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E-Forum on the Post 2010 Strategic Plan of the CBD: An Invitation to Contribute to the Updating and Revision of the Strategic Plan of the Convention

Question 1
What are the strengths and weaknesses (including gaps and inconsistencies, if relevant) of the existing Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity?
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Strengths: The Strategic Plan addresses many of the issues needed to enable Parties to effectively implement the Convention and therefore to make the Convention a forceful instrument.

Weaknesses: There is no mechanism to implement all aspects of the Strategic Plan and limited support to enable countries to fulfill their obligations and aspirations.

Gaps: Given the limited power and lack of mandate of the CBD to influence decisions regarding the underlying causes of biodiversity loss (demographic, economic, socio-political, scientific and technical, cultural and religious) and the fragmented decision-making both at national and global level, the Strategic Plan should more clearly identify ways to ensure that "the voice of biodiversity" is heard in all fields and sectors.

Inconsistencies: The Strategic Plan includes elements that are purely UN interagency issues (e.g. objectives 1.1, 1.2, 1.3), others focus on intergovernmental cooperation (e.g. objective 1.6), bilateral and multilateral development cooperation (e.g. objectvies 2.2, 2.3, 2.5), while yet others are purly domestic concerns. This makes it difficult for anyone to take ownership for a coherent implementation of the entire Plan as well as monitoring of progress. One would need a clear Action Plan to go with the Strategic Plan and this need not be a plan with new actions but perhaps an exercise of mapping how activies of the Secretariat and the UN at large, institutions of development cooperation (both bilateral and multilateral) and implementation of existing programmes of work and cross-cutting issues relate to the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan.

submitted by Anonymous
In my opinion, the SP is appropriate. The SP is not an action plan, it is, indeed, a strategic framework. The MYPOW is then ellaborated under this framework. Criticism of the SP seems more like criticism of the Convention itself, why has it not worked as successfully as we all would have hoped. As stated in the example below, there is no effective mechanism for implementation, including adequate flow of financial resources to developing countries.
submitted by vlichtsc@ambiente.gov.ar
The importance of biodiversity conservation and a healthy environment to the livelihoods of the poor is widely recognized. Many poor people are directly dependent on the various goods and services that ecosystems provide, benefit from using or marketing wild products for food, fuel ,medicines,and shelter and derive important cultural and religious values from various elements of biodiversity.

Recognising these linkages, in April 2002, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Biodiversity (CBD) committed themselves to ‘achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth’. This target was subsequently endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development and has been incorporated as a new target under the Millennium Development Goals.

These linkages are recognized in the existing strategic plan (“Biodiversity - the variability within and among living organisms and the systems they inhabit - is the foundation upon which human civilization has been built. In addition to its intrinsic value, biodiversity provides goods and services that underpin sustainable development in many important ways, thus contributing to poverty alleviation”).

Recognition of these linkages is a significant strength of the existing Strategic Plan

The submission was made on behalf of SGLCP (Steering Group on Linking Conservation and Poverty), endorsed by the following individuals who are members of the group: Barney Dickson, David Thomas, Dilys Roe, Mochamad Indrawan,Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Phil Franks, Robin Sharp, Bettina Hedden-Dunkhorst

submitted by Anonymous
Conservation and international aid programs
One of the greatest problems in nature conservation is the shortage of field staff in protected areas and indigenous reserves in developing countries. Bilateral (Germany, Netherlands, USA, European Union) and multilateral (World Bank, IDB, and UNDP) agencies have programmes that finance projects related to biodiversity conservation as long as they contribute to poverty alleviation.

Over the past few decades, particularly the wealthy nations put a lot of pressure on the developing countries to protect about 10% of their territories as nature reserves and national parks. During the World Parks Congress in 2003 - a 10 yearly worldwide event - it was announced, that that target had been met. However, the wealthy countries never analyzed the consequences of this target, the need for a permanent increase of field staff and budgets. In many countries, the protected areas also are home to indigenous people and the absence of rangers threatens their cultural survival.

