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Argentina - Country Profile

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Argentina is located in southern South America (also known as the Southern Cone), bordering the Andes to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. It is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, whose economy derives significant financial gains from large-scale agriculture, primarily in soybean, and livestock production. The country is also one of the world’s largest beef exporters. Yet it is faced at present with major environmental problems associated with the fragmentation and loss of native forests due to agricultural expansion. Meanwhile, the remnants of forests are being impacted by a high degree of degradation. Moreover, in recent decades, the transformation of natural environments has been accelerated due to an increase in agricultural expansion. This process of transformation has been particularly dramatic in the forest environments of Chaco, the Atlantic Forest and the Yungas where it is estimated that over 1 million hectares have been deforested in the last 5 years. In consequence, animal and plant species associated with these environments face serious threats to their long-term conservation. Although 18.4% of the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest, 6.4% of the Dry Chaco and 32.5% of the Yungas are now protected, large areas of these ecosystems are found in the productive landscape where unsustainable human activities pose threats to biodiversity.

In 1997, 18% of Argentina’s mammals were listed under a category of threat (i.e. vulnerable, threatened, endangered or critically endangered), a figure which rose to 24% in 2000 then fell to 21% in 2012. Between 2000 and 2012, the percentage of amphibians listed under a category of threat fell from 32% to 29%. Between 2000 and 2012, the percentage of lizards and amphisbaenians listed under a category of threat rose 70 points, from 8% to 78%, while snakes rose from 27% to 36% and turtles from 55% to 64%. A conservation success story relates to the country’s caimans, 100% of which were listed under a category of threat in 2000. However, as a result of conservation efforts, including economic incentives at the local level, data collected in 2012 revealed that caimans in the country were no longer threatened. Data collected in 2008 indicated that 26% of Argentina’s bird species were listed under a category of threat.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Pressures on Argentina’s biodiversity are primarily associated with the fragmentation and loss of native forests due to agricultural expansion. Pollution is another threat to the country’s biodiversity.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Argentina is in the final stages of developing a revised NBSAP for the 2014-2020 period focused on 10 overarching themes: 1) conservation, restoration and sustainable use of biodiversity 2) knowledge and information management of biodiversity 3) awareness-raising, communication and education for biodiversity 4) sustainable production and consumption practices 5) genetic resources 6) biodiversity valuation 7) monitoring, control and auditing of biodiversity 8) inter-institutional and inter-sectoral coordination 9) international cooperation 10) financial mechanisms. At the same time, the country is developing priority national targets with consideration given to the global targets.

Adopted by Resolution in 2003, Argentina’s first NBSAP addressed 6 themes on: institutional, legal and political arrangements; sustainable use; conservation; genetic resources; national capacities; and international aspects.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

To date, the highest level of progress (80-90%) has been made towards the achievement of Target 17 (NBSAPs), Target 11 (Protected Areas) and Target 16 (Nagoya Protocol). The lowest level of progress (30%) has been made towards Target 4 (sustainable consumption and production). Other targets for which progress to date is low (40-45%) are Target 6 (sustainable management of marine living resources), Target 8 (pollution reduced), Target 10 (pressures on vulnerable ecosystems reduced), Target 12 (extinction prevented) and Target 15 (ecosystems restored and resilience enhanced). A medium level of progress (50-60%) has been achieved with respect to the remaining Aichi Targets.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Established in 2011, the main functions of the National Advisory Commission for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (CONADIBIO) relate to NBSAP development, including establishing goals, targets and priority actions based on consensus among stakeholders comprised of governmental and non-governmental organizations, Indigenous Peoples, professional associations, unions, the private sector, among others.

“Red UNIBIO” constitutes a network of universities established to articulate the needs of biodiversity management through the generation of knowledge and data gaps, and to establish research priorities and mechanisms to improve decision-making in this area. This initiative was launched by the Undersecretary of Planning and Environmental Policy (under the Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development) and the Undersecretary of Coordination and Management of University Policies of the Ministry of Education.

The mission of the National Biodiversity Observatory (OBIO) (http://obio.ambiente.gob.ar/) is to strengthen the proactive role of the State in ensuring that citizens are provided with information on activities being undertaken in Argentina to manage biodiversity. The National Biodiversity Observatory provides a platform for gathering and disseminating such information.

In the last 10 years, the coverage of protected areas in Argentina has increased by 24% due to a budget increase of 700% (from 30 million to 220 million pesos) accorded to the National Parks Administration. Terrestrial protected areas currently comprise 10.66% of the national territory. In the last four years, new marine protected areas have been created which presently cover 1.18% of the Argentine Sea. “Pampa Azul” is a strategic research initiative launched in 2014 aimed at deepening scientific knowledge of the natural resources of the Argentine Sea, as a basis for their conservation and management.

Social awareness of the need to conserve and sustainably use genetic resources is increasing. Examples of advancements made in this area include the adoption by resolution in 2010 of a policy regulating access to genetic resources, which subsequently enabled the development and approval in 2013 of 4,475 procedures on the exportation and importation of genetic material derived from biodiversity. Argentina is a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol on ABS.

Among other rights, Article 75 (paragraph 17) of Argentina’s Constitution promulgates the rights of Indigenous Peoples to participate in the management of their natural resources. In this context, the Nagoya Protocol has been translated into the native languages of Qom, Mapuche, Wichi and Ava Guarani, ensuring access to this document by Indigenous Peoples. The National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI) is a decentralized body with indigenous participation, whose purpose is to ensure compliance with these constitutionally enshrined rights.

The Law on Ecological, Biological and Organic Production adopted in 1999 has enabled significant progress to be achieved in this area. Data collected from 1995 to 2013 indicates that organic production grew on average between 8% and 12% annually.

Over the past decade, a paradigm shift has occurred regarding biodiversity conservation. Today, conservation in Argentina is undertaken from the perspective of the Ecosystem Approach and sustainable use, so that conservation goes hand in hand with economic growth and inclusive development. A comprehensive Fair Trade Policy coordinated among different government agencies is promoted as a fundamental tool for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use with social inclusion.

The Law on Minimum Standards of Environmental Protection for Native Forests adopted in 2007 establishes rules for the sustainable management of native forests, and provides for financial incentives to the provinces in exchange for actions undertaken towards forest conservation and management.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

A system for monitoring and reviewing biodiversity is addressed in the revised NBSAP 2014-2020 which is currently being finalized.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme