all people in society.

Implications for setting national targets

In order to progress towards this target, Parties will need to develop and implement coherent, strategic and sustained communication, education and public awareness efforts. Different types of education and public awareness activities or campaigns will be needed to reach the different audiences in a country as activities which are effective for one group, may not be for others.

Learning occurs in formal contexts of learning, such as in schools and universities, as well as in informal contexts, such as through the guidance of elders, as well as in museums and parks, and through films, television and literature. Learning also occurs through participation in events and other opportunities for information exchange between stakeholders. Therefore there are a variety of communication and outreach vehicles which could be used. Where possible, awareness and learning about the values of biodiversity should be linked to and mainstreamed into the principles and messages of education for sustainable development.

Guiding questions for setting national targets

  • What is the current level of biodiversity awareness? Which groups have the best/least understanding of biodiversity? Which groups should be targeted through awareness raising activities? What are the key messages that need to be transmitted to each group?
  • What awareness raising activities are already ongoing? How effective have these been? How could their effectiveness be improved? Who are the possible partners that could help reach key audiences?
  • What are the main channels or opportunities for awareness raising? What type of actions or events could be used? What programmes or initiatives could be further built on?
  • What additional resources (financial, human and technical) will be required to reach the national target that is set?

Actions and milestones

The Convention’s Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) programme is an important instrument for this target. The establishment of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity by the United Nations General Assembly represents an opportunity, throughout the implementation period of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, to link national awareness raising activities with a broader international process as a means of developing greater visibility and traction for such actions. Likewise the International Day for Biodiversity, on 22 May, provides a similar opportunity.

An initial action towards this target could be to undertake an assessment of the current level of biodiversity awareness in order to identify gaps and those groups whose awareness of biodiversity values is most important to the status of biodiversity in the country. The information from such an assessment could help to identify and prioritize the types of communication and education actions which are needed. Identifying the relevant messages and communication channels for different groups will also be important. Studies to determine and communicate the values of biodiversity are also important steps towards this target.

The involvement of partner agencies, particularly those that have good communication, education and public awareness experience will be particularly important for the fulfillment of this target.

Possible indicators

  • Trends in awareness and attitudes to biodiversity
  • Trends in public engagement with biodiversity
  • Trends in communication programmes and actions promoting social corporate responsibility