Dutch non-state actor contributions to biodiversity. Preparing for the CBD action agenda for nature and people.
The report finds that Dutch non-state actors are increasingly involved in biodiversity initiatives, and that those initiatives are well aligned with the CBD strategic goals and the Aichi targets. The governance structures between the initiatives are diverse, but multi-stakeholder collaborations are common. Many of the non-state actor initiatives do (partly) depend on government support, for example through green subsidies and green deals. The analysis indicates that a large proportion of non-state actor initiatives aim to improve and restore biodiversity through area-based interventions. These interventions take place in nature areas, agricultural production systems, and urban areas. They take different forms, ranging from relatively large scale ‘creation of new nature’ to small-scale initiatives to recover insect and meadow bird populations. The report finds that non-state initiatives contribute to improvements in biodiversity at the local level, but their aggregated impact at national level is hard to establish due to monitoring weaknesses. In addition to directly contributing to biodiversity improvements, non-state initiatives catalyse awareness, innovative approaches, and participation and support from citizens and companies for nature conservation. These lead to the development of other initiatives, and they might help to enforce more ambitious nature policy responses at both the provincial and national level. A broader societal participation, or ‘whole of Dutch society approach’ needs to go hand in hand with a regulating and directing role of the government - state and provinces - to effectively manage nature, a public good. Coherent policies must be in place, for instance to motivate businesses and organizations managing land to integrate biodiversity conservation. Ideally, attempts to do so also need to be rewarded financially. The report indicates gaps and needs in the biodiversity initiatives. These are inherent to the initiatives, and/or in the enabling (policy) environment. The former include: the small-scale, lack of clear biodiversityThe post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework provides an opportunity to strengthen biodiversity governance. Despite efforts at international and national levels, biodiversity continues to decline, calling for an ambitious, widely supported 2030 action agenda for nature and people. It is broadly recognized, also by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat, that a ‘whole of society approach’ is required to bend the curve, with a strong involvement of non-state and sub-national actors (local and indigenous communities, companies, civil society, citizens, cities, regions). The Dutch government also acknowledges the importance of strengthening biodiversity governance in the Netherlands, in Europe and globally and commissioned IUCN NL to catalyse and compile a Dutch action agenda, as a contribution to the CBD 2030 global action agenda for nature and people. This report provides an overview and analysis of Dutch non-state actor biodiversity initiatives over the period 2010 – 2020, focusing on their relation and contribution to the CBD 2020 Aichi targets. The findings provide a basis for the 2030 Dutch action agenda, as many of those initiatives still continue beyond 2020. We identified 337 initiatives through stakeholder meetings and online queries using a set of biodiversity related search terms. The study addressed three research questions: 1. Which non-state biodiversity initiatives have been set up in the Netherlands between 2010 and 2020? 2. How do these initiatives contribute to achieving the Aichi biodiversity targets? 3. What are the gaps and needs to improve the Dutch contribution to achieving these biodiversity targets? targets which limits (steering on) biodiversity improvements, lack of a longer-term financing window which also limits the sustainability of the interventions, weaknesses in monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems, and insufficient coordination, exchange, showcase and learning mechanisms in place for non-state actor initiatives. Main needs and gaps in the enabling environment are: lack of incentives and rewards; lack of long-term subsidies (for initiatives that strongly depend on those); and incoherent (spatial) policies, both between provinces and between national, provincial and local governments. In order to establish an effective global action agenda with strong participation of non-state actors, it is important that the CBD (parties) put supportive mechanisms in place. It is recommended that the EU takes the lead in this respect, as expressed in the EC 2030 biodiversity strategy. Measures could include strengthening the position of non-state actors in the CBD negotiation and decision-making process, providing enabling policies that support implementation (of non-state actor pledges), fostering innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships, and providing a platform to showcase non-state actor and sub-national biodiversity actions, and to establish an accountability mechanism. Such a platform is now being developed by UNEP-WCMC. To stimulate a Dutch ‘whole society approach’, contributions of non-state actors need to be made more visible, better acknowledged, better rewarded and supported by government and society at large. The Dutch biodiversity action agenda currently being compiled by IUCN NL and other partners (e.g. MVO Nederland) with support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), could help in achieving this. Clarity on the added value of making a biodiversity commitment as contribution to the action agenda, could help to tempt organisations to submit a pledge and strengthen the agenda. Further systematic mapping and analysis of Dutch non-state actor initiatives will be necessary to assess for instance the complementary roles and added value of non-state actor initiatives vis a vis state efforts, the concrete impacts of the initiatives and hence also in analyzing where more efforts will be needed. It is recommended to develop and apply a consistent ‘minimum level’ monitoring and reporting system for nonstate actor initiatives, compatible with the CBD reporting system. Linking the Dutch action agenda to the UNEP –WCMC platform that is now under development can ensure this compatibility and could also facilitate international exposure, learning and exchange, and provide guidance for implementation and monitoring.