Current protected areas staffing needs worldwide
To get an impression of the worldwide financing and staffing needs of the protected areas of developing and transition countries, in 2003, and presented at the Vth World Parks Congress, the World Institute for Conservation and Environment, WICE, assisted by Conservation International, carried out a study that would shine some light on those needs, using a financial analysis programme, MICOSYS, based on more than a decade of experience in protected areas financing worldwide. MICOSYS, (Minimum Conservation System) is a computer-based model that uses about 50 cost factors like different staff functions with related salaries, vehicles with their operational costs, infrastructure, like visitor centers, ranger stations, etc. training, marketing, monitoring, etc.

The seizes of the areas of all the developing and transition countries east of the Ural larger than 30 km2 of the World protected Areas Database of the UNEP were entered into the model. It showed that the worldwide staffing need is about 175,000, of which 140,000 rangers and 35,000 professional and administrative staff. Since half of the protected areas in those countries lack any staff at all, and the other half is at least 50% short, we estimate that the shortage of rangers is about 105,000 and of other staff about 27,000.

No conservation organization or bi- or multilateral development agency in the world systematically addresses this issue, and it has been strategically ignored by the CBD. In fact, this problem has enjoyed very little attention in the conservation community as a whole. As a result, effective conservation in the developing countries has NOT been making significant progress since about the mid 1990s. Lots of projects financed by multi- and bilateral donors primarily focusing on poverty alleviation. However, without increasing the numbers of fieldstaff and budgets of the national protected areas agencies in developing countries that have to manage the vast majority of the protected areas in the world, no substantial progress in effective management of protected areas can be expected to be made.
In Latin America only 2 countries have had an increase in staffing since the late 90s: Argentina and Mexico. Colombia has claimed to have had an increase, but that appears to be the result of a different accounting method. So How can the CDB expect to make any advancement in BD conservation if it does not strategically approach the need for increase in field staff.

Many people claim that co-management and similar formats could solve the problem. However, there is no way, in which private initiative and lower governments can ever produce enough positions to fill the enormous deficit of field staff, or the ranger deficit.

Relationship to climate change
In absence of sufficient field staff, the majority of protected areas will be eventually be converted into agricultural land, and the living carbon of the wood, leaves and roots they are supposed to protect, will be released into the air as CO2. Hence climate change and nature conservation are closely related. Unfortunately, thus far, the climate change lobby has not done much good to the conservation of the 10% of the lands currently legally protected in the third world that not only protec the word's largest stocks of live carbon locked up in the trunks and roots of the word's forests, but also about 70% of the species of the world. So protecting existing natural forests, helps both combat climate change and prevent a worldwide loss of species.

Using the MICOSYS programme, WICE had calculated that in the case of Brazil, it costs about $5 to permanently prevent the release of a ton of CO2 from burning/decaying of a 10,000 ha tropical forest after it has been cut down. This is about the same cost as planting and temporarily protecting a forest for the duration of merely 20 - 30 years. In countries with lower salary levels, like in Peru, this would be cheaper. Moreover, land management costs of protected areas don't increase by the size of the area per se, but rather by the length of the perimeter. As a result, large areas of more than 100,000 or 1,000,000 ha have a much lower cost per ton of carbon dioxide emission avoidance than one with the dimension of the afore-mentioned calculation model, with costs under US$0.25 per cubic ton in very areas larger than 1,000,000 ha.

The additional benefit is that protecting an existing forest in the tropics also protects thousands of species. If carbon offset finances could be used to pay for the carbon dioxide emission avoidance resulting from protecting natural forests in protected areas through adequate staffing and management, many more protected areas in the world could be durably protect both the living carbon stands and the biodiversity in those areas.

The incorporation of Adopt A Ranger
For more than a decade, the WICE has tried to draw the attention to this problem from the bilateral and multilateral agencies, unfortunately, with very little success. In Kuala Lumpur, WICE has distributed the study on the ranger deficit, but very few participants had shown an interest.

