Mirna Ines Fernández
The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity is a ten-year framework for action by all countries and stakeholders to safeguard biodiversity and the benefits it provides to people, and the implementation of its 20 ambitious but realistic targets is on its way at the national levels. Now, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed by the 193 States Members of the United Nations, seems to add new challenges to the development and implementation of national policies for Sustainable Development, but after a closer analysis of the full scope of these goals and targets many synergies appear.
The achievement of the SDG 15 – Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss – will not be possible without taking into account the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. According to the Technical Note developed by the CBD, FAO, The World Bank, UNEP and UNDP titled Biodiversity and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDG 15 is related to half of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15 & 16).
It is easy to point out how related are the indicators of this goal with some of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. For example, the indicator 15.1.2 – proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas, by ecosystem type – is directly related to the Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, which seeks that by 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial and inland water will be conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. Another example is the SDG target 15.9 – By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts – which has the same objective as the Aichi Biodiversity Target 2, and its indicator is the progress towards national targets established in accordance with this Aichi Biodiversity Target of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.
The annual progress report of the Secretary-General on SDGs shows that despite improvements towards a sustainable management of forests and protected areas, the declining trends in land productivity, degradation, biodiversity loss, poaching and trafficking of wildlife are still concerning.
The challenges identified by countries on their Voluntary National Reviews with regards to the SDG 15 are related to habitat loss, invasive alien species, poaching and trafficking of endangered species and products, lack of expertise and knowledge on complex issues such as Access and Benefit Sharing, integration and mainstreaming of ecosystem and biodiversity conservation into sectoral plans, land degradation, threats to mountain ecosystems and pollinators, to mention some of them. All of these challenges are also addressed within the full scope of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. When it comes to implementation, the challenges that have been repeatedly identified by countries include inadequate institutional capacities and the lack of participatory coordination frameworks in land and forestry management. These are quite common in countries with small teams in charge of the implementation of multiple environmental related commitments and will need multi-stakeholder collaboration to succeed.
Given the challenges of implementation that countries face, especially when the most biodiverse countries have also great challenges in the fight against poverty, it is essential to tackle these connected goals and targets with an integrated approach. The design of the SDGs has been done in a way that ensures that these and the Strategic Plan are mutually supportive and reinforcing so the teams in charge of the development of national policies to ensure the achievement of this goal can be sure that their actions will support the advances on the related Biodiversity Targets.
Synthesis of Voluntary National Reviews 2017: Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) United Nations
Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals Report of the Secretary-General
Biodiversity and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Technical Note from CBD, FAO, The World Bank, UNEP and UNDP.