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Biodiversity Action Plan for Economic and Development Co-operation
The Commission is studying ways to reverse the loss of biodiversity and environmental resources in developing countries and, at the same time, reduce poverty.
Communication of 27 March 2001 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Biodiversity Action Plan for Economic and Development Co-operation (volume V) [COM(2001) 162 final - not published in the Official Journal].
This Communication is the fifth volume of the Commission Communication of 27 March 2001 on Biodiversity Action Plans in the areas of Conservation of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Fisheries, and Development and Economic Co-operation. This volume deals with the area of development and economic co-operation.
In recent decades, there has been a global drop in the number of species and their habitats, ecosystems and genes (in other words biodiversity), and a higher rate of extinction. This loss of biodiversity is regrettable in itself, but it also has negative repercussions for economic development, as biodiversity provides the basis for the food, fibres, drinks, medicines, industrial processes, fishery and agriculture on which our lives depend.
In February 1998, the Commission adopted a communication on a Community Biodiversity Strategy. This strategy provided for the establishment and implementation of specific action plans for relevant areas of activity. The present communication establishes action plans for the conservation of natural resources, agriculture, fisheries and economic and development cooperation.
The Community Biodiversity Strategy and its action plans must be seen in the context of the EU commitment to achieve sustainable development and to integrate environmental concerns into other policy areas and fields of action.
The implementation of the action plans will be monitored, and their effectiveness evaluated, on the basis of indicators. These will be defined by the Commission in cooperation with Member States, scientists and relevant organisations, and will be identified at local level with a view to ensuring the comparability of results.
The Community Clearing House Mechanism (EC-CHM) constitutes an important means of sharing information on biodiversity. This resource should be strengthened and developed.
The Commission is in the process of identifying research needs for conserving biodiversity, with a view to including them in the forthcoming Sixth Framework Programme on Research and Development.
The Commission plans to establish a Biodiversity Expert Committee with responsibility for sharing information and helping to ensure the complementarity of actions taken at Community and Member State levels. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), industry, associations and other interested parties will be invited to participate in Committee meetings as observers.
The Biodiversity Action Plan on Economic and Development Co-operation will be implemented in the context of the International Development Targets agreed for 2015. These include reversing the trends in environmental degradation and natural resource loss, and reducing poverty. As far as poverty is concerned, the aim is to reduce the number of people living in conditions of extreme poverty by half. Biodiversity is an asset for many poor communities and can therefore be used to help reduce their poverty.
The Action Plan aims to identify actions that will:
- address the objectives of the Community Biodiversity Strategy;
- integrate biodiversity into the policies, programmes and projects being implemented through EC economic and development co-operation;
- help to build the European Commission's capacity to address biodiversity issues in the context of its economic and development co-operation.
Fields of action
The present communication establishes "guiding principles" to be followed, including the ecosystem approach, stakeholder participation, sharing the costs and benefits from biodiversity conservation and giving the public access to information.
The Action Plan sets out actions to be taken in 3 inter-linked contexts:
- intensive production systems (agriculture, livestock, aquaculture, forestry, etc), paying attention to their importance as a source of food, the conservation of genetic diversity, and concerns regarding alien species and modified organisms;
- production systems involving non-domesticated or non-cultivated species (natural forests and fishing grounds, wild flora and fauna, etc.), focusing on maintaining a range of ecosystems and habitats in productive landscapes;
- protected areas, where stronger links are needed between conservation activities and sustainable development strategies.
The communication emphasises the need to improve the capacity of developing countries for biodiversity-related research, and sharing information, collections and technology. Another important field of action is education and awareness-raising to broaden acceptance of the importance of biodiversity for health and well-being.