The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international treaty that was initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is ratified or accepted by 196 parties that are mostly countries. The Netherlands, but also the European Union are parties of the CBD. The CBD entered into force on 29 December 1993 and has 3 main objectives:
1. The conservation of biological diversity.
2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity.
3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, was agreed at the tenth meeting of the CBD Conference of Parties (COP10) in Nagoya, Japan in 2010. The Strategic Plan includes five interdependent Strategic Goals and a set of 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, most with an end-point of 2020. The strategic plan ultimately aimed at achieving a 2050 vision of a world where biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.
The sixth national report is used by the Conference of the Parties to assess the status of implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It will provide information for a global biodiversity outlook of progress towards the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The sixth national report guidelines request Parties to report on 1. national targets, 2. main measures, and 3. effectivity of these measures and 4. progress to achieve national targets and 5. progress to achieve the Aichi-Biodiversity targets.
There has been significant and reasonable progress towards meeting the national targets. However, the 2020 deadline will not be reached. The path to sustainability and reaching the targets is long. The main measures are considered partly effective. The National Ecological Network, being the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation in the Netherlands is for instance still in progress until 2027, while environmental impacts, especially from agriculture are still a major concern.
Nevertheless, there has been significant progress towards meeting several components of the majority of Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Some target components, such as conserving at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas, have been met. However, in most cases this progress is insufficient to fully achieve the 2020 targets.
The Kingdom of The Netherlands also includes six islands within the Caribbean Islands Biodiversity Hotspot, with among others tropical rainforests, coral reefs and hundreds of endemic and threatened species. The islands ecosystems are fragile. Most habitats are small as are the species populations that depend on it, while the threats are high. Most Aichi targets are not on track due to local threats from a.o. free roaming grazing livestock, pollution, invasive species and overfishing. It makes the islands ecosystems less resilient to the major threat of climate change. The island economies are very much dependent on ecosystem services, like for the tourism and fishery sectors. Despite that, the actions to deal with these local threats (if any) are generally insufficient. This is illustrated by the fact that the development on five of the Aichi-targets shows a worsening trend, while no significant change can be observed for 50% of the targets at some of these islands.
National targets and main measures
In 2011 the EC adopted a strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. The Netherlands has committed itself to nature objectives from the European biodiversity strategy and consequently the Convention on Biological Diversity. The national targets are therefore based on the European targets and related to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (appendix 2). The 6 main targets of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe are:
- By 2020, the assessments of species and habitats protected by EU nature law show better conservation or a secure status for 100 % more habitats and 50 % more species.
- By 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15 % of degraded ecosystems
- By 2020, the conservation of species and habitats depending on or affected by agriculture and forestry, and the provision of their ecosystem services show measurable improvements
- By 2015, fishing is sustainable. By 2020, fish stocks are healthy and European seas healthier. Fishing has no significant adverse impacts on species and ecosystems
- By 2020, invasive alien species are identified, priority species controlled or eradicated, and pathways managed to prevent new invasive species from disrupting European biodiversity.
- By 2020, the EU has stepped up its contribution to avert global biodiversity loss.
The 6 main measures of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe are:
- Create new habitat within the National Ecological Network (NEN) aiming for the development of
unfragmented viable species populations
- The Nature Conservation Act, an important instrument to protect species and habitats
- Subsidy for nature management measures important to maintain biodiversity
- Programmatic Approach to Nitrogen (PAN)
- Stimulating sustainable use of natural capital and mainstreaming nature for the benefit of
society and the economy
- Utilising the self-organising ability of society by stimulating, facilitating and financially support
In the last seven years the Dutch government decentralised responsibilities of realization and management of nature to the provinces. In 2013 ambitions towards 2027 were agreed upon in the so called Nature Pact between the national government and the provinces, including extension of the NEN, management of nature and environmental conditions, improving the system of nature management by farmers and more cross-sectoral strategies to integrate nature management with other spatial functions.
Main measures and there effectivity
The above six main measures are taken to achieve the six national targets. However, they are not directly related to one target but contribute to the achievement of several targets (appendix 2). A contribution to several targets at the same time is in theory contributing to the success of a measure. However, these interactions between measures and targets together with complex causal relations in ecology, made it difficult to assess whether measures taken have been effective. The results below show however that progress has been made and the measure is contributing to several targets. The targets however, are not met in 2020. The tools or means (indicators and monitoring) for assessing progress of national targets is described in appendix 3. The obstacles and scientific and technical needs related to the measure taken are described in appendix 4. Based on the results and indicators described below, the complex relations, the progress towards the targets and based on our expert knowledge, we conclude that the measures taken have been partially effective (table 1).