In order to address this problem, WICE has incorporated an independent NGO with the objective to address this problem in a very focused fashion:

1. the Adopt A Ranger Foundation. the Adopt A Ranger, Inc. in the USA and
2. the Adopt A Ranger Stichting in the Netherlands to facilitate donation tax deduction in the Americas and in Europe.

Adopt A Ranger has as its mission to support the conservation of nature worldwide, particularly by:

* financing the salaries and operational costs of "national park rangers" and comparable officials whose task it is to protect natural areas and to serve the stakeholder public of the protected area to which they be assigned; and
* promoting public interest in the conservation of protected areas in developing countries.
You can find it at http://www.adopt-a-ranger.org

As Adopt A Ranger works with local NGOs, it promotes co-management practices between the private and governmental conservation sectors. Rangers will be working in a highly integrated fashion as their tasks may include visitor interpretation, environmental education, assisting local communities and stakeholders in generating sustainable incomes, monitoring, etc.

Adopt A Ranger is aware that it can never solve the problem of staff shortage by fundraising alone. The name has been chosen as a marketing instrument, but it can custom address the conservation problems of individual countries, as problems needs to be solved to the specific needs of each individual country.

Long-term and cooperate approach
By trying to work with a project in as many countries as possible, AAR hopes to help the recipient governments and protected areas agencies to develop strategies and reporting systems that would gradually lead to expanding the government budgets and staff for the protected areas of each country. Through such strategies, countries would not be confronted by an immediate dramatic need for expanding its budget for conservation. AAR intends to help protected areas agencies to expand their budgets and staffing through very gradual processes of growth. By offering both some staffing help and budgeting know how, AAR hopes to contribute to gradually solve the worldwide problem of staffing shortage. It targets to solve the word's protected areas field staff shortage in the course of the next 40 to 50 years.

An additional strategic action of AAR will be to work with a group of high-profile conservationist and the IMF to search for solutions on how the impact of the IMF structural adjustment policies for developing countries may be released on protected areas management agencies, so that they can gradually increase their fieldstaff and budgets.

Unless the CBD addresses this problem, there really is no hope that the convention will make any progress at all. I have been a high level budget managing administrator at the Ministry of Transportation and Water in the Netherlands, with anual budgets of €300,000,000 equivalents in the mid 80s. Unlike most people that either deal with BD conservation or foreign policy making, I have serious budget experience in a very well-organized ministry in a developed country. I hope this advise reaches some people in the convention that have and understanding of how governence depends on the availability of staff and budget. If it seriously interests you, go to http://www.adopt-a-ranger.org and read more about it. From there you can also send me an email.
With warm regards,
Daan Vreugdenhil

Dr. Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil

submitted by Daan Vreugdenhil
While most of the CBD Articles have been adequately addressed in previous COP meetings, the Secretariat, in its Multi-Year Programme of Work Beyond 2010, has specifically stated that Article 8(f) may warrant greater attention in the future and should be considered for inclusion in the Multi-Year Programme. An expert workshop facilitated by international experts on ecosystem restoration would, among other things, deliver a much-needed synthesis/analysis of the issues related to Article 8(f) that the Secretariat could then utilize in the process of revising and updating the Strategic Plan (Decision VIII/15 (2)). As such, this expert workshop would serve an important role in the inter-sessional process and, in particular, provide documentation and draft recommendations for the SBSTTA-14 and WGRI-3 meetings in May-June 2010.
submitted by Sasha Alexander
Although the objective of sectoral cooperation seems to be beyond challenge, it remains unattained to a large extent. Separate international procedures often have token attendance from other relevant instruments and other sectors. The CBD is often considered to be the province of the "environment ministries", and expected to take the strongest possible pro-environment position. By others, it is thought to be in competition with other sectors.
The Strategic Plan notes a lack of cooperation, however, the measures to promote sectoral cooperation have sometimes been relatively uni-directional (sending notices to other focal points and ministries) and token (inviting one person from each affected ministry to workshops and discussions). True intersectoral approaches and decision-making are relatively rare.
Even within the Convention, the division into various thematic and "cross-cutting" issues has created biodiversity "ghettos" of experts and negotitators who have had little opportunity to integrate with other thematic and cross-cutting processes, which are primarily addressed by mention in preambular paragraphs which note the need to coordinate with other CBD activities.
It seems essential to focus on enhancing its multi-sectorality and encouraging cooperation among all sectors. Like the CBD, many other sectoral instruments are not able to fully fund action under their strategic plans. At national level, a similar challenge is faced by environment and natural resources ministries and agencies. Competition for funds for sectoral action is ultimately less productive than cooperation and intersectoral projects that are truly supported across a range of affected ministries.
submitted by Anonymous
Biodiversity loss continues to take place ultimately because its public good value is not fully integrated into decision-making by governments or communities, nor is it captured by markets. This translates into uninformed exploitation and a lack of political will to effectively conserve and regulate the use of biodiversity resources. Linking biodiversity to social and economic development remains an elusive goal of the CBD and the wider conservation community. If this situation is to be rectified then the foundation role of natural ecosystems for human wellbeing – covering a range of supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural values - needs to be explicitly recognized in the future work of the Convention. By recognizing and communicating the role of biodiversity in delivering ecosystem services the Convention can offer a natural bridge between the environmental and development sectors. In the coming years the Convention needs to ensure that biodiversity and the services that flow from it are appropriately recognized, valued and that the costs of not conserving them are well understood by all sectors of government, as already called for in a number of CBD Programmes of Work.

