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Argentina - Country Profile

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


The Republic of Argentina is classified as one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries. Argentina boasts some of the best varieties of ecosystems in the world: 15 continental zones, 3 oceanic zones and the Antarctic region are all represented in its territory. This diversity of ecosystems has led to large species diversity: 9,000 vascular plant species (30% endemics) and 2,380 vertebrate species of which there are 38 endemic species of mammals and 19 endemic species of birds. From this total, 529 species of vertebrates and at least 240 plants are threatened or face extinction. The main threats to biodiversity are conversion of natural land for agriculture and deforestation, however, alien invasive species, industrialization and urbanization are also great contributors to biodiversity loss. Notable advances have been made in regard to the sustainable use of species of wild fauna, biodiversity inventorying, implementation of the Global Taxonomy Initiative and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, and the development of the national Clearing-House Mechanism. Work being conducted on access to genetic resources, and the sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of these resources, is at present hampered by lack of agreement from different areas of government. The Argentinian government has recently pushed for increased intersectoral dialogue and agreements to further progress in implementing the Convention.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

299 protected areas (6.3% of total land area), 11 Ramsar sites and 10 Biosphere reserves (Source: 2003 Earth Trends World Resources Institute Country Profile)

Percentage of Forest Cover

34% (Source: 2005 FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment) Monitoring reports are prepared on a continuous basis and available on the website of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

The general goals of Argentina’s National Biodiversity and Action Plan are to: guarantee the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources; reduce adverse effects of production activities on biological diversity; and the equitable sharing of benefits derived from the appropriate use of genetic resources. The NBSAP lays out, according to the themes of the 2010 Biodiversity Target, different objectives and actions for each thematic area. These themes include: sustainable use of biodiversity, restoration of degraded lands, bio-regional planning and use of land, protected areas and education, communication and capacity-building. The actions identified in the NBSAP should serve to strengthen: the integration of biodiversity-related issues in the sectoral plans and programs that lead to the national development and increase in life quality; understanding of functions of genes, species and ecosystems; access to information related to biodiversity by different sectors of society; the process of moving towards models of use and consumption that are compatible with the maintaining of essential ecological processes, while trying to avoid a reduction in the natural capital of Argentina; the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources; and the conservation of the cultural heritage of Argentina.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

See information provided under National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

The Federal System for Protected Areas (SIFAP) was recently created in 2003 and a coherent national action plan for the administration of protected areas is yet to be established. Overall, limited progress has been made in regard to this programme of work. Few measures have been taken to establish protected areas in large unfragmented natural areas and to address the under-representation of marine and inland water ecosystems in the existing national and regional systems. However, some steps have been taken for improving the integration of protected areas into broader land and seascapes, including policy and planning, mainly at the provincial level through the creation of biological corridors under the protection of provincial legislation. Environmental impact assessment guidelines are being applied to only some projects and plans at the moment, such as those dealing with the management of national parks. Legislative and institutional gaps have not yet been comprehensively identified however the importance of addressing such gaps within the context of private-owned land has been acknowledged. Capacity needs require a more thorough assessment although a partial national plan for sustaining the financing for protected areas, supported by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and international donors, is in place. The National Network for Biosphere Reserves carries out an evaluation every 10 years however the Federal System for Protected Areas has not completed the development of its own evaluation methodology.

Initiatives in Access and Benefit Sharing

No legislation currently governs access to genetic resources although drafting a legislation in this regard has been initiated, with consideration being given to the CBD Bonn Guidelines in the preparation process. Some governmental organizations, such as the National Institute for Agricultural Technology, are exchanging genetic resources in accordance with the rules of certain international protocols. Only a few measures, where species of interest for food are involved, have been taken to ensure that scientific research based on genetic resources and provided by other Parties is developed and carried out with the full participation of these Parties. Also, only some measures have been taken, through projects implemented by the National Institute of Agricultural Technology, other science and technology institutes and the provinces, to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of research results and benefits arising from the commercial and other uses of resources among stakeholders. Argentina has not yet ratified the International Treaty on PLant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture however is currently in the process of developing plans compatible with this treaty. Policies to address the role of intellectual property rights in access and benefit-sharing arrangements, with respect to traditional knowledge, are also in preparation. Capacity-building activities have been carried out with local communities to raise awareness of the value of natural resources. Specific measures have been implemented by both governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

Argentina’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan incorporates actions related to the participation of indigenous communities in activities to implement the Convention. Assistance has been provided to indigenous communities to facilitate the conduct of regional meetings, the development of conservation plans for wild species and identification of the potential benefits that can arise from them.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme