2.7 Examples of Best Practice
The responses to the survey included many details of approaches which had been adopted or were under development at the national level to follow up the Convention. So as to draw out some examples of "best practice", the responses provided by Finland and the Netherlands, in particular, might act as the basis of recommendations for optimal follow-up procedures, at earlier and later stages in the process respectively. These examples are summarised here, but this does not imply that "best practice" is not also being followed in other Member Countries.
Finland noted that its strategy was to enhance cooperation and understanding among Ministries, relevant agencies, research institutions and organisations, and involved obtaining a commitment at the personal level from the various Ministries. The goals of the Finnish strategy are to:
- Ensure the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biological resources, including ecosystems, species and their habitats, and genetic resources;
- Increase opportunities for different stakeholders to participate in the development and implementation of policies and programs relating to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biological resources;
- Develop and improve public education and awareness to promote the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biological resources.
A biodiversity adviser now sits on every official government committee in Finland, with the objective of furthering these goals. In general, the coordination committees appear to work most effectively when the representation is at an intermediate level and the parties see benefit in compromise solutions.
Having established this set of goals and level of involvement in government processes, Finland is now completing its national strategy and national action plan through a national biodiversity committee, which will also guide the production of sectoral plans. Existing biodiversity monitoring programmes will be strengthened through a new working group, and comparison of status and trends with adverse impacts is also planned. Much of Finlands (and many other Member Countries) in situ conservation programme is based on its response to EU Directives, especially the Habitats Directive. Socio-economic incentives towards conservation and sustainable use are directed towards management of nature in commercial forests. On Environmental Impact Assessment, the Finnish Act of 1994 covers 18 project categories potentially affecting nature conservation, natural resources and ecosystems. Finland is a party (and host) to the Espoo Convention on EIA in a Transboundary Context, Helsinki Convention on the Baltic Sea, and several other international agreements. Technical and scientific cooperation is afforded through joint Nordic Council activities and organisations such as the CONNECT network of conservation research institutes.
The Netherlands has established a national coordinating body for the follow-up to the Convention at government level, involving six ministries, which focuses on the implementation of the national strategic plan of action. There is also a coordinating mechanism at the NGO level, including about 65 members of the Netherlands Biodiversity Platform. Apart from legislation to ratify the Convention, no new legislation has been necessary, since existing legislation already coped with the obligations under the Convention. Several sectoral plans have been developed to include policy, programmes and actions relevant to the implementation, and 30 additional actions have been formulated to cover gaps in existing sectoral and cross-sectoral planning. A large number of organisations representing NGOs, local authorities, scientific and technological communities and farming interests were involved at national, regional and local levels in drawing up the plans and in their implementation.
Monitoring of biodiversity components including collection of long-term data on ecosystems, habitats and species is well established, and indicators are being developed for both biodiversity values and impacts. Indicators concerning the contribution of target groups such as agriculture, industry, energy and transport to environmental problems are in full operation. 128 nature target types have been identified in order to set clear, biodiversity based priorities for nature conservation, nature restoration and nature development. These nature target types also include process-indicating parameters, which are used to link up with environmental policy and are used to identify the possible forms of sustainable use.
The national government is actively encouraging participation of the private sector in the field of nature conservation and the environment (both nationally and internationally). In addition actions are being taken based on the strategic plan of action to integrate further biodiversity aspects in economic policy and planning through increased dialogue and economic incentives, with a special focus on production and marketing.
At the regional and local level the policy is also directed towards increasing involvement of all relevant parts of the private sector in the conservation and sustainable use of all components of biodiversity at both large and small scales. A broad range of subsidies and project based incentives is available to nature managers, farmers, foresters, local interest groups and NGOs. Furthermore, biodiversity-directed tax incentives are available for estate owners and for financial investments in nature and environment projects.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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