Following the Heiligendamm Summit in June 2008 the G8+5 leaders agreed that: “In a global study we will initiate the process of analyzing the global economic benefit of biological diversity, the costs of the loss of biodiversity and the failure to take protective measures versus the costs of effective conservation.”. The first interim report, called TEEB has been presented during the CBD COP 9 meeting held in Bonn and the complete study is scheduled for release in mid-2009. There are also many other existing studies which highlight the economic and other benefits of biodiversity to human wellbeing. The post-2010 Strategic Plan should activities for following up to the TEEB and other studies including dissemination and packaging for specific audiences to promote mainstreaming.

(This submission reflects the shared views of BirdLife International, Conservation International, IUCN – World Commission on Protected Areas, IUCN Countdown 2010, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund for Nature, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.)

submitted by Anonymous

The 2010 target is short and easy to understand and begins to make the link with human well-being. This likely contributed to its widespread acceptance and its effectiveness in mobilizing interest and action on biodiversity.

The current plan focuses on process. This has also encouraged increased cooperation and collaboration on biodiversity issues within and between countries and has raised the profile of biodiversity internationally. It has also contributed to the process of mainstreaming biodiversity.

In Canada, the Strategic Plan has influenced the development of, and is consistent with, the federal/provincial/territorial Biodiversity Outcomes Framework by the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers, the development of the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report, several sub-national biodiversity strategies, and improved cooperation and collaboration amongst resource departments of all levels of government -- all of which have moved the biodiversity agenda forward.

The broad sub-goals and indicators associated with measuring progress towards the 2010 target remain relevant and set the context for Parties to develop their own goals, targets and indicators that are meaningful in the national and sub-national context.


Although the target itself has been a successful agent of mobilizing action and activity the link to human-well being is generally lost. A new target needs to be short and linked to the broader concept of human well-being with a strengthened focus on maintenance of the full range of ecosystem services and the protection of human health, well-being and quality of life both now and to ensure options for future generations.

There is a weakness in the current plan in the area of partnerships. There is a need to expand collaboration and partnerships, with international institutions, sectors, disciplines and organizations that make the decisions that affect biodiversity and human well-being. To do this CBD has to encourage participation in the activities of other organizations that promote human well-being. Asking other sectors to participate in biodiversity activities is one approach, but a more powerful approach is to also engage with other exercises to ensure that biodiversity protection and enhancement is part of their strategic goals.

