Key findings from Biodiversity policy assessments and scenario studies
a) New strategies are needed to significantly reduce biodiversity loss
The 2010 target of the Convention on Biological Diversity to significantly reduce biodiversity loss, worldwide, has not been achieved. Halting biodiversity loss altogether is hardly possible, in view of the growing global population and developing prosperity in large parts of the world. It has become clear that the mere protection of valuable nature areas, although still necessary, will not be sufficient for reducing further biodiversity loss. To strongly reduce the rate of global biodiversity loss in the coming decades, structural changes in consumption and production are needed.
b) Structural changes in consumption and production could significantly reduce biodiversity loss
To strongly reduce the rate of global biodiversity loss in the coming decades, structural changes in consumption and production are needed. A reduction in meat consumption would be of great benefit. In addition, changes are needed especially in agriculture, forestry, fishery and in the supply of energy.
c) New strategies to reduce biodiversity loss also carry disadvantages
To strongly reduce the rate of global biodiversity loss in the coming decades, structural changes in consumption and production are needed. A reduction in meat consumption would be of great benefit. In addition, changes are needed especially in agriculture, forestry, fishery and in the supply of energy. However, those may have negative consequences.
d) Look beyond the frontiers
PBL advocates looking beyond three traditional frontiers of biodiversity stocktaking:
- looking beyond national borders, to include the impacts from domestic consumption and economic activities on biodiversity abroad;
- looking beyond biodiversity policies by integrating them into economic sectors, spatial planning, transport and urban development;
- looking beyond the impacts of development and economic growth and enhancing the positive outcomes of biodiversity policies for distributing wealth and reducing poverty.
e) Biodiversity loss is unevenly spread around the world
Biodiversity loss occurs all over the World, particularly in the tropics. Over the past decade, efforts to slow down this loss have not been successful and we have to think about other strategies to bring it to a halt.
f) Trade brings responsibility for biodiversity conservation abroad
Spatial claims related to national consumption and economic activity cause biodiversity loss beyond national borders. Four instruments for reducing biodiversity loss abroad are the certification of trade chains, implementation of measures to ban illegal trade, eco-regional investments to combine biodiversity conservation with local economic development, and compensating for biodiversity loss.
g) Certification of sustainable production is effictive, but has a limit
Sustainable agricultural production is capable of reducing the loss of biodiversity to a certain limit. Non-sustainable fishery systems still put a high pressure on marine biodiversity. Sustainable forestry systems work in temperate zones, but lag behind in the tropics. Certification of international trade shows divergent results.
h) Spatial planning demands looking across policy boundaries
Biodiversity loss cannot be stopped if biodiversity policies are implemented in isolation from other policies, such as those on the economy, urban and infrastructure developments, and climate change. To incorporate biodiversity conservation into these policy fields, attention needs to be paid to an appropriate use of policy tools of spatial planning and land-use planning. Besides the traditional set-aside policy for protected areas, four strategies for biodiversity-friendly planning can be identified:
- connecting biodiversity in ecological networks,
- exploiting opportunities for combining biodiversity conservation with new urban developments,
- integrating biodiversity conservation into multifunctional rural development, and
- developing ‘new nature’.
h) Biodiversity policies to combat poverty
Conservation of biodiversity requires poverty reduction in developing countries. Combining poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation is possible, but local successes cause negative impact elsewhere. Agricultural export does not always lead to poverty reduction. In the designing of strategies to link economic development and biodiversity conservation, it is useful to distinguish between three poverty–biodiversity mechanisms.
i) Policy implications: what countries can do
In view of the post-2010 target, and especially the planning, monitoring and evaluation process, we need a better understanding of how biodiversity relates to economic and social development, backed by quantitative data. Strategies for halting the loss of biodiversity must encompass three important linkages: the development of sustainable production, trade and consumption chains; integrating biodiversity into land-use planning for multifunctional and multi-stakeholder landscapes; and biodiversity-inclusive poverty strategies.
Science article: Continuing Biodiversity Loss Predicted, but could be Slowed