Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society
Target 2 - By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems.
It is widely recognized that the values of biodiversity are not widely reflected in decision-making. The objective of this target is to ensure that the diverse values of biodiversity and opportunities derived from its conservation and sustainable use are recognized and reflected in all relevant public and private decision-making. For example, though numerous studies, at various scales, have illustrated the economic value of biodiversity and the ecosystem services it underpins, 4
many Parties report that the absence of economic valuations of biodiversity is an obstacle to its conservation and sustainable use. Including the values of biodiversity in national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and into nation accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems, places biodiversity into the same decision framework as other goods and services, and would help give it greater visibility amongst policy-makers and contribute to the “mainstreaming” of biodiversity issues in decision-making processes. Reflecting the values of biodiversity in the planning processes of governments at all levels, including economic, financial, spatial planning, and the application of strategic environmental assessment, will help internalize the costs and benefits of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in decision-making. Implementation:
Integrating the values of biodiversity into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes as well as into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems will require Parties to appropriately value biodiversity and increase coordination among government ministries and levels of government. Given different national circumstances, this integration may require capacity building as well as developing flexible approaches. Efforts to improve the valuation of biodiversity should include tools and methods that recognize social and cultural values, in addition to economic values, and should be conducted in ways that encourage the sustainable use of biodiversity at all levels. Tools to assess the values of biodiversity are now being made more widely available, including the Convention’s work on economic, trade and incentive measures, as well as through the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, and the UN System of Economic and Environmental Accounting (SEEA). The World Bank’s experience in integrating natural capital (e.g., forests) into national accounts could be further developed and built upon to incorporate the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Tools are also available for integrating biodiversity into spatial planning exercises through the mapping of biodiversity ecosystem services and through systematic conservation planning.6
Strategic environmental assessment and similar tools provide useful methodologies to assess impacts on biodiversity and allow for the assessment of trade-offs in decision-making. Payment for ecosystem services mechanisms and the development of private sector guidelines for the appropriate reflection of the values of biodiversity are additional implementation mechanisms which could be used to meet this target. Depending on national circumstances, such processes could be undertaken in a step wise or incremental manner by first including those values of biodiversity which are easiest to account for and then further developing or enhancing systems for integrating biodiversity values into decision making processes. Indicators and baseline information:
Possible indicators for this target include: the number of countries with biophysical inventories of biodiversity and ecosystem services; the number of countries with national accounts reflecting the state of biodiversity and ecosystem services and, if appropriate, stocks and flows of natural capital; the number of countries with poverty reduction strategies and national development plans which incorporate biodiversity; and the number of companies (or their market share) with policies for biodiversity-friendly practices.7
Baseline information for 2010 could be obtained through desk studies, from the TEEB study, from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and business and biodiversity initiatives.
Possible milestones for this target include:
- By 2012, work on biophysical inventories of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services is initiated and, by 2014, a work programme for reflecting biodiversity and ecosystem values in national accounts is developed;
- By 2014, the opportunities derived from the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources, are integrated into Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and other national development plans, and are routinely included in environmental impact assessment, strategic environmental assessment and spatial planning;
- By 2018, the most important aspects of biodiversity and ecosystem services are reflected in national statistics.
Dasgupta, P (2010). Nature's role in sustaining economic development. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 365(1537), 5-11. 5
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Project (http://www.teebweb.org/) 6
Tools available to assist biodiversity integration into spatial planning include the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (https://www.ibatforbusiness.org/) 7
This would include such things as having policies to improve sustainability; having a biodiversity policy; having a policy of no net negative, or net positive, impact on biodiversity; or undertaking corporate environmental or ecosystem valuation