Although there is a link between the Strategic Plan, and the framework for measuring progress and the Programs of Work, the flow and connection between these documents, including the process-focussed goals of the Strategic Plan and the action-oriented sub-goals of the framework, is not explicit or clear. The Strategic Plan should provide the guidance for the implementation of the 3 objectives of the Convention and should clearly illustrate the flow and linkages from the strategic goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan to the more specific action plans and programs of work to monitoring, evaluation and reporting. They should form a hierarchy.

Since the Strategic Plan was adopted, there have been several assessments that help identify gaps that need to be considered. Canada agrees with the gaps identified as needing priority attention in Review of Goals 2 and 3 (UNEP/CBD/COP/9/4/Annex 2/1): mainstreaming biodiversity; incorporation of ecosystem approach; costs of biodiversity lost; engagement of indigenous and local communities; and inclusion of all relevant sectors and stakeholders. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) also helps identify gaps and provides a framework that needs to be considered.

Progress on the goals and objectives related to Article 8j (Goal 9) and Access and Benefit Sharing (Goal 10) has been challenging. There is a gap in terms of measurable objectives that are focused on conservation and on the use of traditional knowledge to achieve the conservation and sustainable use objectives of the Convention. More serious work has to be done in revising goal 9 and developing a small set of accompanying measurable indicators that build on the work of the Ad Hoc Expert Technical Working Group on 8j. Goal 10 and its accompanying indicators also need reconsideration so that they directly relate to the achievement of a regime for Access and Benefit Sharing and ratifying and implementing that regime.

submitted by Canada NFP
The strategy is insufficiently specific about how nations should develop biodiversity conservation plans and evaluate their performance in biodiversity conservation. Additional guidance would help nations develop similar strategies that can lead to a global evaluator, and global standard.
submitted by Mike Parr
Weakness: Question 8 of this consultation suggests that the updated and revised Strategic Plan needs to be marketed to a wide range of stakeholders, especially those that have an impact on biodiversity or benefit (perhaps unknowingly?) from its ecosystem services. It is a worthy proposition to reach out beyond the converted, but for that purpose the current Strategic Plan would need to be expanded significantly to provide much more detail on content and processes. It is very hard for CBD novices to find their way in the labyrinth of COP decisions, meeting reports and technical papers… The revised Strategic Plan should address that shortcoming. I fully appreciate the need for a Strategic Plan to be concise, but for marketing purposes, the Strategic Plan should provide sufficient detail to be self-explanatory, explain the modus operandi of the convention, describe the priority actions identified to achieve goals and objectives, go into some detail with regard to thematic programmes, and propose how stakeholders can get engaged. With regard to the latter point, the Strategic plan should also provide a more detailed account of the drivers of biodiversity loss and the ethical challenges to address these by changes in consumption and lifestyle in developed countries. There are probably other aspects that the Strategic Plan would need to address in order to allow outsiders understand what the CBD is all about.
submitted by Michael Hermann
Exposé clair et cohérent des points importants qui doivent être pris en considération pour mettre en œuvre la Convention. En particulier il prend en compte l’ensemble de la problématique de la conservation et l’utilisation durable de la diversité biologique, y compris dans ses aspects sociaux, économiques et culturels.
Les priorités ne sont pas dégagées. Il est certes difficile d’établir une liste puisqu’elles dépendent beaucoup des situations régionales et locales (par exemple, un pays sans frontière maritime ne peut avoir les mêmes priorités qu’un Etat insulaire ou un pays couvert de forêts vis-à-vis d’un pays désertique)
Il n’y a pas de mécanismes clairs de mise en œuvre et de suivi du programme.
Il mélange des actions qui relèvent d’actions intergouvernementales (y compris celles nécessitant une mise en œuvre par les organismes et agences des Nations-Unies), des orientations liées aux politiques bilatérales ou multilatérales d’aide à la coopération et des actions purement nationales.
Il n’insiste pas suffisamment sur la nécessité de prise en compte de ce plan dans les programmes de coopération entre les pays développés et les pays en développement.
En fait chaque pays établit ses programmes de façon indépendante sans aucune référence (même implicite) au plan stratégique. Ceci est souvent du au fait que les agences chargées de la coopération sont différentes de celles chargées de la mise en œuvre de la CBD et de son plan stratégique
Insuffisance (voir absence) de connaissance du plan stratégique par l’ensemble des hommes et femmes politiques (y compris les élus), des fonctionnaires, organisations non-gouvernementales et entreprises qui sont en charge ou interviennent sur la définition des politiques générales.
Une des grandes faiblesses de ce plan est son extrême insuffisance de diffusion. Une des raisons est évidemment la diffusion en seulement 6 langues, ce qui interdit à un grand nombre de personnes d’avoir la possibilité de le lire.
Il est la plupart du temps connu que des seuls ministères de l’environnement (voir même d’une partie seulement de ce ministère) ou quelquefois des affaires étrangères.
Un exemple caractéristique est le « Grenelle de l’environnement » qui s’est déroulé en France où associations, politiques, syndicats, entreprises et politiques ont élaboré une stratégie de protection de l’environnement sans qu’à aucun moment le plan stratégique n’ait été évoqué et que la grande majorité (voir la totalité) des participants ignore qu’il existe.

