Implementation of the NBSAP
Adopted in October 2010, the National Biodiversity Strategy (NBS) aims to merge and integrate biodiversity conservation targets and sustainable use of natural resources within sectoral policies, thereby implementing the vision of the Strategy which states: “Biodiversity and ecosystem services, our natural capital, are preserved, valued and, insofar as possible, restored for their intrinsic value so that they can continue to support economic prosperity and human well-being despite the profound changes that are taking place globally and locally”.
The NBS is structured around 3 key issues (biodiversity and ecosystem services, biodiversity and climate change, biodiversity and economic policies). Three strategic objectives have been developed to complement these 3 key issues; cross-cutting aspects of biodiversity have also been considered as have their integration in sectoral policies. In this light, achievement of the strategic objectives is addressed in 15 “work areas”: 1. species, habitats, landscape; 2. protected areas; 3. genetic resources; 4. agriculture; 5. Forests; 6. inland waters; 7. marine environment; 8. infrastructures and transportation; 9. urban areas; 10. Health; 11. Energy; 12. Tourism; 13. research and innovation; 14. education, information, communication and participation; 15. Italy and global biodiversity. Within each work area, specific objectives have been identified, as have specific measures to be undertaken towards their achievement.
Implementation of the NBS is in line with EU policies dealing with biodiversity, and with the EU Biodiversity Strategy, whose targets are also consistent with Aichi Biodiversity targets. Hence, there is a good match between the three strategies. The governance of the NBS is guaranteed by a National Biodiversity Committee (NBC), composed of representatives of all ministries and regions; the National Biodiversity Observatory (NBO), composed of technical and scientific experts; and a Consultation Table held with all stakeholders.
Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets
Italy is strongly committed to the implementation of the Strategic Plan and is making significant progress to achieve all Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and encouraged by the following results:
• Good collaboration has been established with the agricultural and forestry sectors.
• Interministerial activity for the development of the National Strategy for Resource Mobilization for Biodiversity.
• Protected areas system is very wide-ranging. For the time being, activities are directed towards increasing management efficiency, with the aim to maximize biodiversity conservation, including ecosystem services.
• Creation of operational databases and dedicated portals (these are tools that make steering policies possible, provide up-to-date figures for environmental assessment procedures, enhance and disseminate knowledge, and increase the level of biodiversity awareness). In this respect, the portal “Naturaitalia” has been identified as the National Biodiversity Clearing-House Mechanism and will play a pivotal role in the exchange of information among different sectors to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Italy.
• The governance system of the National Strategy for Biodiversity significantly contributes to mainstreaming, aiming to enhance a cross-cutting approach, widen opportunities and procedures for disseminating and communicating significant initiatives that are ongoing in Italy.
Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)
In Italy, legislation is the basis for many projects and actions for biodiversity conservation. The Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea was established in 1986 (Law 349). A Framework Law on Protected Areas (Law 394/91) and the Law for Sea Protection (Law 979/82), and respective subsequent amendments and integrations, comprise the main regulatory principles for terrestrial and marine protected areas in Italy. The establishment of Areas of Ecological Protection (AEP), commencing from the outer limit of Italian territorial waters up to the limits established in accordance with agreements signed with States whose territory is adjacent to or opposite to Italian territory, is also enshrined in legislation (Law 61/2006).
The implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy (NBS) requires a multidisciplinary approach and a great amount of sharing and collaboration among policy-makers and central and regional administrations, with the support of academic and scientific institutions, and other stakeholders. For this reason, the State-Region Conference was chosen as the venue for policy discussion and decision-making with regard to the NBS. By a Ministerial Decree (6 June 2011), the Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea established a governance body known as the National Biodiversity Committee (NBC), composed of representatives from Central Administrations, Regions and Autonomous Provinces, to support activities of the Conference and NBS implementation. In addition, the decree approved the creation of the National Biodiversity Observatory (NBO) which offers scientific and technical support to the NBC. Furthermore, it approved the establishment of the Consultation Table (CT), involving the NBC and representatives of main economic/production and environmental associations, to allow for consistent and the full engagement of all stakeholders in the process of implementing and reviewing the NBS.
The Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea has established an inter-ministerial Table on the Strategy for Resource Mobilization to fulfill the global commitments made at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Nagoya, especially as relates to Aichi Biodiversity Target 20. All competent national authorities on the subject are involved in the Table. As such, the Ministry for the Environment is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Ministry of Economic Development, the Piedmont Region (on behalf of all Italian Regions), National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) and the Institute for Environmental Research and Protection (ISPRA). This inter-ministerial Table has begun the process of developing a National Strategy for Resource Mobilization.
Since 2010, the National Accounts Department has published, on an annual basis, national eco-accounts of the central administration’s public expenses for biodiversity.
The European Union provides financial resources for agri-environmental measures through the European Agricultural Fund for Regional Development (EAFRD), which forms the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Rural Development Programs in Regions and Autonomous Provinces had a pivotal role in improving the mainstreaming of issues in agricultural and environmental policies, particularly in regard to the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural and forested lands. In the 2007-2013 period, public expenditure for Axe 2 (Environment) totaled approximately 6 billion Euros. Financed actions aimed to facilitate the sustainable management of agricultural and forested land and conserve biodiversity. In addition, an intervention proposed in regard to measure 323 of Axe 3 (conservation and requalification of rural estates) allowed for the establishment of management plans for Natura 2000 sites, and biodiversity monitoring activities at the regional level.
The LIFE (Financial Instrument for the Environment) is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU. Since the launch of the LIFE programme by the European Commission in 1992, a total of 688 projects have been financed in Italy. These projects represent a total investment of €1 billion, of which €443 million has been provided by the European Union. In the 2007-2013 period, 96 projects were financed for nature conservation at a total cost of €305 million.
Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation
The NBS will be implemented from 2011 to 2020. In 2015, a shared and in-depth assessment of the validity of the Strategy’s approach will be conducted, and a decision taken on whether adjustments are needed to the Strategy. A report on the status of NBS implementation will be issued every two years, dealing with progress made towards the achievement of strategic objectives and other specific goals in the individual work areas, and require approval by the National Biodiversity Committee.
The first synergistic collaboration between the NBO and NBC has resulted in the establishment of a preliminary set of NBS indicators to support the above assessment. In the first instance, 13 indicators for measuring the state of biodiversity and 30 indicators for evaluation have been developed. At present, the NBO is seeking to implement and improve this set of indicators.
The monitoring carried out in Italy, in accordance with the Habitats and Birds Directives, is another important information source for assessing implementation of the NBS.