Il n’y a pas d’évaluation des besoins nécessaires pour la mise en œuvre (coût financier, y compris en personnels)
Il manque, corrélativement, de moyens d’évaluation et d’évaluation (y compris chiffrée) sur les bénéfices qui résulteraient de sa mise en œuvre.
Certains chapitres sont dépendants de décisions de la Conférence des Parties qui n’ont pas été prises, le plus important étant l’accès et le partage résultant de l’utilisation des ressources génétiques (ABS).
Ce plan est trop dépendant de décisions hors de la compétence de la CBD (FEM/GEF en particulier)

submitted by Jean-Patrick LE DUC
Threats to biodiversity resulting from human activity include habitat loss, fragmentation or change, especially due to agriculture; overexploitation of species, especially due to fishing; pollution; the spread of invasive species or genes; and climate change.
All of these threats stem ultimately from human demands on the biosphere – the production and consumption of natural resources for food and drink, energy or materials, and the disposal of associated waste products – or the displacement of natural ecosystems by towns, cities and infrastructure. All of these direct threats or pressures are the effect, in turn, of more distant, indirect drivers of biodiversity loss which relate to the consumption of resources and pollution arising from their waste products. The ultimate drivers of threats to biodiversity are the human demands for food, water, energy and materials. These can be considered, sector by sector, in terms of the production and consumption of agricultural crops, meat and dairy products, fish and seafood, timber and paper, water, energy, transport, and land for towns, cities and infrastructure. As the human population and global economy grow, so do the pressures on biodiversity.

Management of natural resources to protect biodiversity can be looked at in two ways: The first is management of specific areas to maintain or restore biodiversity—hot spots, migration corridors, etc. The second is to ensure that humanity’s use of natural resources is not overshooting the Earth’s ecological capacity—that ecological resources (e.g., forests, fisheries) are not being harvested faster than they can regenerate, and that geological resources are not being introduced into the biosphere faster than they can be sequestered..
To halt biodiversity loss, the Strategic Plan must pay attention to both types of management, but in particular it needs to put more emphasis on the drivers of biodiversity loss, and on developing the pressure indicators that can be used to track these drivers, to set goals for reducing pressure, and to monitor progress toward achieving these goals. In addition, research is needed to better understand the relationships between particular drivers and particular aspects of biodiversity loss.

The Ecological Footprint, a pressure metric already in use by the CBD, measures the aggregate demand that human activities, through consumption of resources and emission of wastes, place on ecosystems and species. A better understanding of the linkages and interactions between the Ecological Footprint and biodiversity loss is therefore fundamental to slowing, halting and reversing the ongoing declines in these ecosystems and in populations of wild species.

submitted by Steven Goldfinger
Strengths: short text and simple language, stands for important cause
Weaknesses/gaps/inconsistencies: it is rather descriptive than strategic, lack of clarity and focus, covers everything and nothing,no clear line, thin argumentation, review section not clear, obstacle list not helful as stand-alone/should be linked to action to be taken.
submitted by Anonymous

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme